Tennessee Eagle Forum Newsletter
 August 15, 2016
Inside this issue
  Remember Common Core? Now Social and Emotional Learning!  

If you liked Common Core, you are going to LOVE "Social Emotional Learning"!!

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It looks like Tennessee is now working with seven other states to develop "social-emotional learning" requirements, something like a non-academic version of Common Core, with the privately and government-funded Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning.

Really?  Silly parents - I bet you thought it was YOUR responsibility to teach and meet the social and emotional needs of your children!! Evidently not!!

All of a sudden, a number of articles have burst on the scene that TN has been selected 

Tennessee to become national pioneer in creating social and emotional standards

All this raises the question:  Why is the state getting into the business of 'social emotional learning'? 

According to the Tennessee Social and Personal Competencies published by the Department of Education, these competencies "will be Tennessee Specific and will be developed by two teams of Tennesseans" and  will include 'ethical standards...social norms', etc.  So these people get to decide what are the CORRECT or PREFERRED ' ethical standards...social norms' against which your student will be measured?
How will the these be measured?  There is no end to potential problems and MANIPULATION here.

Doesn't the public school system have enough to accomplish without putting yet another NON-ACADEMIC requirement?

And is seems that a Toolkit has already been developed:
From the 2015 Toolkit:
Importance of SEL
SEL is a universal approach for all students. The goal of SEL is to address the social and emotional needs of all students to ensure their success in school and in life.
And don't think you can opt your student out of the program. As you can see from this quote from an already-written toolkit, it will be a program integrated throughout many classes:
The purpose of this toolkit is to demonstrate that SEL is not another add on to the  already busy agendas of teachers and administrators .  Rather, SEL is intertwined with the work  teachers and  administrators are already doing and is implicitly embedded throughout the TEAM rubric and  the professional growth afforded within the TEAM process. By using the TEAM process to integrate SEL, educators can leverage the professional learning opportunities connected with  TEAM to also promote development of student social and emotional skills.

According the the Tennessee Social and Personal Competencies publication, the first committee has been appointed and will have their first meeting on September 1 at Andrew Johnson Tower in Nashville.

On August 17-18, 2016, the Joint House Education Committees will be meeting. You can find the members at the links below if you want to contact them and/or you can use this alert to sent an email to YOUR Senator and House member.

Education Administration and Planning

Education Instruction and Programs

Parents should demand a halt to pseudo-psychology - and a restoration of their autonomy in raising their children.



  The Latest Big Education Fad, Social-Emotional Learning, Is As Bad As It Sounds  
  Jane Robbins Posted: Aug 08, 2016 12:01 AM

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) longs to plumb the psyches of our children (as its own reports reveal - see here and here), and it enjoys the eager complicity of state education establishments. As reported by Education Week, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) recently announced that eight states will "work collaboratively to create and implement plans to encourage social-emotional learning in their schools." These states are jumping on a bandwagon that threatens to roll over innocent children and their privacy.

CASEL is the big gorilla in the zoo of social-emotional learning, or SEL. Having proved so adept at (or perhaps having given up on) teaching students English, math, science, and history, state progressive-education establishments are joining CASEL to explore more esoteric pursuits. Better to diminish academic content knowledge and push SEL: "self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making."

The average parent might object, "Wait, that's what my child learns from me and from Sunday school." But CASEL & Co. believe the government should take over in case the parents and church don't do it right - perhaps teaching the wrong attitudes and mindsets.

Suppose the government decides a child will be a more acceptable student, citizen, and worker bee if he learns to acquiesce to the "consensus" of the group, regardless of his own moral standards, or if she learns to accept that all commands of the government must be obeyed. The student may fulfill the standard by developing the correct attitudes, but under whose authority does the government presume to instill attitudes that may conflict with parents' desires?

These eight states (California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington) have thus joined a few others in assuming the right to substitute their authority for the parents' in children's most intimate and personal development, from pre-K through graduation. In doing so, the nanny states are acting in the spirit of the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which encourages rating of schools based partly on "nonacademic" factors that may include measures of SEL, and which provides funding for a range of potentially SEL programs. Thank you, Speaker Ryan, for ramming this bill through.

