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Social & emotional learning

Background

Social and emotional learning (​SEL) is the method by which schools “teach” about diversity, gender, sexuality, identity, mental health, and other non-academic topics. SEL sounds nice and is used to teach some important life skills, but in practice it is unlicensed therapy for children in non-therapeutic settings, administered by teachers, often to children who likely don’t need it. 

 

According to CASEL, "SEL is an integral part of education and human development. SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions."

 

What's happening?

As with DEI, nice-sounding words have been hijacked, and the practice has shifted to “Transformative SEL.” A logical question would be, transform from what to what? 

 

Schools commonly use SEL curricula to collect personal data (race, sexual orientation, habits, gender, and feelings of “belonging" and inclusion) on their students and families. They then use this data to justify and augment “programs.” Under the guise of assessing the “school climate,” these surveys resemble intake forms you might complete at a doctor’s office. This is concerning on multiple levels. First, the surveys are administered by educators, not medical or mental health professionals. They are completed by young children (who are not developmentally ready to respond) or adolescents (who may be confused by question wording and “answer” options). Why do schools need to do this? NAIS plays an influential role as it promotes the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism (AIM) for all member schools. These survey results then serve as the foundation and justification for the NAIS-recommended school DEI plans.

Why should you care?

Through SEL, schools are planting “ideas” and values into the heads of children, some who might be particularly vulnerable. This means that children are learning and practicing the habits of anxious and depressed people. Beyond these concerning outcomes, SEL frequently infringes upon parental rights. Asking personal questions of young children is intrusive, and schools should be fully transparent about what is being asked, why it is being asked, and what happens to the data.

 

Academics are being removed from the curriculum to make room for SEL. 

SEL Resources

Resource library

Learn more about viewpoint diversity and the challenges it faces from our library.

SEL Resources

What can you do?

Look for signs
of DEI

Use this guide to help you identify concerning content at your child's school

Learn more about
CASEL

Learn about the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

Opt out of
concerning content

Learn when and how to opt out of concerning and one-sided content for your child

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