Policy and Funding Support

Policy and Funding

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Federal policy in the United States plays a key role in creating conditions that support statewide and implementation of SEL so all students can benefit. It provides an important opportunity to elevate SEL as a state priority.

CASEL recommends that states leverage federal policies and funding, like the American Rescue Plan, to invest in and sustain SEL. The resources below can help.

Resources from CASEL

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Feel free to download, customize, and use with attribution, e.g., “Adapted from the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning and used with permission.”

  • SEL Policy at the Federal Level. The federal policy page of the CASEL website outlines where key federal policy issues, like ESSA or proposed federal legislation, intersect with social and emotional learning. You can use this if you are interested in opportunities to expand and support SEL through federal policy. Visit the webpage.
  • Building Connections: American Rescue Plan Act + Funding Social and Emotional Learning. CASEL is joined by the Delaware Department of Education, Dallas Independent School District, and United Way of Delaware to discuss how to leverage the American Rescue Plan Act funds to bolster evidence-based implementation of SEL and fully support students, families, and educators. (May 2021). View the webinar (via YouTube).
  • The Three Highest Priority Investments to Make in SEL with American Rescue Plan Dollars. The policy brief covers three recommendations for where investments of ARP dollars could most effectively bolster systemic implementation of SEL, aimed at district leaders, as well as local and state policymakers. (April 2021). Download the PDF.
  • How State Planning for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Can Promote Student Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. Although the report outlines state plans before they were finalized in 2018, the report describes five key ways state ESSA plans are advancing SEL. (April 2017). Download the PDF.

Resources from External Organizations

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  • State laws promoting social, emotional, and academic development leave room for improvement. Child Trends. An overview of the policies in all 50 states that address SEL, SEL in health education, cultural competency, trauma-informed practices, and mental/emotional health curriculum. (January 2019). Access the report.
  • State Policies on School Discipline. Education Commission of the States. The webpage profiles policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. (August 2018). Access the webpage.
  • Supporting SEL with Evidence-Based Programs. Annie E. Casey Foundation. This report provides examples of districts that have successfully funded SEL and can be used as a starting point for thinking about how to fund SEL initiatives. (April 2018). Download the PDF.
  • Advancing Equity through ESSA: Strategies for State Leaders. Aspen Institute and Council of Chief State School Officers. A discussion of how ESSA promotes equity in eight key areas and offers recommendations on closing funding gaps. The report is important for state education agencies that want to employ ESSA to accomplish multiple initiatives. (October 2016) Download the PDF.
  • ESSA Implementation Resources for Educators. ASCD. Although not specific to SEL, it offers a discussion of how ESSA connects with school health programs in terms of consolidation and funding. Download the PDF.
  • Making the Most of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Education First. A slide deck that provides information on the key changes between ESSA and NCLB and offers recommendations on designing innovative ESSA plans. Download the presentation.

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