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IPFS News Link • Education: Government Schools

The Critical Race Theory to SEL Education Pipeline

• By Max Eden

Sorry, you don't need to be a conservative to draw the connection between SEL and critical race theory. You merely need to be literate.

That connection is not based on misinformation but rather on information plainly available from the website of the Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL). CASEL is the central organization in the SEL sector, which is eating up an increasingly large share of school budgets and classroom instructional time. From November 2019 to April 2021, SEL spending grew by 45% to $765 million, and it has undoubtedly grown substantially more with the infusion of COVID-19 relief spending. Until a few years ago, SEL was a broadly bipartisan endeavor focused on facilitating uncontroversial skills such as "self-awareness" and "social awareness." But in 2019, CASEL embraced a highly controversial interpretation of these skills in what it called "transformative SEL."

In the "transformative" model, "self-awareness" encompasses a student's understanding of their "identity." Their "identity" is to be understood in terms of "intersectionality," a concept coined by Kimberle Crenshaw, the woman who coined the term "critical race theory." This "transformative SEL" encourages students to understand their "identity" in terms of their belonging or non-belonging to identity politics categories that signify privilege or oppression.

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