Southeast Seattle Education Coalition

Mission & History


Our mission is to rally communities of color and allies to improve Southeast Seattle schools so all students succeed and all families are empowered.


We envision a world where all students have access to and succeed in high performing public schools and become productive and engaged citizens.


Southeast Seattle Education Coalition is devoted to the following values:

  • Commitment
  • Integrity
  • Community
  • Courage
  • Equity

We strive to integrate these five values into our coalition’s activities, leadership and community.


In assessing school performance, Seattle Public Schools ranks schools from one to five, with five being the highest level of quality. This rank is based on a combination of academic performance, family and staff engagement, and closing of the achievement gap.

In December 2011, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released a report identifying the performance rankings of all schools in Washington State. Of the fifty-seven lowest ranked schools identified, five were in Seattle and each of those schools was located in Southeast Seattle. Moreover, none of the Southeast Seattle schools scored at the above average or exceptional levels. In addition, a subsequent survey conducted by Seattle Public Schools showed that 29 percent of parents in Southeast Seattle had an “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” view of their children’s schools.

When community non-profit leaders, parents and educators saw SE Seattle school performance data there was a profound realization that SE Seattle students were being left behind. As a result, a coalition began to form to address concerns about student achievement in SE Seattle and lower investments in SE Seattle schools.

Founded in 2012, SESEC started as a community coalition working to bring the schools in SE Seattle up to a ranking of five in five years. We grew as leaders of color and communities of color began seeing a need to advocate for all SE Seattle students — and especially children of color — and to work towards increasing student opportunities and reducing achievement gaps.

Data tells us that students in the SE Seattle region live with multiple risk factors for poor academic performance:

  • 51% of Title 1 (high poverty) schools are located in SE Seattle.
  • SE Seattle schools have, in aggregate, free and reduced lunch rates of 60-90%.
  • According to Census data approximately 25-40% of residents earn less than $30,000.
  • 30% of SE Seattle residents speak a language other than English.
  • Schools in SE Seattle have English Language Learner rates of up to 45%, whereas the district average is 11%.

Today, SESEC’s coalition represents numerous Community Based Organizations (CBO), schools, allies, educators,  parents and caregivers, and community leaders. We also have engaged partners and concerned individuals who actively monitor and support SESEC’s agenda in various ways.