On September 15, U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona’s issued a letter to Chief State School Officers regarding the allocation of $1 billion in funding under the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) to school districts that demonstrate a commitment to evidence-based strategies that meet students’ social and emotional well-being.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) applauds Secretary Cardona’s three key recommendations for states: 1) implementing evidence-based strategies that meet students’ social, emotional, physical, and mental well-being needs; 2) engaging students, families, educators, staff, and community organizations; and 3) designing and implementing policies that advance equity. This announcement comes after CASEL sent a letter encouraging the Department of Education to use social and emotional learning as an evidence-based strategy to promote school safety.
Statement from CASEL’s President and CEO, Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel:
“Decades of research has demonstrated how evidence-based, universal social and emotional learning can promote academic achievement, social and emotional skills, healthy behaviors, and lifelong outcomes in students. We’re encouraged to see this action by the Department of Education.”
CASEL recommends the following resources and activities for implementation of high-quality, evidence-based social and emotional learning, in keeping with the Secretary’s letter.
- Implementing evidence-based strategies that meet students’ social, emotional, physical, and mental well-being needs: CASEL encourages the use of the CASEL’s SEL Guide to Programs, designed to help educators and school administrators select an evidence-based SEL curriculum that best meets the needs of their community.
- Engaging students, families, educators, staff, and community organizations: CASEL encourages states to prioritize LEAs that develop and strengthen family and youth partnerships through policies, systems, and supports. CASEL’s State Theory of Action, District Resource Center, and Guide to Schoolwide SEL are resources that can be support local communities efforts to authentically engage with parents and caregivers.
- Designing and implementing policies that advance equity: Recognizing that students and families may experience school safety and discipline policies in different ways, particularly within high needs communities, states should consider prioritizing funding for SEL in support of authentic community engagement and as a lever for equity. Promoting equity through SEL fosters success for all students in school, in the workplace, in relationships and in civic life.