by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It is often said that when something controversial is being pounded into the public via media headlines, there is something else that is going on behind the scenes that the public is being distracted from. This is certainly the case with America’s education system. While the public has been hammered with a full-frontal assault by activists pushing Critical Race Theory and gender ideology in the schools overtly, there has also been a covert assault from the flank called Social-Emotional Learning or SEL.
Social-Emotional Learning supposedly arose out of the COVID-19 pandemic and a need to attend to the emotional psyches of fragile youth. It is a shift in the role of a teacher from an educator to a therapist and places a high value on a child’s emotional competency over academic performance. After locking kids in their homes, isolating them from their peers, muzzling them with ineffective face diapers, and pounding them with fear and doom for 2 years, activists have swooped in to provide emotional support in the classroom once they were permitted to return. In typical government fashion, it seems like a solution looking for a problem. They didn’t create SEL to mend the fragile psyches of youth, they damaged the fragile psyches of youth to push SEL.
Social-Emotional Learning is a backdoor for CRT and gender ideology. After returning to school, some students have complained that rather than work to get them caught up on missing a year of quality instruction, they were instead presented with pseudo-therapeutic questions about their emotional competency. Some examples of SEL questions that students have been presented with include “How do you feel when you see two men kissing?”, or “If you didn’t have a diverse makeup of friends in your friend group, is it racist to seek out another race to fill your friend group?” This has resulted in even some lifetime Democratic voters raising red flags.