Social emotional competence, or the intra- (e.g., emotion regulation) and interpersonal (e.g., conflict resolution) skills related to success, is currently seen as a panacea to low student achievement, the achievement gap, and school violence. Although it appears to be a promising approach to increasing academic, life, and work success, little research has examined whether social emotional skills are exhibited and valued similarly across cultures. This dissertation attempted to fill this gap in the literature by examining the potential for cultural bias in our current conceptualizations of “competence.” Secondary data, collected from over 6,000 students in the Minneapolis Public School district (MPS), were analyzed to: (a) examine the interrelations between four social emotional skills (empathy, emotional control, critical thinking, and assertiveness); (b) determine whether students’ skills were, in part, a function of their cultural background; (c) examine the relationship between these skills and educational success (i.e., academic achievement, behavioral issues); and (d) explore whether these relationships were invariant across cultures. Overall, this research found evidence suggesting that cultural background is related to social emotional competence. The intercorrelations among the four competencies varied in magnitude across genders, racial/ethnic groups, home language groups, and socioeconomic statuses. In addition, these four background/cultural variables were statistically significant predictors of social emotional competence, though effects were near zero for assertiveness and critical thinking, small for empathy, and small to moderate for emotional control. Analyses also found evidence that social emotional competence was predictive of student success, with the four competencies predicting different success outcomes. However, analyses supported overall invariance among these relations, for the pattern of relations between social emotional competence and achievement was similar across cultures. Future research may further examine these complex relationships, identifying which competencies predict which success outcomes, and ensuring interventions and assessments are culturally relevant and equitable.