DeSantis administration’s war on ‘woke’ targets SEL in Florida

Xavier Roger


  • In what’s been described as an intimidation tactic, Florida’s education department recently surveyed every school district about its use of materials for social-emotional learning and related lessons.
  • A USA TODAY review of responses indicates some districts are already starting to phase out materials designed to develop kids’ personal and relationship skills.
  • Educators say the need for these skills has never been greater, given record-high rates of depression, anxiety and loneliness among today’s young people.

Earlier this year, the School District of Palm Beach County in Florida quietly stopped using the phrase “social-emotional learning,” or SEL.

The educational model – which teaches skills such as self-awareness, empathy and resilience – has over the past couple of years become linked to critical race theory by conservatives who accuse schools of “woke indoctrination.” 

Palm Beach County schools, according to a document submitted to the state in February and obtained by USA TODAY, now call that model “skills for learning and life.” Recently updated resources reflect the change in verbiage, as does the district’s website

This pivot away from the phrase SEL may seem superficial, inevitable rebranding given the culture wars over how and what schools teach kids about race and identity. But the district has made other changes, too. It recently pulled out of a national research partnership focused on SEL in schools, for example, and reduced its emphasis on certain resources. 


Source link

Leave a comment