Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has become the latest panacea in a long line of progressive “education reforms” that have only served to distract from the fact that American public school children are failing academically. Presented as an effort to support student mental health, it is a veiled attempt to indoctrinate and categorize children.
This national movement influencing states like South Carolina is led by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). In December 2020, CASEL announced its revision of the definition and framework for social emotional learning (SEL) to highlight the value of SEL as a weapon for social justice.
Social emotional learning (SEL) standards, benchmarks, learning indicators, programs, and assessments address subjective, non-cognitive factors such as attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, grit, emotions, mindsets, motivation, and more, even though programs may use different terminology. For example, grit, a willingness to stick with difficult tasks is certainly a good attribute, but not fairly assessed by a computer.
Promoting and implementing formal SEL program standards, benchmarks, learning indicators and assessments will depersonalize the informal education good teachers have always provided. SEL gets in the way of effective teaching. Teachers implementing SEL programs and assessments may end up taking on the role of mental health therapists for which they are not professionally trained. SEL puts unreasonable demands on teachers.
Infringing upon parental rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children, SEL programs promote and establish thoughts, values, beliefs, and attitudes not necessarily reflective of those held by parents. SEL in school does not respect the nuclear family.
Sensitive, personally identifiable non-cognitive data will be collected on students through SEL programs. The collection and use of SEL data labels students. This data will follow individuals throughout their lifetime with the potential for unintended use resulting in negative consequences.
Concerns have been expressed that SEL programs and collected data may potentially be misused with a captive and vulnerable audience for indoctrination, social and emotional engineering, to influence compliance, and to predict future behavior.
SEL is an integral part of the foregoing Federal education fads: Common Core State Standards and Competency-Based Education (CBE). CBE digitally documents attainment of SEL and other skills to declare a student ready to move on in his or her “personal learning path,” and supplies data for corporations wanting employees with attitudes fitting their plans.
In a nutshell, it’s the latest fad to send the same old message pushed by progressives for more than a century that education should focus less on knowledge of academic content and more on student attitudes, mindsets, values, and behaviors. SEL will not improve children’s mental health or academic achievement.
Liberals are shamelessly using the COVID 19 education crisis to push their liberal agenda and some will be fooled by their phony attempt to express concern for the mental health of students in SEL legislation.