“Social and emotional learning” – but by whose standards?

Over at Mad Genius Club this morning, I consider proposals to “establish social and emotional learning as a priority in education”.  I find them rather frightening, to put it mildly.  Here’s an excerpt from that article.

My problem is this.  It looks very much as if CASEL is trying to “homogenize” our youth, teaching them the One True Way to deal with life issues, and inculcating a standard set of responses that ignore individuality and “program” them to deal with life, the universe and everything according to whatever approach is politically correct at the moment.  (Read more about it at their Web site.)  The problem is, that approach can change as easily as the prevailing winds.  Once the structures are in place to impose a standard, or set of standards, then those standards can be replaced with others at the drop of a hat, and the same structures can then be used to “implant” them in our young people.  There’s nothing to stop that happening.

Speaking as a writer, that’s frightening.  It’s Orwell’s “Big Brother” writ large upon our younger population.  We’re actually willingly sending them into a system that openly acknowledges it intends to indoctrinate them, and paying for that system with our tax dollars.  Are we, in the process, funding and encouraging the demise of free thought, and the end of the inquiring mind?  Are we accepting that people can and should be programmed like computers?  And what does that say for the future of writing and books?  Will it be restricted to products that conform to the system – not necessarily through editorial fiat, but because our potential readership has been programmed to reject anything else?

There’s more at the link.

Since Mad Genius Club is a shared writers’ blog, I contribute there from that perspective;  but the problem is a much wider one.  Click over there, read the information provided, and ask yourself what signs you’re seeing of this in your own environment.  More and more, I think our schools are indeed laboratories for “establish(ing) social and emotional learning as a priority in education”.  Is that a contributing factor to the number of school shootings, and/or the number of mass shooters in society in general?  I rather fear it may be.  If outliers don’t, or can’t, or won’t conform to the standards being imposed upon them at school, some sort of explosion may be inevitable.  On the other hand, I concede:

Of course, there’s also the opposite point of view.  If families are no longer providing an environment in which to raise children inculcated with moral and ethical norms and values, is it not the school’s responsibility to try to provide some sort of behavioral framework?  I’d argue that it isn’t, but others would then ask who’s going to do so if the school does not.  It’s a valid point, and one to which I don’t have an answer right now.

Discuss among yourselves.

Peter

8 comments

  1. “If families are no longer providing an environment in which to raise children inculcated with moral and ethical norms and values, is it not the school’s responsibility to try to provide some sort of behavioral framework?”

    Thomas Dewey, please pick up your messages.

    Ask first what the school’s desired end product is, and the reason for it.
    These are the same Prussian-style schools which have focused on destroying family authority and bonds, and undermining religious education in faith and morals, for the past century and a half. In the interest of progress and homogeneity, ‘alles ist in ordnung’

  2. This has been an issue for a long time. One of the core problems of Public Education is that ‘Educators’ have for decades found it far more exciting to concern themselves with the kids emotional development than the tiresome business of teaching reading, writing, and math. That a graduate of a Teachers’ college is no more qualified to practice psychotherapy than a pig is to do brain surgery is by-the-by.

  3. I remember from a quarter-century ago seeing some pamphlet from the NEA titled School-Home with a cover illustration of a ghostly woman in the school door welcoming with open arms a little girl running to the door. I thought it was creepy then, but knew that is their end goal. Children are too valuable to The State to be trusted to the brood mares and studs who brought them into this world.

  4. I’ve been working a temp job with the census to validate maps of houses. We have to make contact with each house. I’m surprised at the number of kids being home schooled. 95% have always been sheeple, but I think the 5% are still healthy.

  5. Check out Sugata Mitra’s work in India with teaching illiterate kids in remote villages how to use computers.
    He contends that the English school system was designed to produce human widgets to plug-and-play into the business of producing and selling merchandise.
    I think he is onto something.

  6. When I look at just our local county, my brother and I were both dyslexic. Our mother found extra tutoring to help us meet at least the mid level of our classes academically though we were both near the bottom of the social “pecking order”. Even so we were very fortunate that there was no bullying. Yet the low level of social skills affected us through the years. A cousin works at the local public school at the primary level. She works with children who don’t fit well with a larger more skilled class size. She sees children who come to school un washed, un fed, with various parasites, exposed to drugs, and unskilled in controlling their emotions and basic manners. Much less able and willing to learn, with support from their home environment. This is in a relatively well to do county that is 99% Caucasian … I shudder to think what would happen to these children left isolated in their home environment. As it is if they fail to become moderately socialized and literate who would hire them? Where would they find work? Where could they go besides becoming thieves, involved in drugs, un responsible reproduction? As a proud member of the county I live in I am appalled to see the beginnings of an impoverished criminal class ” right here in river city”.

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