As part of the new Kennewick School District Equity Team that is being created (according to emails sent to parents last week), there's language in there referring to "social emotional learning."

The Equity team will be tasked with developing "equity focused plans" designed to address racism and bias where it exists "and promote equity focused strategies in the following areas":

  • "Student Success
  • Staff Recruitment, Hiring and Retention
  • Social Emotional Learning, Curriculum and Professional Development
  • Family Engagement and Communication"

The Social Emotional Learning caught our eye, and we looked it up. SEL is a part of education and human development, according to the website casel.org. The actual definition from their site lays it out as follows:

 "SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions."

We are not aware to what degree SEL is being used in the District, or if it is something being looked at or considered.

It appears that these principles and educational tools will now be examined by the KSD Equity team for any signs of racism or bias.  According to casel.org, SEL can also be used to:

"SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities."

Proponents believe it creates better focused more responsible students who perform better in school.  It's not a series of specific 'lessons' but more a 'backround' influence in how educational programs are administered to students.

However, there are opponents who say SEL is "social engineering" by disregarding the individuality of students, and their familial (family) relationships.

These critics say SEL pushes what they call "conformity" of thought, or a lack of free will thinking.

Some even say it's in the same genre as the social engineering used to create modern day Chinese society.

To read more about SEL, click on the button below for the CASEL information (the group that has been championing the concepts).

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