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Remove SEL programs from the schools!

In 2021 the Illinois government refreshed the The Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards.[1] These mandate that teachers become experts in “social emotional learning” (SEL). School districts have enthusiasm to implement SEL across their schools, and we soon expect to see students graduate from SEL programs.

But what sort of young adults will these former students be? Because of what SEL actually teaches, expect a generation of angry agitators for socialism. The problem is that SEL has been changed to be centered around Marxist concepts:

  • Students learn class warfare, “class consciousness.” They instead ought to be learning cultural assimilation, and how to be a good citizen.
  • Students learn to value “anti-racism.” SEL prides itself on its emphasis on this. Problem is, anti-racism is simply more and more actual racism, forever.
  • Student get their emotional balances monitored by smartphones. School staff intrusively monitors students, and give volumes of personal and medical data to outside companies.
  • Students learn that their parents don’t matter any more. SEL reduces parents to useless cheerleaders.

We don’t need a bunch of grumpy activists, and our children deserve better than a Marxist brainwashing. Why can’t these standards be repealed? After all, which legislators want to be told that he or she is enabling a Marxist revolution? So of course it’s possible to repeal this law. Read on, then, and learn from “the horse’s mouth” – with quotes from SEL advocates – how SEL really is all of these bad things.

SEL increases “anti-racist” racism

In the CASEL video SEL as a Lever for Equity and Social Justice, Karen Niemi, the CASEL President and CEO, says this about SEL and racism:

We believe that there is no system more important than education to fighting against racism. And we believe that our work in social and emotional learning must actively contribute to anti-racism. SEL has the potential to do a lot of things. It has the potential to help people move from anger, to agency, and then to action.

These are really all important things that matter. And we see SEL as a tool for anti-racism.[2]

Niemi wants to fight racism, and her tool of choice is anti-racism. She’s not alone in her enthusiasm for anti-racism. In their article Advocating for a More Just and Peaceful World, the Committee for Children has similar plans for SEL:

At Committee for Children, we believe that social-emotional learning (SEL) is fundamental to achieving social justice. We are dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), to becoming an anti-racist organization, and to building a more just and peaceful world where every child can thrive.[3]

However, ending racism through anti-racism can’t possibly work. Anti-racism means more actual racism, forever. Ibram Kendi is perhaps the most prominent proponent for “anti-racism.” He likes anti-racism because:

Since the 1960s, racist power has commandeered the term “racial discrimination,” transforming the act of discriminating on the basis of race into an inherently racist act. But if racial discrimination is defined as treating, considering, or making a distinction in favor or against an individual based on that person’s race, then racial discrimination is not inherently racist. The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist. Someone reproducing inequity through permanently assisting an overrepresented racial group into wealth and power is entirely different than someone challenging that inequity by temporarily assisting an underrepresented racial group into relative wealth and power until equity is reached. The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination.

As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun wrote in 1978, “In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently.”[4]

Kendi dismisses Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream of a color-blind society. Said King:

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.[5]

Unlike King’s call for equality and color-blindness, Kendi calls for “future discrimination” until the right kind of equity is created. However, equity doesn’t mean equality. Equality is treating every individual by the same rules. But equity insists on lumping people into groups, arbitrarily determined by race, income, etc. Activists from these groups will get pitted against each other, each seeking the government’s favor. In his blog, William Cathcart explains equity and some of its consequences:

You’ll note perhaps the newest of the identifying terms, “equity.” Often confused with, or assumed to actually be, “equality.” Not the case at all. Equality means equal opportunity, as we’ve all long known. Equity, however, refers to, and strives for, equal outcomes. That’s completely different. Rather than championing learning, hard work, persistence, and commitment to achieve, ‘equity’ essentially implies skipping all of those traditional factors on the American pathway to success, and, instead, doing whatever is necessary (think government influence and assistance) for underachievers to become just as successful reaching a goal as those who worked their butts off to make it. And that could mean lowering academic standards, holding achievers back through lack of advanced course offerings, bringing the slow learners up and holding the excelling learners back, to the end of creating a homogenous, middle-level (if not, mediocre) learning experience imposed on all. That’s equity. Achieving a bizarre form of socialist equality, now achieved through the back door, by boosting the weak and hog-tying the strong, so they all reach the perceived finish line together.

