Overheated Rhetoric

Submitted By:
Jonathan Gold, Moses Brown School, Providence, RI

"How social-emotional learning became a frontline in the battle against CRT" by Meg Anderson
All Things Considered, National Public Radio, September 26, 2022

This article, which also aired as a story on NPR's All Things Considered, is a probing deep dive into the politicization of social-emotional learning and curriculum. As the scrutiny and pushback intensify, it's vital that educators understand the playbook and agenda of those questioning any aspect of schools' work and curriculum, including social-emotional learning's emergence "as the latest lightning rod in the battles over what gets taught in schools nationwide." The article provides a helpful context and history for SEL work in schools, explaining what SEL actually is in contrast to the caricature often presented in media coverage, and details how activists have sought to connect SEL with DEI efforts as part of a larger critique of curricular programming. The article connects this agenda to larger efforts to undermine schools' focus on identity, noting that "the fear that teachers are trying to brainwash or indoctrinate children has been around for a while." Importantly, the article also spotlights the effects of overheated rhetoric and activism on teachers and practitioners. A sobering, essential read, this article will provide essential context for the intensifying culture war discourse around schools, SEL, and curriculum.

Social-Emotional Learning
Current Events & Civic Engagement