K-12 Education

Pursuing Social and Emotional Development Through a Racial Equity Lens: A Call to Action

May 9, 2018  • Education and Society Program

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Both equity and social, emotional, and academic development are currently receiving much-needed attention, but neither can fully succeed without recognizing strengths and addressing gaps in these complementary priorities. Rather than being pursued as two separate bodies of work, the field needs to identify ways in which equity and social, emotional, and academic development can be mutually reinforcing. To accomplish this requires examining issues of race directly; this can be difficult and uncomfortable, but we cannot avoid race and let the challenges go unacknowledged and, therefore, inadequately addressed.

For district leaders interested in implementing the changes recommended in the Call to Action, please see our new resource Pursuing Social and Emotional Development Through a Racial Equity Lens: 5 Strategies for System Leaders to Take Action.


The following individuals and organizations endorse the content of this brief and join the Aspen Institute Education & Society Program in a call to action to ensure education leaders actively integrate a culturally and racially responsive approach to social, emotional, and academic development in P-12 schooling.

  • Katie Ahsell, Community Consolidated School District 59, Illinois
  • Whitney Allgood, National School Climate Center
  • Carol Allred, Positive Action, Inc.
  • Rahesha Amon-Harrison, NYC Department of Education
  • Karen Anderson, District 75, New York City Department of Education
  • Alex Ariemma
  • Kay Augustine
  • Laura Bakosh, Inner Explorer
  • Oscar Barbarin, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Joyce Bartz, Evanston/Skokie School District 65, Illinois
  • Alli Begel, Milwaukee Public Schools, Wisconsin
  • Rachel Belfield, Committee for Children
  • Sheldon Berman, Andover Public Schools, Massachusetts
  • Kara Bobroff, Native American Community Academy
  • Jan Brabham, Carolina Day School, North Carolina
  • Marc Brackett, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
  • John Bridgeland, Civic Enterprises
  • Karen Bridges, Elk Grove Unified School District, California
  • Catherine Brown, Center for American Progress
  • Sara Burd, Reading Public Schools, Massachusetts
  • LaWanda Burgoyne, Capital School District, Delaware
  • Debra Bush, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Ohio
  • Sarah Butcher, SEL for Washington
  • Regina Caines
  • Andrew Calkins, Next Generation Learning Challenges
  • Steve Canavero, Nevada Department of Education
  • Meria Carstarphen, Atlanta Public Schools
  • Shar Carter, Langston University
  • Sydney Chaffee, Codman Academy Charter Public School
  • Stephen Chang, The National Equity Project
  • LaShawn Chatmon, The National Equity Project
  • Velma Cobb, Touro College Lander Center
  • Jonathan Cohen, National School Climate Center
  • Becki Cohn-Vargas, Cohn-Vargas Consulting
  • Baionne Coleman, Impact Public Schools
  • Melissa Copland, Fresno Unified School District, California
  • Donna Cross, Evanston/Skokie School District 65, Illinois
  • Walter Da Luz
  • Linda Darling-Hammond, Learning Policy Institute
  • BreAnna Davis, School Readiness Consulting
  • Michele De La Garza, San Antonio Independent School District, Texas
  • Marissa del Rosario
  • Beatriz DeSantiago-Fjelstad, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota
  • Nina Dibner, PowerTools
  • Itai Dinour, Einhorn Family Charitable Trust
  • Diarra Diouf, MomsRising
  • Stephanie Drenka
  • Mary Driscoll, Boston Public Schools, Massachusetts
  • Kamilah Drummond-Forrester, Open Circle
  • Joan Cole Duffell, Committee for Children
  • Brandon Dukes
  • Jeff Duncan-Andrade, San Francisco State University
  • Will Dunford, San Francisco Unfied School District, California
  • Roberta Duvall, Washoe County School District, Nevada
  • Bren Elliott, District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Alison Elmer, Arlington Public Schools, Massachusetts
