Over at Mad Genius Club this morning, I consider proposals to "establish social and emotional learning as a priority in education". I find them rather frightening, to put it mildly. Here's an excerpt from that article.
My problem is this. It looks very much as if CASEL is trying to “homogenize” our youth, teaching them the One True Way to deal with life issues, and inculcating a standard set of responses that ignore individuality and “program” them to deal with life, the universe and everything according to whatever approach is politically correct at the moment. (Read more about it at their Web site.) The problem is, that approach can change as easily as the prevailing winds. Once the structures are in place to impose a standard, or set of standards, then those standards can be replaced with others at the drop of a hat, and the same structures can then be used to “implant” them in our young people. There’s nothing to stop that happening.
Speaking as a writer, that’s frightening. It’s Orwell’s “Big Brother” writ large upon our younger population. We’re actually willingly sending them into a system that openly acknowledges it intends to indoctrinate them, and paying for that system with our tax dollars. Are we, in the process, funding and encouraging the demise of free thought, and the end of the inquiring mind? Are we accepting that people can and should be programmed like computers? And what does that say for the future of writing and books? Will it be restricted to products that conform to the system – not necessarily through editorial fiat, but because our potential readership has been programmed to reject anything else?
There's more at the link.
Since Mad Genius Club is a shared writers' blog, I contribute there from that perspective; but the problem is a much wider one. Click over there, read the information provided, and ask yourself what signs you're seeing of this in your own environment. More and more, I think our schools are indeed laboratories for "establish(ing) social and emotional learning as a priority in education". Is that a contributing factor to the number of school shootings, and/or the number of mass shooters in society in general? I rather fear it may be. If outliers don't, or can't, or won't conform to the standards being imposed upon them at school, some sort of explosion may be inevitable. On the other hand, I concede:
Of course, there's also the opposite point of view. If families are no longer providing an environment in which to raise children inculcated with moral and ethical norms and values, is it not the school's responsibility to try to provide some sort of behavioral framework? I'd argue that it isn't, but others would then ask who's going to do so if the school does not. It's a valid point, and one to which I don't have an answer right now.
Discuss among yourselves.