Social and Emotional Learning equals Less parent, More government influence over children
In case you are thinking Social and Emotional (SEL) is a harmless morning ritual of, “How do you feel today class?” -think again. SEL is not about instructing little Johnny to sit up straight, fold his hands, and act respectfully toward his teacher. SEL is about training little Johnny how to feel about his teacher, classmates, himself and the world around him. And, if little Johnny doesn’t feel the way a particular set of government sanctioned guidelines suggest he should then what? Will discipline be in order until little Johnny conforms?
Social and Emotional Learning is outside the purview of public education. Period. Arts and physical activity are being cut to make time for more and more testing and yet somehow districts are finding time to implement SEL.
In fact, I would not hesitate to say that SEL is yet another government tentacle trying to get its sticky reach on children using the government institution of public education as its access.
SEL grew its ugly head from Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). They have defined SEL as, “the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”
A cursory read may lead one to believe that this is not a bad idea or belief.
However, upon a more thoughtful digestion of the statement note the “process” calls for children to “acquire knowledge, attitudes and skills” in order that they may “manage” their emotions.
Where would a child go to begin the acquiring and emotion managing process? Well, to their public school classroom, of course. Gosh, do Mom and Dad have say? Absolutely. CASEL recommends, “integrated efforts,” which “is best done through effective classroom instruction, student engagement in positive activities in and out of the classroom, and broad parent and community involvement in program planning, implementation, and evaluation.”
Parents are gratuitously thrown into the mix on a broad scope with the community in the process of training their own children on emotions. No thank you. If I want a bone to chew on – I’ll just sneak one from our family dog.
Again, the government wants control over our children through government institutions without parental or with as little parental involvement as possible. If we are lucky we are informed and if the planets are in complete alignment on the day a program becomes policy we may be included – but not so you’d notice from their weak efforts.
SEL has been snaking its way into the public school for a while now. The Huffington Post spotlighted SEL in January of this year as the cure-all for what ails world relationships.
Mary Grabar, Ph.D., exposed it in her paper, Changing Consciousness: Conflict Resolution, Emotional Intelligence, and Peace Studies for a One-World Government. It is a healthy 32 page report. If you don’t have time to read it in its entirety you can just read the executive summary in which she gives the background for how CASEL came into being and how the proponents for SEL prefer pre-school (of course) age to begin training.
As of this writing Kansas and Illinois (I’m sure there are more in the works) have actual SEL standards on the books. Take a look at the following K-2 (5-7 year olds) standards from the Kansas state requirements:
A. Recognize, select, and ascribe to a set of core ethical and performance principles as a foundation of good character and be able to define character comprehensively to include thinking, feeling, and doing.
Understand that core ethical and performance principles exist (for example, in classrooms, in the community, in homes).
Identify and apply core principles in everyday behavior.
A. Understand and analyze thoughts and emotions.
Identify and describe basic emotions.
Identify situations that might evoke emotional responses.
Identify positive and negative emotions.
Set aside for the moment that the age appropriateness of these exercises is questionable and that this takes valuable time away from reading, writing, physical activity and mathematics and ask yourself - as a parent, are you comfortable with a government institution training your child how to feel? Do you want the government deciding for your child whether or not his or her emotions are right or wrong?
Emotions and feelings are part of the human experience. They are not something for our children to be instructed on in a public school. We develop as individuals: thoughts, feelings, emotions – it’s a package deal – the government does not get to train our children on their emotions.
Parents help children grow and develop. It is the parent’s responsibility, in fact, their duty, to watch over their child’s development and guide them.
Wouldn’t it be something if our government spent their time and our money on something truly beneficial like promoting the family? I would like to see a public school class that promotes the benefits of a healthy and strong family? How about a public ad campaign that reads: “Ask Dad! – He’ll know.” Or, how about, “Tell Mom – she’s the best secret keeper!”
I cannot say it enough – when you hear the words Social and Emotional Learning, also disguised as Whole Child Development and other catchy sounding baloney – run. Grab your children and run. CASEL is pushing their product everywhere and, like the Common Core State Standards Initiative snake oil, it is being forced into public schools, at tax payer expense, without parental knowledge and certainly without parental permission.