Committee for Children Blog

Record High Demand for Social-Emotional Learning in US Schools

Children giving thumbs up to camera.

Education Week recently published survey results that show extraordinarily high interest in social-emotional learning (SEL) curricula in K–12 schools across the country, from early grades through high school. Separately, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) has measured how implementation of SEL programs related to a variety of outcomes for K–12 social-emotional learning and found positive results in some of the country’s largest school districts.

90% of K–12 school district leaders have already invested in social-emotional learning products, or plan to do so over the 2019–2020 school year, according to Education Week’s 2018 survey of 500+ district administrators.

Social-Emotional Learning Districtwide Recent Trends

CASEL partners with 19 large school districts across the US regularly to measure the results of how social-emotional learning curricula affect their students, schools, and education. Recent studies were encouraging for a slew of reasons. Higher math scores. Higher graduation rates. Improved student behavior. And more.

In the 19 school districts (serving 1.6 million students) that were measured—including Austin, Atlanta, Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Minneapolis, Nashville, Oakland, Sacramento, and Tulsa—these were the high-level research findings from implementing SEL programs:

  • Several districts saw improved reading and math scores in students.
  • Several districts saw improved GPAs and higher test scores among students.
  • Many districts had improved student behavior—higher graduation rates, better school attendance, fewer suspensions, and improved social-emotional competencies.
  • Some school districts saw marked improvements in school climate.

Tia Kim, PhD, Vice President of Education, Research, and Impact, says, “At Committee for Children, we’ve seen higher interest than ever in social-emotional learning curricula for PreK–12 school districts. I’m encouraged to see that schools are investing in the social-emotional development of their students, because research continues to show that social-emotional competence is related to a range of positive outcomes.”

Demand for social-emotional learning products and services in schools is stronger than ever, and Committee for Children will remain a long-term advocate for children’s well-being and safety.