Committee for Children Blog

Talking SEL Is Hard—We’re Making It Easier

People appreciate social-emotional learning (SEL) for a variety of reasons. Educators value how it can support student success in school. Businesses value how it can build employability skills in our future workforce. Families value how it can positively affect young people’s social and emotional well-being. Lawmakers are starting to appreciate these benefits, too. 

Gaining Traction One Issue at a Time

We’re at a point where many policymakers have a general understanding of what SEL is and how it benefits kids, schools, and communities. While policymakers tend to focus on other issues, some are ready to include SEL as an evidence-based part of their already-existing legislative priorities.

For example, on the federal level, lawmakers included SEL practices in their support for communities affected by the opioid crisis. At the state level, Texas and Florida legislatures included teaching social-emotional skills as a measure to prevent school violence. The Washington State legislature asked the Department of Education to develop SEL state standards for schools to use with their communities. And the list goes on.

It’s Not Easy Talking SEL

Lawmakers are busy people, and it’s hard to bring them up to speed on the relationship between SEL practices and any number of their current points of focus. To make it easier, we’ve drafted several one-page documents that offer quick takeaways and cite research that connects SEL with the following topics:

We’re Building a Foundation for Growth

Of course, our ultimate goal is to have more lawmakers advance SEL policy in its own right, rather than in service to something else. Until then, we appreciate that integrating SEL with other policy areas is an effective way to build it into policy vernacular and set the stage for cultural acceptance. This helps us lay the foundation to reach our goal of positively transforming the social-emotional well-being of 100 million children annually by 2028.

We invite you to share these resources with your local, state, and federal representatives. The more lawmakers know, the more opportunities kids and communities will have to thrive. 

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