Bipartisan legislation supporting students’ development through social and emotional learning has been introduced to the 112th Congress by Representatives Judy Biggert (R‐IL), Dale E. Kildee (D‐MI), and Tim Ryan (D‐OH).
The Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2011, HR 2437 will expand the availability of programs that teach students skills such as problem‐solving, conflict resolution, responsible decision-making, relationship building, goal‐setting, and self discipline.
“This legislation will help teachers provide result-driven instruction in skills that keep children focused on learning and prepare them to succeed in the real world,” says Representative Judy Biggert, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. (Bill Summary via Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning) (Full Text of H.R. 2347 on GovTrack.com)
Again, our hearts break as the story unfolds of another act of violence in schools. Equally as heartbreaking is that it takes a tragedy as deep as a school shooting to bring the dialogue on safety and wellness in schools to the forefront of mainstream media, which, as we know, dominates so many peoples' thinking.
Fortunately, the conversation on wellbeing in schools has grown rich in several arenas of education including the social and emotional learning movement and the school yoga and mindfulness movement. At the heart of these interconnected movements is the knowledge that well being is not only essential to learning, it is essential to safety. Kids who are stressed beyond belief by a world in turmoil and pressured to perform in rigid school environments are bound to snap. Unfortunately, it's not only the kids who commit extreme acts of violence that are hurting deeply.
The victims of the recent shooting in Ohio, have a message that must be heard by each and every parent, teacher, administrator and tax payer:
- STOP ignoring the cries of children and teens all over the nation who are suffering in a broken educational system.
- STOP piling on the homework and the demands.
- STOP standardizing education at the cost of students and teachers creativity.
- STOP putting outcomes over sanity.
- For schools to become healthy and thrive, the individuals must be respected and honored.
- START listening to the voices of our youth that so clearly articulate the need for social and emotional support.
- START including children's hearts in education.
- START dialogues within communities about the real purpose of education.
- START putting the pressure on legislators to respond to research that shows the benefit of social and emotional learning programs.