Making the Case for SEL

The powerful combination of support and evidence make a strong case for SEL.

The vast majority of students, educators, and families agree: Social and emotional learning (SEL) belongs in schools. Multiple independent surveys show that people across backgrounds and experiences understand the value of an education that promotes the social, emotional, and academic development of young people. 

If your community does not yet prioritize SEL, you can make a strong case for SEL by sharing the evidence and the perspectives of important stakeholders: parents, educators, students, and more. Use the material below to advocate for high-quality SEL on social media, websites, presentations, and other digital materials. 

If you care about kids and if you care about academic achievement, if you care about outcomes in life, SEL is the way to get there.

Looking for messaging support and ways to take action?

Despite the strong evidence and support for SEL, there have been some political attempts to ban SEL. Don’t let politics get in the way of our children’s education and future.

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Key Messages: Explaining SEL

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More than ever, SEL is critical to supporting the academic recovery, mental well-being, and safety of all young people. In addition to sharing the definition and framework [link] for SEL, here are three core messages to highlight when explaining SEL.  

  • SEL is for everyone. SEL develops skills that help us be successful in all parts of our lives—like communicating effectively, setting goals, staying motivated, and making decisions that benefit ourselves and others. With these skills, we can build healthy relationships, succeed in schools and workplaces, and contribute to our communities.
  • SEL is based in science. Hundreds of independent studies show that SEL leads to better academic performance, improved well-being, and safer schools. It creates positive school environments where children learn the skills they need to succeed in school and in their futures.
  • SEL brings families, schools, and communities together. The way SEL is implemented in schools and which skills are emphasized are driven by partnerships between families and schools and tailored to the local community’s priorities, cultures, and needs.

Surveys: Broad Support for SEL

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Parents and caregivers support SEL … 

  • 93% of parents say it’s at least somewhat important that schools teach SEL, including two-thirds that say SEL is extremely or very important to them. Pew Research Center, 2022
  • 88% want schools to teach students social and emotional skills like respect, cooperation, perseverance, and empathy. National PTA, 2022
  • 81% want their children’s school to continue teaching SEL or do more on SEL. Benenson Strategy Group, 2022
  • More than 75% of both Democrats and Republicans say that learning life skills and social skills at school is just as important as learning academics. Fordham Institute, 2021

Real Stories, Real Families: Listen to an audio series featuring parents talking about the benefits of SEL in their own words. 

Educators support SEL … 

  • 90% of teachers agree that promoting SEL improves students’ academic achievement. RAND, 2020
  • 84% of teachers say it has a positive impact on skills such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Education Week, 2022 
  • 96% of school administrators believe that SEL is just as important as academic learning. McGraw Hill, 2018
  • 95% of principals are committed to developing students’ social and emotional skills in their school. CASEL, 2019 

Superintendents nationwide talk about the value of SEL in their communities. 

Employers support SEL … 

  • 92% of surveyed executives say skills such as problem-solving and communicating clearly are equally or more important than technical skills. Wall Street Journal, 2016 
  • 80% of employers said social and emotional skills are increasingly important to company success. LinkedIn Global Talent Trends, 2019
  • 51% of surveyed human resources professionals say education systems have done little or nothing to help address the skills shortage: problem-solving, critical thinking, innovation, communication. Society for Human Resource Management, 2019

Young people support SEL … 

  • 76% of high school students say they want a school that prioritizes SEL. CASEL, 2018
  • 75% of high school students say SEL would help them personally. CASEL, 2018
  • High school students and recent graduates see the benefits of attending schools that emphasize SEL. But most believe their schools could have done better. CASEL, 2018

Spread the Word: Shareable Graphics

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Help us make the case for a quality education with SEL. Download the graphics below and feel free to tag us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook. (@caselorg)

Select a topic below to download the infographic:

Additional Resources

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  • Implement SEL in your district. Use CASEL’s District Resource Center to find research, knowledge, and resources curated from school systems across the U.S. to support high-quality, systemic implementation of SEL. Visit the website.
  • Implement SEL in your school. Use the CASEL Guide to Schoolwide Social and Emotional Learning to help students excel academically, build stronger relationships, and lead happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives. Visit the website.
  • Select an evidence-based program. The CASEL Guide to SEL Programs is designed to help educators and school administrators select an evidence-based SEL program that best meets the needs of their community. Visit the website.
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