  • Dale Erquiaga, Communities In Schools
  • Camille A. Farrington, University of Chicago Consortium on School Research
  • Meg Fenech, A2 STEAM School, Michigan
  • Jinni Forcucci, Delaware Teacher of the Year 2018
  • Deborah Forshaw, Children’s Services Council of Broward County, Florida
  • Denise Forte, The Century Foundation
  • Julia Gabor, kid-grit
  • Theresa Garcia, Austin Independent School District, Texas
  • Linda Gibbens, Urbana School District 116, Illinois
  • Nate Gibbs-Bowling, Lincoln High School
  • Libia Gil, Illinois State Board of Education
  • Merryl Gladstone
  • Malaika Golden, Aiton Elementary School, District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Gregory Gomez, Leadership ISD
  • JoEtta Gonzales, Casa Grande Elementary School District, Arizona
  • Danielle Gonzales, The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program
  • Sandra Gonzalez, Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School
  • Robert Goodrich, Racial Advocates for Cross-Cultural Education
  • Kristi Greenaway Cirignano, Tacoma Public Schools, Washington
  • Sharolyn Griffith, Star Valley High School
  • Ashish Gupta
  • Leticia Guzman Ingram, Basalt High School
  • Madeline Hafner, Minority Student Achievement Network, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Anthony Hamlet, Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pennsylvania
  • Zaretta Hammond, Transformative Learning Solutions
  • Kyle Hanson, Minneapolis Public Housing Authority
  • Mark Harmon-Vaught, KIPP NYC Public Charter Schools
  • Chris Harried, Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy, Baltimore City Public Schools
  • Tiffanie Harrison, Round Rock High School, Texas
  • Julie Heller, Westport Public Schools, Connecticut
  • Dena Hellums,
  • Kristin Hendricks, Wake County Public School System, North Carolina
  • Heather Hirsch, Minnesota Department of Education
  • Kelly Hurst, Being Black at School
  • Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, University of Southern California
  • Coretta Jackson
  • Janice Jackson,
  • Damie Jackson-Diop
  • Robert Jagers, University of Michigan
  • Kelly James, Education First
  • Nakia James-Jenkins, Girls Who Code
  • Heidi Johnecheck,
  • Raye Jones Avery, Christina Cultural Arts Center Inc.
  • Alfredo Juárez, Los Angeles Unified School District, California
  • Brad Jupp, Retired Educator
  • Lee Kappes, The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program
  • Kevin Kerr, Dallas Independent School District, Texas
  • Lisa Knight, Grand Rapids Urban League
  • Mary Beth Kropp, Collaborative Learning Solutions
  • Sara LaHayne, Move This World
  • Mary Lammi, Needham Public Schools, Massachusetts
  • Linda Lantieri, CASEL
  • Margaret LaRaia, Heinemann Professional Development Services
  • Gwin Laws, Caldwell County Schools, North Carolina
  • John Leeper, Shelby County Public Schools, Tennessee
  • Wanda Legrand, District of Columbia Public Schools
  • Laura Leighton, ZoomerangKidz
  • Jordan Lippman, The TeamBuilders Group
  • Lillian Lowery, The Education Trust
  • Tara Madden-Dent, Nevada Department of Education
  • Shanti Majefski, Greenhill School, Texas
  • Carmel Martin, Center for American Progress
  • Gail Mastropietro, Providence Public Schools, Rhode Island
  • Christy McGill, Nevada Department of Education
  • Kent McIntosh, University of Oregon
  • Jorge Melgoza, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, California
  • Lisa Micou, Chesterfield County Public Schools, Virginia
  • David Militzer, California Department of Education
  • Arthur Mills IV, Fulton County Schools, Georgia
  • Eric Moore, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minnesota
  • Avrilios Moumoutjis, Broward County Public Schools, Florida
  • Julie Mushing, Kent Intermediate School District, Michigan
  • Aleta Myers, Arlington Public Schools, Virginia
  • Lori Nathanson, Lori Nathanson Consulting, LLC
  • Jason Ness, Niles West High School, Niles Township District 219, Illinois
