Fooling the Public (Please note there are three Mental Health Bills in the Legislature: HB123 sponsored by Ledbetter, SB40 by Smitherman and the one that has been fast-tracked maybe up for House members to vote on week after Spring Break - SB171-Numeracy Act.)
If a national assessment is written to test a particular program (for example, Common Core Standards,) then school systems will be forced to teach the material needed to pass that test. It doesn’t matter whether those standards are called Common Core,” “College and Career Ready,” or “Granny’s Apple Pie” Standards.
Yes, words and meanings can be deceptively used in education to confuse and intimidate public school parents, as well as everyone else including legislators and governors. A current example in Alabama is the use of the phrase Social Emotional Learning (SEL) which has permeated the recent flurry of education bills in the Alabama House and Senate. In March 2021 Alabama State Senator Democrat Roger Smitherman met with the Alabama Association of School Psychologists (AASP), which is the Alabama affiliate of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Less than a year later Senator Smitherman introduced SB40 which mentioned SEL over 20 times in this effort to implement a radically different framework “that the development of the whole student and family structure.” This school plan for mental health calls for what appears to be an army of mental health and behavior specialists, psychologists, social workers and interventionists.
SEL is a term that’s been in vogue for many years; however, it’s just recently that outsiders realized how pervasive and sinister the elements of SEL are. SEL is the framework for all these components, much like a basket full of fruit, flowers, dirty clothes, or even tools. In this case, the tools in the SEL basket include: Critical Race Theory (CRT), Social Justice and Equity (but not equality), LGBTQ & Gender Questioning, White Privilege, Systemic Racism, Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE), 1619 Project, Revisionist History, and White Fragility, to mention just a few.
A two-page ad from Edgenuity, a virtual learning program used across Alabama, claimed that: “In today’s complex world, a well-defined SEL program is more important than ever …. The curriculum is aligned to CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning competencies, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) best practices.”
Noted Georgia attorney, columnist, and education expert Jane Robbins prophetically wrote, “The hottest topic in American public education is social-emotional learning (SEL). The student scores on the National Assessment of Education Progress(NAEP)... paint a gloomy picture of their accomplishments in reading and mathematics especially since the implementation of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI). Education decision-makers look forward to probing students’ psyches rather than instilling academic knowledge.”
As many have been saying for years, education today (SB171) is about teaching and testing feelings, not facts.
Concerned Grandmothers of the Wiregrass
Barbara Moore, Dothan AL
Betty Peters, Dothan
Barbara Moore & Betty Peters
Concerned Grandmothers of the Wiregrass.