Social-Emotional Learning Is Good for the Economy?

This propaganda piece on the website of the CBS affiliate in Miami, FL prompted a visceral reaction from me.

Knellee Bisram, a Certified Mindfulness Instructor and Founder of AHAM Education, Inc., wrote the propaganda supplied by the Children’s Services Council of Broward County.

It reads in part:

It behooves those of us who are parents, educators, community leaders engaging in the SEL front to make the obvious but often forgotten bottom-line economic case to education administrators and local government officials. In the long term, the SEL positively impacts performance and human capacity, an important ingredient for productivity and employment and, by extension, Real Gross Domestic Product Growth.

Look no further than major corporations like Google, SAP, AIG, JPMorgan Chase and our own Miami Heat, who are investing in in-house Emotional Intelligence and Mindfulness Based Leadership and similar employee programs because they see clearly that it makes good “dollars and cents”. Business leaders got the memo – mental and emotional stability is perhaps the most important factor in peak performance and success. This is the same reason the Bhutan government has placed human happiness at the center of measuring economic growth by replacing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with Gross National Happiness (GNH) as their country’s main indicator of economic and social wellbeing!

I wasn’t sure whether to throw-up or laugh hysterically at this. Are we to take our lead from Bhutan? Bhutan? Really? I don’t think so.

To top it off, the Children Services Council of Broward County (an independent taxing governmental authority) then supplied a picture of children doing some sort of meditation. Seriously? (Can you imagine the outrage if it were a picture of kids praying?)

Anyway, I read lots of claims in this piece with no evidence offered, but readers are assured these practices are “evidence-based.”

Do you know what would help boost kids’ self-esteem and happiness in school? Being able to understand math and to read well. Do you know what would help our economy down the road? Graduates being able to understand math, be well read, be able to write well, and who have a well-rounded education.

Unfortunately, SEL nor Common Core will help with either. Kids will still struggle, but hey they’ll feel happier doing it.

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