0303_WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING? (SEL) – BY J. R. WILSON (2/7/18) — possible federal ESSA funds for SEL

Donna Jack
February 11, 2018

A quotation from the article “What is so great about social-emotional learning” by J. R. Wilson (later in this blog piece):

Which comes first, feeling good about yourself so you can
accomplish something worthwhile,
or accomplishing something worthwhile
so you have something to feel good about?

Search online, and on the Table of Contents page of this site, for other information about SEL (Social Emotional Learning).  Social emotional learning (SEL) has been taking place in schools for decades, but SEL is now specifically named in the schools, and is touted as what education should be all about.

ESSA (federal education program) provides funding for SEL.  That is one result of ESSA being nationally implemented.  No, we have not gotten rid of Common Core and federal control of education.  You can find the following information online:

Funding for Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in
ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act_Dec. 10, 2015)

The list contains the specific programs (title and section number) for which ESSA funds may, potentially, be spent to support social-emotional learning (SEL) activities. 

For those programs in existence under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), funding levels are provided for FY 2016.
ESSA-Resources_SEL-Funding_downloaded June 11, 2018 w link

Also search this site for “ESSA”(Every Student Succeed Act) – the federal legislation that cemented Common Core into federal law.  Note:  people in Congress and the U.S. Department of Education deny what ESSA did — and instead they parrot words claiming ESSA eliminated Common Core — claiming that education is now decided on a local level.  That is not what happened.  People too often parrot what they are told, without finding out for themselves.  Search this site for “Betsy DeVos.”

Understanding what SEL actually is, will enlighten you about:
1) a main cause of the dumbing down of American education;
2)  the data-gathering on identified students and everyone that touches their lives;
3)  the collecting of personal data, and storing it with personal identifiers — then distributing that data at will;
4) and the mind and behavior control that is actively taking place in schools across the country.  [This is all Type #2 education, rather than Type #1 education – see Home Page of this site]


From: Henry W. Burke [mailto:hwburke@cox.net]
Sent: Thursday, February 8, 2018 3:16 PM
To: Henry W. Burke <hwburke@cox.net>

2.7.18 – Truth in American Education

What Is So Great About Social-Emotional Learning?
by J. R. Wilson

Excerpts from this article:

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) seems to be the rage in education these days. It sounds so great, SEL easily seems to attract supporters and promoters, including legislators. Maybe it makes them feel good.

Use your search engine and see what comes up when you search for “social-emotional learning.” Check things out for yourself. Dig into some of the hits that come up and see if there is any big money behind SEL.

While I haven’t dug into the deep history of the SEL movement, as with many other ed reform issues, I wonder if this push has come from widespread parental request or from big money folks. Or have the parents been told to want this? Which comes first, feeling good about yourself so you can accomplish something worthwhile or accomplishing something worthwhile so you have something to feel good about? Which is it, the chicken or the egg?

I recently read an article from ASCD’s Educational Leadership magazine titled Accounting for the Whole Child. This article is very much promoting SEL and casts it, and some questionable practices, in a very favorable light. Here are two quotes that stuck out to me:

A growing number of districts and networks of schools are now administering social-emotional skill assessments, empowering educators to make informed decisions about how best to help students develop these capabilities.

A growing number of schools are making authentic, sustained efforts to collect data on students’ social-emotional skills.

Do you see any problem with this? ASCD and Educational Leadership apparently don’t. It would appear they fully support administering SEL assessments and collecting data on students’ social-emotional skills. This is sensitive and personal non-cognitive data being collected. No expression of concern for student privacy with regard to the collection of this data. Is there any reason to have concern about student privacy, either now or in the student’s future as a result of this data collection?

In case you aren’t aware of concerns about SEL that some people have, I want to provide you with a list before continuing on with this article.

Social Emotional Learning

  • Social emotional learning (SEL) standards, benchmarks, learning indicators, programs, and assessments address subjective non-cognitive factors.
  • Subjective non-cognitive factors addressed in SEL programs may include attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, emotions, mindsets, metacognitive learning skills, motivation, grit, self-regulation, tenacity, perseverance, resilience, and intrapersonal resources even though programs may use different terminology.
  • The federal government does not have the constitutional authority to promote or develop social emotional standards, benchmarks, learning indicators, programs or assessments.
  • Promoting and implementing formal SEL program standards, benchmarks, learning indicators and assessments will depersonalize the informal education good teachers have always provided.
  • Teachers implementing SEL standards, benchmarks, learning indicators, programs, and assessments may end up taking on the role of mental health therapists for which they are not professionally trained. SEL programs should require the onsite supervision of adequately trained professional psychologists/psychotherapists.
  • Social and emotional learning programs take time away from academic knowledge and fundamental skills instruction.
  • SEL programs may promote and establish thoughts, values, beliefs, and attitudes not reflective of those held by parents and infringe upon parental rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children.
  • Informed active written parental consent should be required prior to any student participating in any social emotional learning program or assessment through the school system.
  • Sensitive personally identifiable non-cognitive data will be collected on individuals through SEL programs.
  • The collection and use of subjective non-cognitive individual student SEL data may result in improper labeling of 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.

This list of bullet points can be downloaded as a one-page pdf document by clicking here.

On Jan. 23, 2017, HB 1518 Improving student achievement by promoting social-emotional learning throughout the calendar year was introduced to the Washington state legislature. The Brief Summary of Substitute Bill in the House Bill Report HB 1518 says:

  • Requires that the Department of Early Learning contract for up to an additional 600 summer Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program slots at certain priority school buildings.
  • Directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction to convene a work group to build upon the social emotional learning (SEL) benchmarks developed in 2016, and provides a list of members and duties for the work group.
  • Establishes a competitive grant program to increase the number of summer learning programs that combine academics and SEL, and specifies application criteria and reporting requirements for the program.

…What will an SEL report card look like? What will the written comments look like for a student? What would they look like for you? I wonder if written comments on an SEL report card for a legislator might look like this:

Shows awareness of other people’s emotions, perspectives, cultures, language, history, identity, and ability by pretending to listen to and agree with expressed wishes of constituents and then responds “almost exclusively to the views of the wealthiest 10 percent of the population.”

Demonstrates a range of communication skills by responding to constituent questions with extended animated responses and displays of great oratorical skill but unfortunately fails to answer the questions asked. Has developed an excellent skill of answering questions that aren’t asked. Has a great ability to tell constituents one thing, usually what they want to hear, and then doing the opposite.

Demonstrates the ability to work with others to set, monitor, adopt, achieve, and evaluate goals provided the others will help with re-election funds and votes and has views aligned with and supporting those of the elite. Displays a conditional ability to work with others.

I bet you could come up with some great comments on a legislator’s SEL report card.  Can you state those comments in positive terms?  This is SEL after all and we want everyone to feel good.

If you don’t live in Washington state you may think you don’t need to be concerned about any of this. Before skipping off carefree, happy and content, you may want to check to see what similar SEL activity is already taking place in your state. There is a good chance SEL is already embedded in education programs across your state. Is it possible it is embedded in your state’s ESSA plan?

Donna Garner – Wgarner1@hot.rr.com





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