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In ‘social-emotional learning,’ right sees more critical race theory

"So, this past fall, the district implemented a social-emotional learning (SEL) program — a curriculum geared at helping students manage emotions, develop positive relationships and make good decisions. Schools have worked to develop these skills for decades, and in recent years, formal programming has proliferated coast to coast. In Anoka-Hennepin, elementary schools focused on themes such as respect, empathy, gratitude, kindness, honesty, courage, cooperation, perseverance and responsibility each month. Students learned how to ask for help and spot someone having a bad day.

But in recent months, a fierce backlash has unfolded, centered on the nexus between social-emotional learning and racial equity.

Parents Defending Education, a group that collects stories of programming that it deems liberal indoctrination, has called out at least seven incidents of social-emotional learning programs it finds offensive. An Indiana parents Facebook group warned that mindfulness is part of social-emotional learning, and also a tenet of Buddhism. “Christian parents should be aware of what is happening,” one post said."


Should it be a parent's right - any parent's right - to prevent education that equips children to live together, mindful of the indisputable and ever-present diversity of ways to be human, and skilled in avoiding bigotry?

Should anyone be able to prevent forms of education with proven positive effects based on nothing but shrill and baseless assertions of systematic divisiveness and harm?

Should children be indoctrinated into ideologies that promote and preserve power and prejudice as the supreme factors in determining how society should operate?

It's tempting to conclude that the people who are provoking these inane arguments are unintelligent. It's crucial to recognize the cynicism and cunning at work.

What to do?

It's exhausting, but if you are inclined to seek some kind of collaborative common ground with folks who seem bent on the wholesale destruction of forms of education they allege to be harmful, maybe try this:

Tell your anti-DEI, anti-CRT, anti-SEL friend-to-be that you are aware that there are people who vehemently object to calls to defund the police, burn down the whole institution of policing, and cast all cops as bad. Tell your future collaborator that these people are RIGHT to see such an extreme, unfair, and undiscerning reaction as illogical and counterproductive. And then invite your future partner in advancing inclusivity and critical thinking to wonder why the same response isn't suitable to calls for defunding DEI, SEL, (and even the dreaded CRT), banning their existence, and castigating educators of these subjects as bad people.

I can't promise that you'll witness an instant change of mind and heart but I'm pretty sure

if you pay close attention, you'll at least observe a lovely moment of cognitive dissonance.

Wishing you a mindful day.



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