Assessment and development of students' social and emotional skills is risky business. What kind of training will teachers or other school personnel have for this responsibility? Psychologist Dr. Gary Thompson points out the extremely sensitive nature of evaluating children's social-emotional makeup and warns about having inadequately trained personnel implementing plans designed to alter students' psyches.



  Tennessee To Create 'Safe Spaces' In K-12 Schools  

8, 2016

As part of a nationwide effort to develop government standards for kids' feelings, social behavior, and relationships, Tennessee public K-12 schools will establish "safe spaces where students can go to calm down without feeling like they're being punished," reports Chalkbeat Tennessee. On college campuses  so-called "safe spaces" have become widely mocked as "First-Amendment-free zones," progressive thought ghettos, and even prime locations for hate crimes.

Tennessee is working with seven other states to develop "social-emotional learning" requirements, something like a non-academic version of Common Core, with the privately and government-funded Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. An additional 11 states that applied to join this project but didn't make it will be given the materials the initial eight develop. You can bet your buttons it won't stop there.

The behavior checklists and data reporting systems these states ultimately develop "will establish social and emotional learning as a priority in education," Pat Conner, the Tennessee Education Department's director of safe and supportive schools, told Chalkbeat. As part of this initiative, Georgia plans to update its annual survey of K-12 students to include more questions about their feelings and relationships.

What 'Social-Emotional Learning' Means

This survey is already highly personal and uses suggestive questions about troubling and even illegal behaviors for students in between sixth and twelfth grades, which means answering can be self-incriminating. Often school officials will insist results are anonymized, but if students take the questionnaires online it is pretty easy to find out who gave specific answers. Examples taken directly from Georgia's latest questionnaire, administered to all Georgia public-school students in 2016 (remember that many sixth graders are 11 years old):



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Federal Legislation to Promote Social and Emotional Learning

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Social and Emotional Learning in the New Federal Education Law

CASEL has joined a growing number of educational organizations across the country in welcoming and applauding the new federal education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which President Obama signed into law on December 10, 2015. Particularly important, according to CASEL, are new provisions in the law that support social and emotional learning.

Several elements of the new law support or have the potential to promote social and emotional learning. They include:

A broader definition of student success. The new law allows more leeway to states and local school districts in defining and assessing student success. The law specifically refers to "nonacademic" factors as indicators of accountability. Student engagement, school climate, and safety, for example, could be among the indicators.

Language that encourages schools to "establish learning environments and enhance students' effective learning skills that are essential for school readiness and academic success." This language appears in two places specifically: in Title II, referring to funds for professional development, and in the new program called Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants in Title IV. This grant program in particular will allow local education agencies the power of selecting and implementing activities for a variety of uses.

In Title IV, specific recommendations for ''activities to support safe and healthy students." These include fostering "safe, healthy, supportive, and drug free environments that support student academic achievement," helping to prevent bullying and harassment, improving "instructional practices for developing relationship-building skills, such as effective communication," providing "mentoring and school counseling to all students," and "implementation of schoolwide positive behavioral interventions and supports."

A broader approach to professional development and learning. The new law says that professional development must be "sustained (not stand-alone, one-day, and short-term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data-driven, and classroom focused."

The inclusion of "specialized instructional support personnel" in developing state and district school improvement plans, identifying and supporting students most at risk of school failure, addressing school climate and school safety, and supporting the mental and behavioral health of students.

A boost in the School Improvement Program grants from 4% of the total Title I funds to up to 7%. Although specific guidelines have not yet been developed, ESSA replaces the requirements of NCLB and allows more leeway to states and school districts in creating their school improvement plans, which can include social and emotional growth as part of a school's improvement strategies.

A new evidence-based research and innovation program similar to the Investing in Innovation program, which, under the previous version of the law, funded projects focused on social and emotional learning.

Other Federal Legislation in Support of SEL

Several other bills introduced in the current Congress support social and emotional learning