CSI Resources: Equity

  • Racial/ethnic, class, and gender inequities are vexing problems that hamper individual student learning as well as our collective efforts to achieve the democratic ideals of U.S. society. Although CASEL has a long-standing commitment to issues of equity, we recognize that there is significant work to be done if social and emotional learning (SEL) is going to realize its potential to promote the optimal development of all students, including diverse groups of students. SEL and equity both address how to provide high-quality instruction for all students, regardless of background. To promote and support educational equity, the CSI recommends that working groups provide guidance for learning goals, teaching practices, and approaches that are culturally and linguistically appropriate and engaging for all.


    Feel free to download, customize, and use with attribution, e.g., “Developed by Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning and used with permission.”

    Equity & Social and Emotional Learning: A Cultural Analysis. This brief examines how CASEL’s core SEL competencies reflect issues of equity, including programs and practices that support the development of the competencies to promote educational equity. Useful background on the research about equity and its connection to SEL. (November 2018) NEW

Webinar Recording: Leveraging SEL to Promote Equity—What Educators Need to Know and Do. Equity in education requires a physically and emotionally safe and positive school climate for all students. Building strong social and emotional competencies, for both teachers and students, can play a key role in ensuring education equity. CASEL’s 2018 February webinar shares some of the ways in which CASEL is advancing work on equity and SEL.

Why We Can’t Have Social and Emotional Learning Without Equity. A blog post by CASEL Vice President of Research Robert J. Jagers about the importance of equity and the intersection of equity in CASEL’s five core competencies.


Aspen Institute: Pursuing Social and Emotional Development Through a Racial Equity Lens: 5 Strategies for System Leaders to Take Action. Use this to develop ideas for how to employ SEL as a way to encourage equity throughout a system.

Council of Chief State School Officers: Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State Leaders. A discussion of how ESSA promotes equity in eight key areas. Page 3 offers recommendations on closing funding gaps. The report is important for state education agencies that want to employ ESSA to accomplish multiple initiatives.

Council of Chief State School Officers: Leading for Equity: Opportunities for State Education Chiefs. Specific actions for state education chiefs to improve equity through social and emotional learning throughout the state education system.

Restorative Schools Vision Project: Restorative Justice (RJ) Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Narrative Processes (NP). How school psychologists can employ culturally competent SEL and support equity.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Applying an Equity Lens to Social, Emotional, and Academic Development. Describes barriers that prevent equitable access to SEL and identifies opportunities to increase access.


Massachusetts: Social and Emotional Learning for All: Access, Cultural Proficiency, and Cultural Responsiveness. Guidance and specific practices for district leaders, school leaders, and teachers on access, cultural proficiency, and cultural responsiveness for SEL practice.

Massachusetts: Educator Effectiveness Guidebook for Inclusive Practice. Multiple resources, including videos, rubrics, and assessments, for a teacher’s practice to develop inclusive instruction in the classroom.

Massachusetts SEL Planning Tool for Inclusive Practice. How to design lesson plans for inclusive SEL practice.

Michigan: Early Childhood to Grade 12 Social and Emotional Learning Competencies and Indicators. Includes information on cultural connections and equity on pages 8-9.

Minnesota Great Lakes Equity Center SEL Implementation Guide. Useful as an example of broad guidelines for school-based SEL and equity implementation.

New York: Social Emotional Learning—Essential for Learning, Essential for Life. Addresses the need for SEL in New York’s schools and serves as an introduction to a series of resources, including voluntary Social Emotional Learning Benchmarks, a Guide to Systemic Whole School Implementation, and a series of school district-developed crosswalks aligning SEL competencies with learning standards in the content areas. Particularly strong on equity issues.