Political commentator Scott Johnson chooses to summarize government-dominated equity like this: “Equity is not equality (i.e., equal rights). It is a substitute for equal rights. Equity requires the authorities to determine who gets what according to the race, the ethnicity, or other status of the beneficiaries. It is updated Marxist claptrap in which race replaces class.” He concludes: “The mania for perfect equality of results and conditions is never to be satisfied. It provides a permanent rationale for perfect tyranny.” In other words, government must step in to assure equity of outcomes, likely by pressure, and then remain involved, since the equity task can never be satisfactorily completed![6]

Suppose that an anti-racist remedy actually fixes something. Could that remedy be removed once measurable equalness has been achieved? I doubt it. Do you believe for a moment that the people of a favored group will accept losing their preferential treatment? Thomas Sowell doesn’t think so, either:

When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.[7]

SEL proponents inject anti-racism into education, and create new opportunities for students to adopt racist attitudes.

  • In the video SEL as a Lever for Equity and Social Justice Niemi said “And we believe that our work in social and emotional learning must actively contribute to anti-racism.”[8]
  • Later in the same video Robert Jagers, CASEL’s VP of Research, said that “Issues of race, class, culture, gender, etc., are actually operating in people’s minds, and their interactions with one another, and also institutionally. Transformative SEL is really intended to appreciate that reality, because while it is a good thing to appreciate people for who they are, to ignore the fact that they are raced, class, etc., a colorblind, a powerblind approach, ignores the humanity of the people that you’re interacting with. So Transformative SEL simply brings to bear, or makes explicit, the fact that this is an important feature of how we interact with each other but also how our institutions function.”[9]
  • Quoting the NPR article How social-emotional learning became a frontline in the battle against CRT, “Dena Simmons, the founder of LiberatED, an organization which aims to center racial social justice in social and emotional learning, says being able to talk about social-emotional learning without talking about identity is an example of white privilege.”[10]

Finally, SEL teaches students to hate “white people.” In the editorial Framing Social and Emotional Learning among African-American Youth: Toward an Integrity-Based Approach, Jagers intends that SEL incorporate the world of “critical race theory” and push back against the “dominant culture.” He even hints that students trained in SEL ought to try an actual revolution!

As a result, SEL work can be understood with regard to what ways it advances resistance to oppression and collective well-being for a range of disenfranchised groups. Briefly, oppression entails a state of asymmetric power relations characterized by domination and subordination, such that dominating persons or groups exercise their power to restrict access to material resources and convince both the dominant and subordinated groups that such arrangements are justified. Resistance can lead to freedom to determine, pursue, and attain collective economic, educational, and health-related well-being.

With regard to African-American youth, this framing must illuminate patterns of race/ethnic relations, types of citizenship, and the nature of adult/youth relations being advanced. Racial/ethnic relations are important due to the contradictions inherent in US democratic aspirations and the continued conflation of race, class, and culture. Some possibilities include variants of assimilation, pluralism, separatism, and system change (reform/revolution). Forms of citizenship can emphasize personal responsibility for behaving in prosocial ways (e.g., helping and cooperating), active participation to sustain existing social institutions, or social activism geared toward a more equitable and just system for all [Westheimer & Kahne, 2004].[11]

SEL evangelizes students to think in Marxist ways

In American society, parents teach their children how to recognize right and wrong, and to (hopefully) prefer doing right. Parents provide their children a religious worldview, a way to make sense of the world. However, SEL advocates would impress onto their students, our children, a Marxist worldview, regardless of the parents’ wishes. These educators are essentially evangelists, because Marxism is arguably a religion.[12]

Lens of equity

When considering situations in society, you use a “lens” to ignore masses of detail and focus on core concepts. There’s nothing wrong with using this sort of lens. For example, Christian parents want their children to look at life through the “lens of the Bible,” using wisdom and knowledge from the Bible to understand how to judge people and situations.

