More Voices Join the Chorus Against Social Emotional Learning

As alarm about the problems, dangers, and poor research related to social emotional learning (SEL) spreads, prominent new voices are entering the fray to speak against it. Bob Kellogg at One News Now recently discussed SEL’s harm to parental autonomy and the academic dilution it causes, while Max Eden, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, wrote in National Review about the problematic SEL curriculum adopted by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio for that city’s schools. The One News Now article referenced the op-ed that Jane Robbins and I wrote for The Federalist, based on our white paper for the

Case of Transgender Teen “Emancipated” from Mother Appealed to Supreme Court

The case of Anmarie Calgaro involving her son who was emancipated by several entities in the state of Minnesota without any due process for the mother has now been appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Here is her statement as she filed the original suit: My name is Anmarie Calgaro. Last year, without my knowledge or consent, without any court hearings or legal process, without any involvement on my part whatsoever, a legal aid group that gives free services to low income people created a “Notice of Emancipation” for my 15-year-old son. Suddenly, my son, without any notice to me,

“Social Emotional Learning” Standards Continue Ominous National March

As chronicled in multiple articles (also here and here) and the Pioneer Institute white paper authored by attorney Jane Robbins and myself, efforts to impose government-determined norms for the attitudes, values, and beliefs of the nation’s children beginning in preschool are becoming disturbingly relentless. Despite lots of concerns by Ohio parents and pro-family state school board members, as well as troubling data provided by Education Liberty Watch, (summarized here) and activism by Eagle Forum and Concerned Women for America, the full Ohio state board adopted statewide SEL standards by an 11-6 vote. Although there were promises made that students, teachers,

Parents Beware: “School Climate Surveys” Pose Many Threats to Students

A recent article by Joy Pullmann in The Federalist demonstrates just how nosy and invasive “school climate surveys” have become. These surveys are now a cornerstone of the implementation of social-emotional learning (SEL) programs in the nation’s public schools and have also been found in Common Core-aligned state tests and (illegally) in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The surveys make use of extremely vague and subjective questions, such as these examples from the Massachusetts state test: As noted by Pullmann, another such survey used in the Austin (Texas) Independent School District usurps parental autonomy and asks the particularly

Lawmakers Still Pushing “Personalized Learning” Despite Huge Problems

The corporate technology push of machine-based skills training continues to march across the nation. This effort goes by the names such as “competency-based education” (CBE), “personalized learning,” and “mastery education.” It has been well described by Jane Robbins, Peter Greene, here and in this space. The latest is a bill in Florida that seeks to expand what was supposed to be a five-year pilot project for four school districts and the University of Florida experimental school to all 67 Florida school districts after only two and a half years. This expansion is problematic, not only because of an absence of

New Law, Same Story: Fed Ed Tyranny Continues Under ESSA

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) passed Congress in 2015 despite the strong protests of more than 200 organizations and leaders after claims by leadership about the legislation: “Prohibiting the Secretary of Education from forcing, coercing, or incentivizing states into adopting Common Core” “Ending the era of federally mandated high-stakes tests” “Eliminating the federally mandated one-size-fits-all accountability system” All of these claims were false then and continue to show themselves false now. Even though ESSA prohibits the secretary of education from incentivizing or coercing Common Core, that is closing the barn door after the horse is already gone. There is

New Report: 50 Years of ‘Fed Ed’ Has Failed to Close Achievement Gap

New data continues to confirm what has been obvious for decades: federal interference in education since 1965 has failed to improve the academic achievement of poor children. This difference between students from higher and lower income families, dubbed “the achievement gap” by experts and policy makers, has remained stubbornly persistent for fifty years. A History of Fed Ed: From ESEA to Common Core That federal interference started with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which began compensatory grants for poor children in K-12, and Head Start, the federal preschool program, both passed in 1965. Both laws, plus the General

President Trump’s 2020 Budget: The Good and Bad News for Education

As discussed for the last two budget cycles (here and here) President Trump is working to keep his 2016 campaign promise to cut the size and scope of the U.S. Department of Education (USED). Here is some of the good, bad and ugly of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget: The Good News The 2020 budget seeks to cut overall USED spending by $7.1 billion or ten percent. That is consistent with his previous budgets and a good start on what is a big job. Basically level funding is maintained for both Title I, the main federal education program for poor

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