Press Releases

New Polling Data Show Overwhelming Support for Social-Emotional Learning Among Parents

SEATTLE, WA Committee for Children (CFC), a global nonprofit working to advance the safety and well-being of children through social-emotional learning (SEL), releases new polling data that show overwhelming support for social-emotional learning among parents across the country. 

“The process of developing social-emotional skills begins at home but continues at school where kids are spending a substantial amount of their time. Schools have been teaching these skills for generations, helping to prepare students to thrive in the real world,” said Andrea Lovanhill, Chief Executive Officer at Committee for Children. “Our polling shows that parents and families across the country believe in the importance of teaching social-emotional skills both at home and in our schools, confirming what we at Committee for Children have believed and research has shown for decades: that social-emotional learning helps promote the well-being and success of children in school and in life.” 

Conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group (BSG), the online survey interviewed 1,200 parents of school-aged children across the country. Using census data and other demographic data, the sample was weighted by geography, race, gender, age, education, and 2020 vote to ensure it was proportionally representative of parents nationwide.

 Key findings of the polling data include:

  • Among the 54% of parents who believe SEL is being taught at their child’s school, 52% believe that schools should continue teaching SEL (with 29% wanting schools to do more on SEL). For parents who responded that SEL isn’t being taught at their school or were unsure, 86% would support their child’s school teaching SEL.
  • Parents largely take the term “SEL” at face value, with 79% of respondents understanding that SEL means developing social skills (interacting with and understanding others), understanding one’s emotions, and helping them support their mental wellness. There are also no significant  negative top-of-mind associations with SEL.
  • Parents prioritize a range of skills that SEL supports – with confidence and good self-esteem, communication, decision-making, and self-discipline topping the list of those that students need in order to be successful throughout their lives.
  • Over 75% of parents responded that the reason they support SEL is because they see how teaching SEL creates a positive classroom environment where children learn the skills they need to succeed – in school and their future.  

View a full summary of the BSG polling data here.

On Monday, May 16, Committee for Children hosted a press briefing to share the release of the BSG polling data showing overwhelming support for SEL among parents. Watch a recording of the press briefing here.

“As a child psychologist, it’s clear to me why parents across the country want to see social-emotional skills taught in schools: social-emotional skills are proven, powerful tools that help our kids improve their performance in the classroom, have better social interactions, build stronger, healthier relationships, and strengthen their self-confidence,” said Dr. Akilah Reynolds, licensed psychologist at The Black Girl Doctor. “I work with children and families, and I see the positive outcomes of social-emotional learning firsthand. Children who learn how to understand and express their feelings get along better with others, have more self-discipline, and are better able to manage disagreements and disappointments. They do better in school, make friends, and have stronger relationships with their parents.”


About Committee for Children

Committee for Children is a non-profit organization that has been working in partnership with educators and families for more than 40 years to help children learn, grow, and thrive. Originally established to prevent child sexual abuse, CFC’s work has expanded over the years, though our mission remains the same: Keeping children safe. Through our programs centered around abuse and bullying prevention as well as social and emotional learning, CFC is committed to positively transforming the social, emotional, and physical well-being of over 20 million children every year.

Media Contact

Shauna McBride

Vice President of Public Relations and Communications