With SEL, using an “equity lens” means using equity, diversity, intersectionality, and “class consciousness” to give guidance to your judgments. CASEL insists that “SEL can be used to support injustice if not implemented with a lens of equity.”[13] This illustrates their commitment to an equity worldview.

The pro-parent organization Parents For America has this to say about lenses:

Illinois’ new professional development requirements now require teachers to be coached by equity consulting firms in order to learn how to teach from an intersectional lens.

The ultimate goal is to have children developing critical social-emotional learning proficiencies such as empathy, social consciousness, and recognition to eventually apply critical thinking skills to the environment around them on their own. The end goal is to have children question and analyze everything in their lives such as history, issues at school and outside of school (especially at home). Once a child develops these abilities (academic and social-emotional) they will always view their world and make decisions through the lens of critical race theory.[14]

Note that Illinois teachers are required to teach this lens of equity. Section 24.50 of the Standards for all Illinois Educators has The Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards. This requires teachers to “employ authentic and modern technology usage inspiring digital literacy through an equity lens.”[15]

SEL is Transformative SEL, which also is SEL

Originally SEL concerned itself with overcoming unruly behavior in inner-city classrooms. But since 2021 a new version, Transformative SEL, or TSEL, has advocated teaching students to be progressive social activists. According to CASEL’s SEL and Civic Learning:

TSEL is a form of SEL implementation toward the aim of concentrating SEL practice on transforming inequitable settings and systems and promoting justice-oriented civic engagement. One of its core features is enhancing and foregrounding social and emotional competencies needed for civic engagement and social change. These include reflecting on personal and social identities, examining prejudices and biases, interrogating social norms, disrupting and resisting inequities, and co-constructing equitable and just solutions.[16]

A “form of SEL” is still SEL. In fact, anything that CASEL says is SEL is OK with the Illinois Teaching Standards. That’s because, although the standards mandate using SEL, they don’t define what SEL means. And CASEL says that Transformative SEL is well and truly SEL. Note that outsourcing Illinois government responsibilities to private parties has become a habit.

A lot of CASEL language seems to speak of reforming schools, but the real target is to teach students to be disruptive activists. Criticizing SEL, New Discourses has this take on TSEL:

Transformative SEL is wholly (neo)-Marxist. Its primary agenda is, in fact, to use the five competency areas to raise and foster a critical consciousness through social and emotional education. This fact is unsurprising to all who understand that “transformative” is a term employed by all of the Dialectical Left, most notably including Marxists, to describe their goal of making the world and man into something suitable for Communism. Transformative SEL “social awareness” lessons are unabashedly rooted in neo-Marxist social Theories like Critical Race Theory, Gender Theory, Queer Theory, Postcolonial Theory, Fat Studies, and Disability Studies, and “Trans SEL” in that regard is a vehicle and coordinating hub for programming (literally, as in thought reform or brainwashing) into the perspectives of these Critical Theories. The goal of Transformative SEL is to program children to see their world through the lenses provided by those Critical Theories and train them to be “change agents” (that is, activists) on their behalf. Systemic Transformative SEL, which is what CASEL currently promotes, is designed to rearrange the entire school-related life of every child so that it reinforces this programming in a fully immersive way.[19]

SEL and class consciousness

With SEL your identity isn’t your personality, or your accomplishments, but rather the labels that can be applied to you, and what groups you think you belong to. SEL really wants students to identify with their racial and cultural backgrounds. Jagers, the CASEL VP of Research, connects identity and intersectionality to health and well being.

Identity is focal among self-awareness competencies and refers to how students (and adults) view themselves. Identity is multidimensional (e.g., race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, religion, values, interests, etc.), with each dimension having a level of importance and emotional tenor (positive/negative) that may change over time. These dimensions also intersect with each other (e.g., Latina teacher dedicated to a chronically under-resourced school, Indigenous transgender boy leading his school’s yearbook club). Having a healthy sense of identity is important developmentally across the lifespan because it buffers against negative or traumatic experiences (e.g., stereotype threat or discrimination) and contributes to positive academic, social, and emotional outcomes.[20]

To you or me these claims of identity seem be a curiosity, something that adds flavor to “the real you.” But SEL advocates claim that group identities are core to our society, central to our lives. Simmons, of LiberatED, insists that it is an evil thing, that it is “white privilege,” to ignore group identities.

