LatestWhy is Social Emotional Learning Not Pioneering the Public Education System?

What is the intention behind not making it a priority to incorporate social emotional curriculum in free, public institutions?

If social emotional skills are essential to child development and strengthening one’s ability to foster healthy relationships, not only with others, but with self, then why is it not a necessary component in K-12 education? The most important stage of a person’s life, as it is when our brains are most malleable.

I personally have never known anyone who had the necessary support to develop these skills to result in the statistics set out for Black youth–especially Black men. Acts of violence are just a result of improperly addressed pain. As is drug addiction, and any other method of self-destruction. It is an attempt to cope with pain. And on the flipside, promiscuity, which is a trauma response to sexual abuse… Mental illness, which also stems from trauma. All of these outcomes have in common the result of improperly managed pain, as well. 

And I don’t mean improperly as “wrong.” For many, they truly believe they are doing what’s right to cope with, and aid their pain. I say improperly as a means to say, maybe, if one had learned how to go deep inside those painful places without being overcome by ill feelings, and could reflect and heal through compassion and self love, the outcome may be a different result.

The reason I ask the question of why isn’t social emotional learning a priority in free, public institutions is because the American economy, unfortunately, is heavily influenced by status and race. Could it be that social emotional learning in public education is left to the parents who can afford these services independently to fuel the superior-inferior complex here in America? What demographic would this likely do a service? And what demographic would this likely do a disservice? 

There are three scenarios I can think of that would ensure one’s ability to provide their child social emotional learning skills. Having the leisure time to spend with your child to teach them these skills directly. Going to a school that prioritizes these skills. Paying for private education within these skills. If a child lives in a single-parent home, has no leisure time to homeschool their kids, their school doesn’t prioritize social emotional learning, and they don’t have the means to pay for private education that offer these skills, their child will miss out on a vital character building opportunity. And many people in these kinds of circumstances rely heavily on their child’s school as a crucial support system. But are children really being supported if they are never taught how to love,  trust and believe, or how to heal themselves?

I believe these young children who are scrutinized for their anger but not their joy, aren’t given the support to be a human with emotions who may just not know how to manage them yet. I don’t believe in “bad” children. I believe “bad” children are just children expressing their emotions in ways that are not always best, but feel best to them. And unless this child, in this case, is offered the resources to strengthen their personal, social skills, we cannot expect them to be “better.” 

I feel we are at a time where the old public education system isn’t doing so well. Punishing children for lack of social emotional skills no longer works. Nor does putting them out in the “real world” without personal skills, and expecting them to excel. There is no education better than that of self, of life, and love. If social emotional learning was prioritized in public K-12 education, would you be the same?


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