Last week I wrote about parental rights in education. Like religion, partisan politics has no place in grade school classrooms. That becomes complicated when everything from health to climatology gets politicized. Is anything still nonpartisan enough to teach?
Take, for example, the ability to refrain from temper tantrums and play well with others. Parents lambaste school boards about Social & Emotional Learning (SEL) and its five core elements:
Controversial? Really? Though specific SEL programs are up for debate, school involvement in character development is as old as the hills. My grade school report cards rated citizenship as E (excellent), S (satisfactory), or U (unsatisfactory). My ninth grade English teacher stressed moral lessons in every story or poem. High school science labs demanded effective teamwork. If teachers were barred from influencing behavior, classroom management would be impossible, and academics would fall apart.
11/14/2022 12:56:41 pm
SEL is key to student success. Not sure why it seems threatening to some parents. If the teachers find it important as do studies about it, hope parents will support the teachers. I've been thankful for the skills our child learns at school; they complement what we teach at home.
11/20/2022 04:56:18 pm
Rebecca, well put. I'm glad your child is learning these skills at school as well as home. I was startled to learn this is one of the new battlegrounds in the culture wars. I suspect people trying to make trouble rouse parents' emotions against any acronym they don't understand, for political rather than educational reasons.
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I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.