Dena Simmons, the founder of LiberatED, an organization which aims to center racial social justice in social and emotional learning, says being able to talk about social-emotional learning without talking about identity is an example of white privilege.

“You can’t have those conversations without talking about identity … Social-emotional learning is so that people can get along better. We also have to talk about why people don’t get along,” Simmons says. “If we don’t apply an anti-racist, abolitionist, anti-oppressive, anti-bias lens to social-emotional learning, it can very easily turn into white supremacy with a hug.”[21]

Writing at The Inclusion Solution, Adrian Mack asserts that a color-blind society is a fiction. Rather, society must always be racial, all the time.

Identity blindness, including racial “color blindness,” harms marginalized and underrepresented groups by diminishing the very characteristics that are often central to their own sense of self.

Identity blindness is when one claims to not see different forms of identity, like race, gender, or sexual orientation, instead arguing that they simply strive to treat everyone the same.[22]

Being racial, all the time, and always using group identities, amounts to “class consciousness,” which is a Marxist concept:

In Marxism, class consciousness is the set of beliefs that a person holds regarding their social class or economic rank in society, the structure of their class, and their class interests. According to Karl Marx, it is an awareness that is key to sparking a revolution that would “create a dictatorship of the proletariat, transforming it from a wage-earning, property-less mass into the ruling class”.[23]

A person who acquires class consciousness thinks largely in terms of pleasing the group(s) he or she identifies with. For example, Karl Marx envisioned that the “working class” would organize to fight against the “rich” class. SEL advocates envision that the students will become social activists, fighting oppressions on behalf of their racial and ethnic groups.

The current U.S. educational context requires youth of color and other marginalized groups to cope with acculturative stress and ethnic/racial and class-based discrimination. The cultural and ERI aspects of self-awareness discussed above could provide more adaptive coping strategies by enabling youth to see acculturative pressures and discrimination as reflections of societal ills rather than as personal affronts. Instead of becoming emotion-focused and disengaged, students could become more focused on identifying situational or societal challenges and pursuing individual and collective solutions.[24]

Using an equity lens to find oppressions

Once the SEL graduate has become class conscious, that person will want to use a “lens of equity” on society to see if that person’s favorite group been oppressed. With equity, oppression isn’t defined by legal terms, but rather by “unequal outcomes.” Some statistics will inevitably be found that supports claims of oppression. In turn, this will lead to demands for remedies and restitution.

One example of an equity remedy is happening right now in California. Its State Assembly is passing a bill to use equity when sentencing convicted criminals. As black people were “historically disfranchised,” they’re to get lighter sentences.

The state Senate is now considering Assembly Bill 852, which would require judges to “consider the disparate impact on historically disenfranchised and system-impacted populations” when deciding prison sentences. Consistent with the view that statistical disparities are automatic evidence of a racist system, judges would be giving black convicts lighter punishments than white convicts for the same crimes.[25]

Does a statistically unequal outcome need a remedy? If you’ve pinned your hopes on equity then of course it does. Even if that unequal outcome results from applied diligence, someone will insist on trying to “fix” it. An example of equity run amok comes from columnist Joe Mathews. He says that because good parenting yields better-adjusted children, we must remove this unequal outcome by abolishing parenthood.

Fathers and mothers with greater wealth and education are more likely to transfer these advantages to their children, compounding privilege over generations. As a result, children of less advantaged parents face an uphill struggle, social mobility has stalled, and democracy has been corrupted.

My solution — making raising your own children illegal — is simple, and while we wait for the legislation to pass, we can act now: the rich and poor should trade kids, and homeowners might swap children with their homeless neighbors.

In his “Republic,” Plato adopted Socrates’ sage advice — that children “be possessed in common, so that no parent will know his own offspring or any child his parents” — in order to defeat nepotism, and create citizens loyal not to their sons but to society.