  • Matt Nink, Global Youth Leadership Institute
  • Mutale Nkonde, Beyond Bias Consulting
  • Linda Noonan, Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education
  • Jessica Ochoa Hendrix, Killer Snails
  • Katie Olavarria, Prime Time Palm Beach County
  • Kizawanda Olowe,
  • Colin Orr, McQuaid Jesuit High School, New York
  • David Osher, American Institutes for Research
  • Susan Patrick, iNACOL
  • Deb Pattee, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire
  • Antoinette Pearson, Eastern Michigan University
  • Josan Perales, Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center
  • Andre Perry, The Brookings Institution
  • Derek Peterson, Instititute for Community and Adolescent Resilience (ICAR-US)
  • Troy Pinkney, Bank Street College of Education
  • Mary Ann Pitcher, Network for College Success, The University of Chicago
  • Karen Pittman, The Forum for Youth Investment
  • Deirdra Preis, Equity Consultant
  • Hugh Price, National Urban League
  • Roberta Price Gardner, Kennesaw State University
  • Kurtis Quig, Denver Public Schools, Colorado
  • Carolyne Quintana, Bronxdale High School, New York City Department of Education
  • Carrie Ramanauskas, Bridgeport Public Schools, Connecticut
  • Pamela Randall-Garner
  • Eliza Rankin, Seattle parent and advocate
  • Vanessa Reale, Fall River Public Schools, Massachusetts
  • Nilufar Rezai, Chicago Public Schools
  • Debbie Rivas-Drake, University of Michigan
  • Laura Robell, Envision Education
  • Colin Rose, Boston Public Schools
  • Jon Rosenberg, Hebrew Public Charter School for Global Citizens
  • Alyson Rotter, Kitsap Strong
  • Eddie Ruiz, School District of Palm Beach County, Florida
  • Robert Runcie, Broward County Public Schools, Florida
  • Reid Saaris, Equal Opportunity Schools
  • Aaliyah Samuel, National Governors Association
  • Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, Dignity in Schools Campaign
  • Julia Sarmiento, Hillsborough County Public Schools
  • Emily Saunders, Ajo Unified School District, Arizona
  • Theresa Saunders, Eastern Michigan University
  • Diana Scalera, Focusing Initiatives International
  • Patricia Seidler
  • Shital Shah
  • Sharon Shapses, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
  • Sho Shigeoka, Beaverton School District, Oregon
  • Gisele C. Shorter, Social Innovation Engineer
  • Timothy Shriver, Special Olympics International
  • Diana Shulla-Cose, Perspectives Charter Schools
  • Alexandra Simbana,
  • Keith Simmons, Bib County School District, Georgia
  • Dena N. Simmons, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
  • Priya Singhvi, Greenhill School, Texas
  • Marc Skvirsky, Facing History and Ourselves
  • Lynn Smith, Bethune Institute Education Corporation
  • Brooke Stafford-Brizard, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Claude Steele, Stanford University
  • Erik Stegman, The Center for Native American Youth, The Aspen Institute
  • Zoe Stemm-Calderon, Raikes Foundation
  • Sheila Stewart, Peoria Public Schools, Illinois
  • Ann Szekely, Schools That Can
  • Lyon Terry, Seattle Public Schools
  • Kari Thierer, School Reform Initiative
  • Sharon Thomas, Colorado Springs School District 11, Colorado
  • Kim Traverso, Connecticut State Department of Education
  • Vivian Tseng, William T. Grant Foundation
  • Krista Tyler, Mom
  • Ash Vasudeva, Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
  • Ron Walker, Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color
  • Craig Walters, Todd County School District, South Dakota
  • Elizabeth Warner, School Culture and Climate Initiative
  • Augustina Warton, Catalyst Arts
  • Roger Weissberg, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Katie Welsh, Chicago Public Schools, Illinois
  • Ross Wiener, The Aspen Institute Education & Society Program
  • Jane Williams, DRIVE Educational System
  • Greg Wolcott, Woodbridge School District 68, Illinois
  • Mark Wolfe, AVID Center
  • Carey Wright, Mississippi Department of Education
  • Vicki Zakrzewski, Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley