Education Reform Requires Emphasis on Social and Emotional Learning

Social and emotional learning | IN 60 SECONDS
Social and emotional learning | IN 60 SECONDS

The push for “social and emotional learning,” or SEL, could be part of a healthier vision of schooling that moves beyond America’s testing mania. Yet, as AEI...


Education in the 21st century has been dominated by an obsession with standardized test scores. This over-emphasis has led to much frustration on the part of students, parents, and teachers alike, with many in those circles pushing back against this startling trend.

As a part of that pushback, some aspects of education to consider are social and emotional learning (SEL). These components include things like character development and good citizenship. Sadly, these things are largely lacking in public education today in education scholar Fredrick Hess' assessment.

What are some ways to bring back these important facets of learning? He discusses his thoughts above. Perhaps one of his most important insights is that the movement to enact reform must not be hijacked into a culture war.

We all want schools to be more focused on character and all the needs of our kids, but real consensus will require honoring traditional values, not just progressive enthusiasms. If SEL winds up hijacked by well-meaning ideologues, a promising cause will morph into a divisive educational culture war.

What are your thoughts on Hess' recommendations? Discuss with us below.