But don’t pay those critics any mind. Because they just can’t see how our relentless pursuit of equity might birth a brave new world.[26]

SEL graduates will try to remake the world, combining their class consciousness, their determination to seek equitable outcomes, and their foolish rejection of centuries of wisdom. SEL activists would consider that result as a win. To that end, Jagers has these words:

As a result, SEL work can be understood with regard to what ways it advances resistance to oppression and collective well-being for a range of disenfranchised groups.[27]

SEL will direct students’ emotions and spiritual growth

Social emotional learning (SEL) is promoted as improving student emotional behavior. The idea is that students learn to control themselves in class, pay attention to the teaching, and thus have a better school experience. Wikipedia describes how this emotional control is meant to work:

The implementation of SEL is shown to be statistically associated with improving the social dynamics of schools by decreasing physical aggression and reducing bullying of students with disabilities.

Proponents of SEL say it helps students to understand and control their emotions as well as learn to accept and understand the emotions of their classmates as they navigate through their educational careers. SEL is said to be important for teachers to understand and demonstrate in their classrooms in order to make the learning process more natural and easier to adjust to for students.[28]

Over time CASEL has expanded the scope of SEL, so that it now monitors and shapes each student’s emotional landscape. This gets done without regard to parents’ wishes, and without regard to the privacy of the massive amount of student personal and medical data they’re gathering.

For example, the Montgomery, AL school system does intensive data gathering on its students through the “Rhithm” smartphone app. What the students daily enter into it is seen by teachers, the school administrators, and of course the app’s makers. This app is being used by the schools as though they were licensed mental therapists.

Some parents fear a new app that gauges students’ day-to-day feelings being used in Montgomery Public Schools could trigger negative reactions from school officials against them.

The Rhithm app allows students to select emojis that correlate with how they are feeling, and is part of Montgomery Public Schools’ growing emphasis on social and emotional learning, according to Dr. Catherliene Williamson, Associate Superintendent of Montgomery Public Schools.

Some parents had raised concerns about school reactions to the input by students. For instance, if a student consistently selects the emoji that they are hungry, then the schools might try and intervene with protective services.

The Rhithm app used to have data available for purchase, but now they work with school districts, explained Williamson. Now, all data from the Rhithm app is housed internally by the Montgomery Public Schools system.

At present, Montgomery Public Schools does not have a protocol that would destroy the data after a certain number of years, but Williamson explained that the data from the app would likely not follow the students from one grade level to the next.[29]

Note that the school district restricted data access only after parent complaints. Schools just don’t get data security, or are being paid to let this data leak. The pro-parent site Center for Renewing America accuses SEL schools of routinely collecting huge quantities of student mental health data and sharing it with third-party firms.

Many school districts have implemented SEL with various grants such as the Lilly Endowment Comprehensive Counseling Initiative in Indiana which requires the collection of SEL-related data in exchange for funding. SEL programs and CASEL also highly encourage the use of assessments to measure and advance student progress. When schools adopt a SEL program, most begin collecting massive amounts of mental health data on children through mental health surveys created and interpreted by third-party, for-profit firms such as Panorama Education.

This data is interpreted through an “equity lens,” meaning the results are interpreted through the critical race theory viewpoint and usually indicate a need for a “fix” to some assumed systemic oppression within the school system. For example, if a school receives data from a survey showing thirty percent of the students do not feel like they belong at school, the school may respond by starting gender identity clubs. The data collected follows the children and can be displayed through dashboards to set goals for individual student improvement.[30]

SEL advocates are even trying to manipulate the students’ spiritual lives. The Federalist reports on the “What Makes Me” supplement to SEL programs.

Recently, there has been an influx of SEL programs in the market that incorporate spirituality into their lessons. The Fetzer Institute, along with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Dr. Lisa Miller from Columbia’s Teachers College, launched the Collaborative for Spirituality in Education. Fetzer’s support of research on the spiritual aspects of childhood development led to the social-emotional learning program, “What Makes Me: Core Capacities for Living and Learning.”

“What Makes Me” seeks to teach spirituality through SEL as “a more active and engaged process in which some persons choose to shape and create a way of knowing and living that may or may not draw on religion” and as something that involves the conscious choice to explore life’s “big questions.”

