Article misses critical distinction in study on teaching Social and Emotional Learning

July 19, 2023

By Tim Worstall

Social and emotional learning is a vital part of growing up. It’s a part of that “building a civilization kit” that is what, well, it’s what builds society. If we don’t learn how to interact with our fellow humans, there won’t be a society or civilization. This is not the same as stating that Social and Emotional Learning, as taught in schools today, is the same. Social and emotional learning and “Social and Emotional Learning” as part of curriculum are wildly different. The former is us, as parents, teaching our children how to grow up to be the adults we wish them to be. With the occasional slip where it doesn’t entirely take, of course. SEL is where the children are forced to grow up how the woke and progressives who dominate the school system think they should.

This distinction is essential when we consider this new research:

New Study: Schools Prioritizing Social-Emotional Learning See Strong Academic Benefits C
Chicago high schools that prioritized social-emotional development saw improved graduation rates & college attendance.

Well, that seems to prove it, doesn’t it? The schools get to teach it all and dang what we as parents want or desire. Except, that’s not actually what the study did find. Instead, they found this:

A recent study out of the University of Chicago showed high schools that prioritized social-emotional development had double the positive long-term impact on students as compared to those that focused solely on improving test scores.

As part of their work, researchers determined school’s effectiveness based upon its impact on students’ social-emotional development, test scores and behaviors. They concluded that the most effective schools provide a welcoming environment for students, an experience that shapes their later years.

One of the things they did not test or even look at, no, really, was whether the school taught SEL. Instead, the finding was that a school that aided a child in becoming an adult also worked well at improving their test scores, getting them into college, and keeping them there once they did. You know, those adult things. Also, families who sent their kids to such schools tended to be those who aided in that process of turning a surly teen into a smiling adult.

You know, big shock. Good schools are good schools. A good school aids that passage to adulthood – note, not determines it, aids alongside families and parents. And this has nothing to do with or no link to, the SEL syllabus the place claims to follow.

This study – and no doubt others like it – will be used to insist that we hand over our kids to be trained the way the school district decides. But that’s entirely the opposite of what the finding is.

Yes, of course, growing up improves grades and future life. But there’s no evidence at all here that allowing the schools to inflict Social and Emotional Learning classes on the kids aids in this in any whatsoever. They’ve found that a good school aids kids in growing up. And aren’t we all astonished by that result?


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