School districts around the world are racing to implement Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs in the name of improving their students’ social and emotional skills. In fact, according to the global purveyor of SEL standards, 27 states so far have adopted K-12 SEL competencies, and all 50 states have adopted SEL competencies for pre-K students. But where is this massive push for SEL coming from, and what are the motives behind it?
The answer to this question is becoming clear: The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a primary force behind the SEL movement worldwide. A major way UNESCO advocates for SEL is through UNESCO’S Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development. The Gandhi Institute produces an online publication called The Blue Dot, which features articles from SEL experts and others around the globe that highlight “the relationship between education, peace, sustainable development and global citizenship.” Invoking Gandhi’s name in the title of this United Nations entity is meant to pull at the heartstrings of anyone who hears it. But should our heartstrings be pulled?
SEL Is Key to Achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
The title of a feature article in The Blue Dot co-written by a specialist from the Gandhi Institute reveals why UNESCO is hellbent on getting SEL into every school in America and across the world: “SEL for SDGs: Why Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is Necessary to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.” The “sustainable development goals” (SDGs) are noble-sounding goals that would essentially require government management of energy sources worldwide and the large-scale redistribution of wealth in the name of saving the planet.
In UNESCO’s view, the endgame of SEL is not to meet the social and emotional needs of each child, but to shape all children to meet the needs of a global society by adhering to the sustainable development goals.