SEL programs such as these meet the federal government’s definition of a religion, which is a “comprehensive belief system that addresses the fundamental questions of human existence, such as the meaning of life and death, man’s role in the universe, and the nature of good and evil, and that gives rise to duties of conscience.”[31]

Note that the Fetzer Institute is a friend of CASEL, and CASEL makes frequent changes to its definition of SEL. It should surprise nobody if guiding a student’s spirituality becomes a core part of CASEL.

Perhaps the biggest unasked questions are:

  • Why is it the schools’ scope and responsibility to manage student emotions?
  • Why do schools think that they’re in the mental therapy business? After all, they’re only schools and not medical facilities. If the school has issues, then it should refer them to the parents.

SEL wants teachers to become replacement parents

SEL advocates go on at length about how SEL will team with parents, bringing school success for all.

The pandemic has raised our awareness of the various places and ways in which learning happens—the developmental ecosystem for children, adolescents, and adults. CASEL has long asserted that family-school-community partnerships are essential to realizing the potential of systemic SEL. With our revisions and transformative SEL, we now separate families from communities as distinct contexts for SEL. This provides for a more focused and nuanced approach to our work in the family context. Families play an integral role in the social, emotional, and academic development of children and youth and are essential to creating, informing, and sustaining educational equity initiatives—including transformative SEL. Parents and other primary caregivers value the development of these life skills and view the home as the first place SEL occurs. However, it is clear that most families of color require modifications in the learning environments typically provided by districts and schools.

The family context can function as a safe and open environment where children and youth can be themselves while practicing social and emotional norms, cues, and skills needed to effectively navigate and contribute to a range of social interactions and settings. As such, the ways in which families socialize children and youth about emotions (i.e., their messaging and modeling) often intersect with racial pride. In fact, one question we are exploring is the heightened importance of civic activism socialization in fostering transformative SEL as young people develop.

Fostering more authentic family-school partnerships is a priority in our collaboration with districts, schools, and practitioners. We anchored this work in a framework that outlines the need for family-school partnerships to surface challenges, establish essential conditions (organizational and procedural), and pursue policy and program goals that foster capabilities (skills and knowledge), connections (networks), cognitions (shifts in beliefs and values), and confidence (self-efficacy). The model views this as a recipe for dual capacity building for authentic partnering and constructive collaboration.[32]

However, they really only want the parents to be lapdogs. Parents are meant to agree with school policies, yield their parental oversight to school personnel, and agree to repeat to their children those SEL lessons from school. Jagers, that VP at CASEL, thinks of parents merely as the “first teachers.”

As children’s first teachers, families bring deep expertise about their lived experiences, their culture, and the issues they care about.[33]

According to CASEL’s Develop and Strengthen Family and Community Partnerships, the parents role is to model at home what the schools are teaching. The parents become outsiders in the growth of their own children.

Family and community partners are situated to model, reinforce, and sustain SEL. When young people see peers and adults outside of school modeling the same social and emotional skills they are learning about and practicing in the classroom, these skills become more than just the answer to a teacher’s question. They see social and emotional skills as central to the way they process events and interact in the world.[34]

If schools using SEL want to work with parents then why is this ‘exposure’ requirement in Section 24.50 of the Standards for all Illinois Educators has The Illinois Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards?

Self-Awareness and Relationships to Others – Culturally responsive teachers and leaders are reflective and gain a deeper understanding of themselves and how they impact others, leading to more cohesive and productive student development as it relates to academic and social-emotional development for all students. The culturally responsive teacher and leader will:

4) Include representative, familiar content in the curriculum to legitimize students’ backgrounds, while also exposing them to new ideas and worldviews different from their own.[35]

Point 4 is how those “drag queen shows” get into schools. They expose students to new ideas invented by the teaching staff. But if teachers really wanted to involve the parents then why are these activities, these exposures, hidden from the parents?

Who are the True Parents?

This parent / teacher contention is part of the fight for your own children. Who controls the child’s education? Who are the true parents? All of history has said “the parent themselves, of course.” But modern school advocates see things differently.

