Talk of the Hill: ESEA Reauthorization Should Support Social and Emotional Learning

Yesterday, the Conditions for Learning Coalition hosted a briefing on the well-being of children in schools titled, “Social and Emotional Learning: Essential Skills for School Safety, Positive Behavior and Higher Student Achievement.” Education and research experts responded to the issues of bullying, school violence, and other behavioral and psychological issues plaguing children by advocating for more social emotional learning (SEL) programs in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) reauthorization. SEL programs are designed to drive the intellectual, social, and emotional development of students; helping them to manage their emotions, focus their attention, follow instructions, and avoid risky behaviors.

A panel discussion was led by Steve Zimmer, a member of Los Angeles Unified School District’s School Board, Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D., at the University of Illinois, Lori Vollandt, Ed.D, of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Michael Searcy, with Detroit Public Schools, and, Joan Duffell,  Executive Director of Committee for Children. Evidence-based research presented at the briefing has shown that SEL programs such as the Second Step program and the Steps to Respect program can reduce bullying and other risky and violent behaviors of students by 30 percent, and increase the social and emotional competence of vulnerable children.

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