12.15.21 – Breitbart

“Districts Have ‘Unprecedented’ Funds to Teach CRT Via ‘Social and Emotional Learning’”
By Dr. Susan Berry

Excerpts from this article:

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Flooded with taxpayer dollars to fund social and emotional learning (SEL), K-12 school districts find themselves in a dilemma since SEL serves as the primary vehicle for Critical Race Theory (CRT), an agenda that is unpopular with many American parents, suggests a report at Education Week:

{On the one hand, interest in building or expanding SEL programs is surging among educators and parents, supported by an unprecedented infusion of billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief aid.

On the other hand, school and district leaders are facing emotionally charged conversations with the public as states consider bills to limit teaching about “divisive subjects” such as racism and sexuality.}

Education Week adds some “right wing political groups” are tying SEL and “equity” to CRT, “though schools insist they are not” linked…

Nevertheless, the Biden Department of Education planned to advance “equity” as a central focus of education in light of the “historic funding for schools” in the American Rescue Plan earlier this year, Biden Education Secretary Miguel Cardona announced in June.

…The announcement followed a proposal, in April, of a rule supporting the development of “culturally responsive teaching” in American history and civics.

In its proposed rule, the U.S. Education Department held up the widely discredited New York Times’ “1619 Project,” which teaches the United States is fundamentally a racist nation, as a model for schools…

Using the pandemic to pivot to the issue of “racial equity,” the Biden education department said its plans “are part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to implement President Biden’s Day One Executive Order to advance racial equity and support for underserved communities across the federal government and build our schools and communities back better than before the pandemic.”

In a report that underscored how the coronavirus pandemic delivered “disparate impacts” on students in “underserved communities,” the education department went to great lengths to name nearly every political identity group.

“COVID-19 has deepened pre-pandemic disparities in access and opportunities facing students of color, multilingual learners, students with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ students,” the department asserted, stating the pandemic even placed students “at heightened risk of sexual harassment, abuse and violence – particularly girls, women, and students who are transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming.”

The Biden education department also launched a virtual “Equity Summit Series” that aimed to urge schools to “infuse equity into all of their work.”

While the U.S. Education Department, under both Democrat and Republican administrations, has held up social and emotional learning, a form of “psychological training” for children, as essential to in-school learning, public schools have essentially failed American students in the major academic areas of English, reading, and math.

Heritage Foundation researchers recently reported that “despite record-high education spending” in the United States over the past decade, the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ 2020 Long-Term Trend Assessment showed a statistically significant decline in 13-year-olds’ reading and math scores. The Long-Term Trend Assessment covered a period of time that overlaps with another progressive reform intended to combat “inequity,” the Common Core State Standards…

As Education Week observes, however, SEL is big business, and school districts practically have money to burn right now:

{Between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years, district spending on SEL programming grew about 45 percent, from $530 million to $765 million, according to a report by the consulting firm Tyton Partners and published with the Collaborative for Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning, or CASEL.}

As attorney and education researcher Jane Robbins noted at the Federalist in February, CASEL CEO Karen Niemi announced last December her company revised its definition of and framework for SEL.

Robbins wrote:

{Woke-speak pervades the new direction. In contrast to the previous fairly anodyne definition of SEL, the new one emphasizes student “identities” and “marginalization,” “equity,” “just communities,” and the “collective” rather than the individual.}

…In a June 2020 webinar titled “SEL as a Lever for Equity and Social Justice,” CASEL’s Niemi and her colleagues urged the elimination of the “color-blind” approach in education which, traditionally, has been tied to “equality.”

“Social-emotional learning must actively contribute to anti-racism,” Niemi said. “We see SEL as a tool for anti-racism.”

Robbins noted, however:

{No decent person approves of racism, but the new concept of “anti-racism” has a more sinister meaning. Under this system of ideas, white children are by definition oppressors, minority children (except, presumably, higher-achieving on average Asian children) are by definition oppressed, and all of education must devolve into a churning mass of guilt and resentment.}

CASEL’s Niemi also pushed for SEL to motivate students to become equity activists, to “move from anger to agency and then to action.”

“All this will come from teaching children to ‘examine prejudices and biases . . . [and] evaluate social norms and systemic inequities,’” Robbins pointed out, adding, “Forget teaching kids to play nice—today’s SEL intends to propel them into Antifa.”

…With the abundance of taxpayer dollars being funneled to SEL companies, Robbins observed that “CASEL and its compatriots have apparently decided that SEL is now sufficiently entrenched in schools that they can pull back the curtain on the real purpose.”

“They’re gambling that parents either won’t realize what’s happening or will feel too intimidated to object,” she wrote back in February.

Perhaps parents have realized a lot more since then.