The 2023 SEF Issues Forum


Miles To Go:

Fulfilling the Promise of
Racial Equity in Education

The Southern Education Foundation’s 2023 Issues Forum, Miles to Go: Fulfilling the Promise of Racial Equity in Education, was held Nov. 14-17, 2023, at The Westin in Charlotte, NC. This historic conference brought together education leaders, scholars, K-12 educators, advocates, students, and other allies to build an agenda for addressing the South’s most important issues in education — inequitable resources and opportunities for students, increasing racial segregation, the need for expanded early childhood education, and more.

Why now is a turning point: The South continues to lag the rest of the nation on many important indicators of education opportunity, investment, and success. For Black students and their families — and many Latinx and low-income families — the remnants of segregation and inequitable opportunities for students clearly persist today. After many years of progress in education and society, the South’s forward movement is now threatened by political conflicts often rooted in race.

Hope built on history: Convening in Charlotte allowed us to recognize the importance of the Swann v. Mecklenburg County Board of Education case in the early 1970s, the families involved, the late Julius Chambers, and other leaders’ roles in the desegregation of public schools in the South. As the 70th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision approaches, we found renewed hope at this critical time in education, the South, and the life of our nation.

The 2023 SEF Issues Forum featured plenary panels and more than 30 breakout sessions led by practitioners, researchers, and other professionals. A quick summary of the plenary sessions and other important moments:

Tuesday, Nov. 14 Kick-Off Event: Celebration and Reflection of a History
Wednesday, Nov. 15 Plenary: A New Day for Early Learners in the South: Steps Toward More Successful Starts
Wednesday, Nov. 15 Plenary: Desegregation Strategies of the Past, Resegregation in the Present, Strategies for Education Equity in the Future
Thursday, Nov. 16 Plenary: Making K-12 Education Resources More Equitable for Students Enrolled in Historically Underinvested Schools
Thursday, Nov. 16 Plenary: Making College Opportunity More Equitable in a Post-Affirmative Action World
Friday, Nov. 17 Plenary: The Wisdom of Youth: Students’ Vision for Improving Education in the South


Thanks to our sponsors for supporting the 2023 SEF Issues Forum.