MDRC Launches Project on Using Socio-Emotional Well-Being Policies to Promote K-12 Equity with The Education Trust and Alliance for Excellent Education


With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, MDRC is launching a new project, “Reducing Long-Term Health Disparities with K-12 Policies that Promote Student Socio-Emotional Well-Being.” MDRC’s partners in the project are The Education Trust and the Alliance for Excellent Education.

One factor that influences an individual’s long-term health outcomes is his or her educational attainment, which, in turn, is influenced by students’ socio-emotional well-being. Unfortunately, educational outcomes differ greatly by groups, including racial and ethnic groups, which contribute to inequitable differences in long-term health outcomes. Pursuing policies and practices aimed at improving health equity by addressing socio-emotional well-being through school policies is likely a promising approach to reducing disparities in both educational attainment and subsequent health outcomes.

This new project will highlight, in a series of briefs for policymakers and educators, concrete, actionable policies that positively impact students’ socio-emotional well-being, particularly those that are most likely to promote health equity. State departments of education, school districts, and even individual schools could pursue these policies to move toward better student outcomes. Such improvements would help to ensure that all children — including African-American, Latino, English Language Learner, immigrant, those with disabilities, and those from low-income families — progress as successfully as their more advantaged peers.