Press Releases

Lawmakers Working to Give Students Vital Skills

Congressional briefing focuses on research linking social skills, academics

WASHINGTON, DC—In a complex and increasingly challenging world, children need every competitive advantage they can get. In addition to academic skills such as reading and math, students must also develop social and emotional competencies like self-control, problem-solving, and the ability to work cooperatively with others. According to educators and researchers who presented evidence to support these findings in a congressional briefing today, these skills will help students succeed not only in school but in future roles as citizens, employees, managers, parents, volunteers, and entrepreneurs.

Educators are finding that the best way to impart social-emotional skills to students is by teaching evidence-based programs in school. To that end, nonprofits Committee for Children of Seattle and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) of Chicago hosted a congressional briefing that focused on effective social-emotional learning programs in all stages of the educational system, from preschool through college. The briefing, titled “Social and Emotional Learning: Essential Skills for Success in School and Life,” took place on Capitol Hill today.

The speakers were Joan Cole Duffell, Executive Director of Committee for Children; Maurice Elias, Ph.D., Director of Rutgers Social-Emotional and Character Development Lab; Janice Deguchi, Executive Director of Denise Louie Education Center; and Keeth Matheny, Teacher at Austin High School. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH) gave the opening remarks.

Moderating the briefing was Tim Shriver, Ph.D., Chairman of Special Olympics and Board Chair of CASEL, who said, “I have long believed that social-emotional learning is an essential part of the educational process. Moderating today’s panel was an honor, and our hope is that this effort results in greater support for SEL instruction in schools throughout the U.S.”

Quotes from the briefing have been posted via live Twitter feed at #SELBriefing.

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About Committee for Children

Seattle-based nonprofit Committee for Children’s research-based educational programs, including the award-winning Second Step program, teach social-emotional skills to prevent bullying, violence, and abuse and improve academics. Their curricula are used in over 25,000 schools across the United States and around the world. To learn more, go to

About the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

CASEL’s mission is to help make evidence-based social and emotional learning an integral part of education from preschool through high school so that all students can become knowledgeable, responsible, caring, and contributing members of society. CASEL convenes educational leaders to address concepts and practices, reviews social-emotional learning programs, and advocates for best practices through a variety of projects and communications networks. To learn more, go to


Allison Wedell Schumacher, Committee for Children, 206-438-6432 (o), 206-778-2537 (c),