Equity and Excellence Project

The National Urban League’s Equity and Excellence Project (EEP), which launched in 2010, explicitly supports national and state advocacy, engagement and education reform efforts throughout the Urban League Affiliate Movement and with national partners.


  • TO BUILD more inclusive advocacy and engagement efforts that will generate additional and deeper support for educational equity, opportunity and excellence.
  • TO IMPROVE educational outcomes for underserved students and communities. 
  • TO HIGHLIGHT the policies, practices, reforms and innovations which explicitly confront historic inequality, as well as to open new paths to success for urban children and youth.
  • TO INNOVATE via reform, policy change, improved educational practice and increased strategic investments.
  • TO UPEND historic and more recent inequity, and instead provide additional access to expanded opportunity.

Seven Areas of Focus:

  1. Early Childhood Learning & Education
  2. Equitable Implementation of College & Career Ready Standards
  3. Improved Access to High-Quality Curricula and Effective Teachers
  4. Comprehensive, Transparent and Aligned Data Systems
  5. Equity and Excellence at Scale
  6. Out of School Time Learning and Developmental Opportunities
  7. College Completion & Attainment

Guiding Questions:

  • In what specific ways do particular reforms, used singularly or in combination with other reforms, innovations or investments move the nation closer to our 2025 goal?
  • How might this reform or innovation benefit students in P-16 educational settings and foster their opportunities for success?
  • What does educational success look like under this reform and innovation?
  • How might the inclusion of additional and diverse stakeholders and attendant perspectives advance equity, progress and opportunity?
  • How might advances and progress best be measured and communicated?

Our Approach

Having a local, statewide and national reach allows the National Urban League to best leverage its greatest asset – the Urban League Affiliate Movement and the Presidents and Chief Executive Officers that lead it. This wide scope allows us to implement a multi-pronged approach to the Equity and Excellence Project, which includes:

  • Focusing on innovations and investments that substantially improve student learning and development.
  • 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.
  • Organizing local and national convenings centered on local, state and national educational equity and excellence.
  • 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 partners and other aspects of the national education reform/ innovation community.
  • Creating opportunities for meaningful student, parent and stakeholder engagement designed 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 for our areas of emphasis.

Reformers and innovators must be able to clearly explain what will be different for students who are presently and have been historically underserved by current policy and practice. We challenge reformers and innovators to ask:

  • Are the existing and proposed investments and interventions robust and flexible enough to meet the needs of both current and near-future students?
  • How might the nation avoid reconstructing age-old problems of inequity, differentiated expectations and privilege via today’s framing of reform and innovation?
  • Will students actually experience different and improved results if we simply and unreflectively layer new education approaches, innovations and reforms on top of education institutions and systems that might be too weak to bear the weight?

The project supports the work of Urban League affiliates in the following cities:




























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