  • James Dwyer specializes in anti-parent research. In his article Parents’ Religion and Children’s Welfare: Debunking the Doctrine of Parents’ Rights he proposes abolishing parental rights.

“Through this analysis, it becomes apparent that the claim that parents should have child-rearing rights – rather than simply being permitted to perform parental duties and to make certain decisions on a child’s behalf in accordance with the child’s rights – is inconsistent with principles deeply embedded in our law and morality.

I propose further that the law confer on parents simply a child-rearing privilege, limited in its scope to actions and decisions not inconsistent with the child’s temporal interests. Such a privilege, coupled with a broader set of children’s rights, is sufficient to satisfy parents’ legitimate interests in child-rearing.”[39]

  • Elizabeth Bartholet is one of Dwyer’s associates. In her article Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection she insists that it is child neglect not to give a child a libertine education.

“This legal claim is inconsistent with the child’s right to what has been called an “open future”—the right to exposure to alternative views and experiences essential for children to grow up to exercise meaningful choices about their own future views, religion, lifestyles, and work.

It is inconsistent with state laws and constitutional provisions guaranteeing child rights to education. It is inconsistent with state and federal laws guaranteeing children protection against abuse and neglect.” (p. 6)[40]

The socialist blog Destroy Capitalism Now, the author Meghany comfortably agrees with Dwyer and Bartholet, saying:

Today, the main backwards role the family plays is the oppression of children, who are subjected to a tyranny of the parents and denied the basic rights which should belong to every human, most importantly the right of free development of the personality.[41]

Dwyer, Bartholet and Meghany are each channeling Karl Marx. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx wrote this about parenting:

Abolition [Aufhebung] of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.

On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.

The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.

The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.[42]

We see this anti-parent attitude in teachers, and in their political allies. Remember in the 2022 political campaigns when Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe said:

I’m not going to let parents come into schools and actually take books out and make their own decisions … I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.[43]

Even apart from SEL, we see the claim that parenting is obsolete. When schools hide things from the parents, they assert that children are state property. They’re certainly acting out their beliefs.


We see that what SEL delivers is bad. What to do about it? There’s education, of course. But there also must be political campaigning. Not just asking friendly candidates to repeal pro-SEL laws. You ought to also see hostile candidates, and to attend school board meetings. Ask them to repeal the SEL teaching requirements. Ask them to un-implement SEL. Tell them that they’re teaching students to be racists, to be Marxists. Embarrass people into “doing the right thing.”

There are three articles on SEL

I’ve written three articles on stopping SEL in schools. There’s utility to using them in reaching friends and enemies. You’re free to use the articles, just don’t edit them.

  • An article with anti-SEL bullet points

This article has four arguments for eliminating SEL. Each argument can be printed on both sides of a single sheet of paper. The front side has bullet point criticisms, while the back page supports the criticism with quotes, generally taken from SEL proponents.

  • A one page summary of SEL criticisms

This article contains the same four arguments as the “bullet points” article, but condensed. If printed double-sided it will fit onto a single sheet of paper.

  • A deep background article

The article you’re reading is an expanded argument for removing SEL from schools. It full of quotes, mostly from SEL advocates themselves. It uses their own words to show how SEL corrupts students and society.


  1. Administrative Code, Section 24.50, Illinois General Assembly,

  2. SEL as a Lever for Equity and Social Justice, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning,

    Niemi’s remarks can be found at about the 0:00 mark of the presentation.

  3. Advocating for a More Just and Peaceful World, Committee for Children,

  4. Kendi, Ibram, How to Be an Antiracist, Sawyer Hollenshead’s “What I’ve Been Reading” blog,

  5. Read Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in its entirety, National Public Radio, January 16, 2023,

  6. Cathcart, William, Equity Over Equality: Critical Race Theory (CRT), Freedom’s Forge America, May 8, 2021,

  7. Sowell, Thomas, Goodreads,

  8. SEL as a Lever for Equity and Social Justice, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

  9. Ibid.

    Jagers’ remarks can be found at about the 12:10 mark of the the presentation.

