6 Big Problems with Latest “Social Emotional Learning” Report

Last week, the Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (the Commission) issued their final report after a two-year process of convening meetings and gathering information. As has been covered many times in this space and others, there are many contradictions in logic and many problems with expanding social emotional learning (SEL) as envisioned by proponents. Here are some of the key issues: 1.) The Commission promotes the care and development of the “whole child” as an individual while simultaneously pushing standardized SEL teaching and assessment via “state standards, guidance, and frameworks” and the trend toward machine

No More Grades? New Program Looks to Recycle Failed Ideas at U.S. High Schools

A consortium of the most elite high schools in the nation are attempting to build a new kind of computerized high school transcript that will embody more than what they see as the “broken” traditional grades and time-spent model currently in use. The Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) proposes a new transcript model based on three principles: No Required Standardization of Mastery Credits: The performance areas, credit standards (rubrics, etc.) and credits are specific only to the individual crediting school, and will never be standardized across schools. No Grades: Letter grading (or numerical equivalent) will not be used. Consistent Transcript Format: Transcript

Flawed Report Uses Pseudoscience to Promote “Social Emotional Learning”

The latest report of the National Commission on Social Emotional and Academic Learning continues to promote questionable brain science in the service of having government schools, corporations, or their foundations set norms for and assess the values, attitudes, beliefs, and emotions of students from cradle to career. Here are some of the many reasons this report is so debatable: Poor Science The report includes several key statements based on alleged brain science that should raise concern about its validity: According to a 2015 study published in the journal Science, only 39 out of 100 studies published in three leading psychology

Government Preschool Doesn’t Work — And Here’s the Proof

This article was originally posted at The American Spectator and co-authored by Dr. Karen Effrem, president of Education Liberty Watch. On the theory that more government programs can solve any public-education problem, bipartisan policymakers have embraced government-funded pre-K programs as the current fix. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act dangles multiple incentives, including new Preschool Development Grants, to coax states into taking more young children from their families and enrolling them in government preschool. Advocates claim the $7.6 billion spent on state pre-K programs will result in improved academic achievement and a multitude of societal benefits. But a new study from the center-left think tank Brookings douses these

Medical Child Kidnapping: Could a Norwegian Scandal Soon Hit the U.S.?

The BBC recently did a profile piece discussing Norway’s child protection system, which is based on its strict enforcement of its United Nations-approved child development standards that include social emotional learning (SEL) standards and work via government home visits. The BBC, which is not exactly a conservative media outlet, summarized the Norwegian situation as follows: The UN rates Norway one of the best countries for a child to grow up in. And yet too many children, according to a large number of Norwegian experts, are taken into [government] care without good reason. The conviction of a top psychiatrist in the

Congress Keeps Adding to the Education Swamp with Budget Increases

Although not surprising in an election year, congressional appropriators — who are generally not known for their political courage — are not doing anything to drain the putrid, unconstitutional swamp that is the U.S. Department of Education and its related programs. Both the full House and Senate Appropriations Committees have completed their Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bills for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 that will begin October 1st. As we described a few months ago, the omnibus budget bill for FY 2018 exploded deficits and significantly enlarged the federal education footprint. Although there are some places where there are no new increases, the

“Social Emotional Learning” Advocates Are Still Ignoring Its Many Problems

As Ronald Reagan used to say: “There they go again!” The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) — which receives our hard-earned taxpayer dollars to insinuate social emotional learning (SEL) standards and curriculum into every classroom in America from preschool on up — has found another voice to breathlessly tell us benighted parents and citizens that our children and their education will not survive unless and until SEL is everywhere. Giancarlo Brotto is the author of “The Future of Education Depends on Social Emotional Learning: Here’s Why,” the most recent piece of SEL cheerleading in EdSurge. In the

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