Social-emotional learning (SEL) has been billed as a transformational tool that will propel students to greater academic achievement and personal fulfillment. Unfortunately, the research evidence to back up these claims is thin and unpersuasive. Moreover, the risks SEL poses to student privacy and health are significant.
About Jane Robbins
Jane Robbins is an attorney and Senior Fellow at the American Principles Project. She earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She has written extensively about the deficiencies of progressive education and the Common Core, and about threats to student and family privacy posed by government policies such as training students with technology rather than educating them with teachers. She has testified about these issues before the legislatures of 11 states.
The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education should reject a proposed rewrite of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework in its entirety and immediately restore the state’s 2003 framework, considered among the strongest in the country, according to a new research paper titled, No Longer a City on a Hill: Massachusetts Degrades Its K-12 U.S. History Standards, published by Pioneer Institute.
This public statement addresses the draft of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework that was released for public comment in January. The authors argue that the new standards would follow in the footsteps of recently adopted English, math, and science standards by representing a decline in content and coherence compared to their predecessors.
The 2017 update of Massachusetts’ English and math K-12 academic standards represents further deterioration in English, while the math standards are essentially unchanged from the 2010 version, according to the first independent evaluation of the newly revised standards. The 2010 standards, which were based on Common Core, led to declining scores on national tests in both English and math.
The workforce-preparation focus of the K-12 English and math standards known as Common Core puts them at odds with Catholic education, and the standards should not be adopted by parochial schools. In “After the Fall: Catholic Education Beyond the Common Core,” authors Anthony Esolen, Dan Guernsey, Jane Robbins, and Kevin Ryan argue that the national standards’ unrelenting focus on skills that transfer directly to the modern work world conflicts with Catholic schools’ academic, spiritual, and moral mission.
The era of “Big Data” has overtaken the field of education. New technology promises to transform education, facilitating previously unimagined learning opportunities and, from a purely administrative standpoint, allowing educators to complete in seconds what used to consume laborious hours.
The pressure exerted by the Department for the states to fall in line on Common Core was enormous. The Department dangled Race to the Top funding during a time of economic crisis, when forecasters were warning of impending economic cataclysm. And the Department demanded action immediately.