  10. Anderson, Meg, How social-emotional learning became a frontline in the battle against CRT, National Public Radio, September 26, 2022,

  11. Jagers, Robert, Framing Social and Emotional Learning among African-American Youth: Toward an Integrity-Based Approach, Karger, August 9, 2016,

  12. Perry, Oliver, Socialism is also a religion, Fix This Culture blog, May 31, 2019,

  13. SEL as a Lever for Equity and Social Justice, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning

    The remarks can be found at about the 41:00 mark of the presentation.

  14. Burman, Petrina, How and When Critical Race Theory Infected Social Emotional Learning & Culturally Responsive Teaching, Parents For America, November 9, 2021,

  15. Administrative Code, Section 24.50, Illinois General Assembly

  16. SEL and Civic Learning, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning,

  17. Cullotta, Karen Ann, Illinois sex ed law puts school districts in center of latest battleground in education culture wars, Chicago Tribune, August 28, 2022,

  18. Announcement of HB 2789 passing, Illinois Secretary of State, May 3, 2023,

    Note that the Governor signed this bill into law.

  19. Lindsay, James, Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), New Discourses, September 9, 2022,

  20. Jagers, Robert, Skoog-Hoffman, Alexandra, Barthelus, Bloodline, Schlund, Justina, Transformative Social and Emotional Learning, American Federation of Teachers, Summer 2021,

  21. Anderson, Meg, How social-emotional learning became a frontline in the battle against CRT, National Public Radio, September 26, 2022

  22. Mack, Adrian, A Point of View: Social Emotional Learning and DEI Work, The Inclusion Solution, May 21, 2020,

  23. Class consciousness, Wikipedia,

  24. Equity & Social and Emotional Learning: A Cultural Analysis, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning,

  25. Crozier, Hudson, California bill would require racial bias in prison sentencing, Washington Examiner, July 14, 2023,

  26. Mathews, Joe, JOE MATHEWS: California should abolish parenthood, in the name of equity, The Bakersfield Californian, January 16, 2022,

  27. Jagers, Robert, Framing Social and Emotional Learning among African-American Youth: Toward an Integrity-Based Approach, Karger, August 9, 2016

  28. Social-emotional learning, Wikipedia,

  29. Stephenson, Jemma, Some Montgomery school parents feel Rhithm app may violate their rights, privacy of children, Montgomery Advertiser, February 24, 2022,

  30. McWilliams, Jennifer, Primer: Social Emotional Learning–the Delivery Mechanism for Critical Race Theory, Center for Renewing America, March 2, 2022,

  31. Logan, Lisa, Leftists Violate Separation Of Church And State With ‘Spiritual’ SEL In Public Schools, The Federalist, April 7, 2023,

  32. Jagers, Robert, Skoog-Hoffman, Alexandra, Barthelus, Bloodline, Schlund, Justina, Transformative Social and Emotional Learning, American Federation of Teachers, Summer 2021

  33. Advancing Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) as a Lever for Equity and Excellence, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning,

  34. Develop and Strengthen Family and Community Partnerships, Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning,

  35. Administrative Code, Section 24.50, Illinois General Assembly

  36. Brown, Lincoln, Everything’s Legal Until You Get Caught: Teachers Hold Online Meeting About Quietly Training Kids, PJ Media, June 19, 2023,

  37. McCaughey, Betsy, Why schools won’t tell parents what their kids are being taught, New York Post, September 6, 2022,

  38. LaChance, Mike, Ohio School District Spent $24K on Trainings About How to Hide Gender Transition of Kids, Legal Insurrection, July 13, 2023,

  39. Dwyer, James, Parents’ Religion and Children’s Welfare: Debunking the Doctrine of Parents’ Rights, page 1373, William & Mary Law School Scholarship Repository, Faculty Publications, January 1994,

  40. Bartholet, Elizabeth, Homeschooling: Parent Rights Absolutism vs. Child Rights to Education & Protection, Arizona Law Review, Volume 62, Issue 1 [2020],

  41. Meghany, The communist abolition of the family, Destroy Capitalism Now! blog, March 26, 2017,

  42. Marx, Karl, Communist Manifesto, Marx & Engels Library, February 1848,

  43. Terry McAuliffe’s War on Parents, National Review, October 1, 2021,