Public education is arguably the best and most impactful way to create equal opportunities for children, families, and communities to succeed. Unfortunately, communities of color are too often left outside of education reform efforts, just as students of color are “left behind” by poorly funded, inequitable school systems.

The National Urban League’s initiatives support local, state, and national advocacy, engagement, and reform/innovation efforts by leveraging our greatest asset, the Urban League Affiliate Movement along with the presidents and chief executive officers that lead it.

The National Urban League believes students, parents, and community stakeholders should opt in to a vision of education reform and innovation that expands and deepens opportunity, upends inequity, accelerates progress, and delivers more fully on the promise of public education. We believe this is possible through our seven focus areas.

Our Impact


of our nation’s African-American 4th graders were reading at “proficient” levels in 2015


of our nation’s 50.1 million P-12 public school students are children of color


of our nation’s 20 million higher education students are African-American or Latino

  • In partnership with the Urban League Affiliate movement, we have developed a strategy that allows us to implement equity from the national reform conversation to state and local laws. Our work includes:
  • Engaging Urban League affiliates and partners in local, state, and national education reform efforts.
  • Ensuring integration across our postsecondary/workforce development and college completion and attainment agendas.
  • Broadening and deepening our communication efforts to build a different education reform/innovation narrative in— and concerning—communities of color.
  • Building the capacity and executive leadership of the Affiliate Movement, the National Urban League, and the National Urban League Washington Bureau to work more effectively and comprehensively with civil rights/equity partners and the national education reform/innovation community.
  • Organizing local, state, and national conven­ings centered on equity and excellence.
  • Creating opportunities for meaningful student, parent, and stakeholder engagement to build a sense of agency and efficacy that can drive local education reform/innovation by building a more robust set of stakeholders and developing effec­tive advocates, including both parents and students, for our areas of emphasis.


The EEP targets seven areas would help students from early childhood through college graduation.​​​​ Improvements in any one of these seven areas would help students from pre-school through college graduation.

  • FAIRNESS: Equity and excellence at scale
  • INVESTMENT: Early childhood learning and education
  • PROMISE: Equitable implementation of college and career-ready standards
  • ADVANCEMENT: Expanded access to high-quality curricula, teachers, and administrators
  • MEASUREMENT: Comprehensive, transparent, and aligned data systems for early learning through employment
  • OPPORTUNITY: Out-of-school time learning with an emphasis on expanded day and summer learning
  • FULFILLMENT: College completion and attainment

Please learn more about the EEP, see our campaign No Ceilings on Success.