SEL and the Future of Our Democracy 

August 10, 2022
Mark T. Greenberg
Board Member Emertius, CASEL
Emeritus Professor, Penn State University
Tyrone Martinez Black
Practice Integration Specialist
Collaborative for Academic Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL)
SEL and the Future of Our Democracy 

Parents want their children and youth to learn the skills to pursue successful work, life, liberty, and happiness. This is social and emotional learning (SEL). 

Employers and post-secondary education want youth to be able to work collaboratively in groups and be curious and creative in problem-solving in order to form a more perfect union. This is social and emotional learning. 

A democracy requires informed and engaged citizens. To do that we need to learn to listen to others, understand diverse opinions and cultures, build healthy relationships with peers and families, and care about others, promoting our general welfare. This is social and emotional learning. 

Every child deserves to have rich instructional opportunities that promote social, emotional, and academic skills and learning environments that are supportive, culturally responsive, and focused on building relationships and community. This is social and emotional learning. 

The most important needs children have are to belong to a healthy, caring family and have friends whom they have fun with and who care about them. This is social and emotional learning. 

We imagine communities in which all young people—across race, ethnicity, family income levels, learning abilities, home language, immigration status, gender identity, sexual orientation, and other factors—have the skills, relationships, and environments to thrive. 

This is social and emotional learning. 

We want a society that reduces inequities, ensures domestic tranquility, and establishes justice where every member is secure in the blessings of liberty.  

We want these conditions for ourselves and our posterity.  

If we are all indeed created equal and endowed with unalienable rights, our self- and social awareness, or self-management and relationship skills, and the responsibilities embedded in our decisions reflect our ongoing enterprise to achieve the civic society promised in the founding of the nation. This is social and emotional learning. 


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