Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has released a video exposing how leftist government school administrators are using “social and emotional learning” (SEL) programs to indoctrinate children with critical race theory. The program, disguised as a mental health initiative, is being injected into classrooms nationwide by the nonprofit Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), in partnership with school districts.
The video showcases how SEL is explicitly designed to advance the tenets of critical race theory, a notion that race is important in determining social and economic outcomes. It also highlights how some school districts use SEL to promote equity and anti-racism.
TRUTH 👇 https://t.co/sjivdHY0gs
— Christina Walke (@walke_christina) March 22, 2023
Parents have raised concerns about how SEL teachings are impacting their children. For example, one parent from Texas recounted how her daughter was socially transitioned into thinking she was a boy. At the same time, another father from Washington shared how a school put his child on antidepressants without parental consent through the SEL program.
In response to the concerns, Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis has committed $21 million to a program focusing on children’s mental health and resiliency. The program aims to help children overcome adversity and escape the “victim mindset” by teaching them skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, empathy, mentorship, and honesty. The program will also incentivize volunteerism, providing students with context, perspective, and the opportunity to help others.
In a roundtable discussion at Florida State University, First Lady DeSantis emphasized the importance of providing foundational skills to help children persevere through life’s challenges. She believes that schools should not be injecting an ideology and an agenda in the name of mental health and that kids should be given the skills to overcome adversity.
The resiliency program’s materials will eventually be accessible in one location, pending board approval, to implement the new standards by 2024.
While teaching children how to overcome adversity and develop essential skills like problem-solving and critical thinking is important, ensuring that these programs are not used to push a particular ideology is equally important. The SEL program’s partnership with CASEL and its promotion of equity and anti-racism raise concerns about indoctrination in the classroom.
The First Lady’s resiliency program is a positive step in the right direction. It provides foundational skills for children without pushing any particular agenda. It will be interesting to see how this program develops and whether other states will follow suit in developing their resiliency programs.