The information below is from a friend who has done a lot of research on what is happening in our schools.
A bill called Strengthening Research Through Education Act, (SETRA for short, Senate bill 227) has passed the U.S. Senate through a “voice” vote, but has not cleared the House.
Section 132 of SETRA allows expansion of federal education research into the area of “social and emotional learning”. I find this alarming that instead of focusing on academics, the children will have their thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, grit, perseverance and behaviors up for interpretation in a highly subjective environment. This is data collection at it’s worst, and in my opinion, a violation of the rights to privacy our constitution allows.
Section 157 of SETRA would allow the input of social emotional learning to be input into a longitudinal data system that could potentially follow the children for their entire lives.
Social Emotional Learning has no clear definition in federal law. It is subjective. It is intrusive, and does not belong in the school house.
It is also concerning that NAEP will also be assessing mindsets, another description for the social emotional learning.
The federal government has no constitutional authority (under the 10th amendment) to be involved in education, much less doing research and collecting data on our innocent children.
Note that it passed with a voice vote. That means we do not know who voted for it or who voted against it. How can we hold our elected officials accountable if we don’t know how they vote?
American courts have already ruled against this practice:
The NAEP categories examining “mindsets” directly impact the fundamental liberty interest which parents possess in overseeing the upbringing and education of their children. As the Supreme Court has repeatedly held (as recently as 2000 in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), parents, not the state and its functionaries, are the ones possessed with the ultimate authority over the parents’ own children: “The fundamental theory of liberty upon which all governments in this Union repose excludes any general power of the State to standardize its children by forcing them to accept instruction…The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925) (Emphasis added). “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder. . .” Prince v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 321 U.S. 158 (1944). “The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition.” Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972).
In February, Townhall.com reported:
ESSA also calls for an extensive “family engagement policy,” which, according to a recent policy draft by the U.S. Departments of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services, will begin prenatally and continue “throughout a child’s developmental and educational experiences.”
Along the way, say the bureaucratic behemoths, the government must “prioritize engagement around children’s social-emotional and behavioral health.”
In plain language, this means the government will assess children every single step (or crawl) of the way, from cradle to career, to be certain they acquire all the attitudes, beliefs, and dispositions the omniscient, omnipotent government deems they must have. SEL, baby, SEL.
Uncle Shrink approves, but what about U.S. parents? Are they ready to let the government assume their child-rearing responsibilities?
For further information, see the following articles: