Federal Legislation to Expand Social and Emotional Learning Programs Gains Major Support in Congress
The APA’s Education GRO is delighted to announce that bipartisan support for the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2011 (HR 2437) was recently strengthened among the House Education and Workforce Committee members, which has jurisdiction over the bill.
Introduced on July 7, 2011, by Representatives Judy Biggert (R-IL), Dale Kildee (D-MI), and Tim Ryan (D-OH), the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2011 (HR 2437) is a modest but vital piece of legislation that would expand teacher and principal training in practices that address the social and emotional development needs of students. Social and Emotional Learning Curricula (SEL) support students’ success by teaching them valuable skills, such as problem solving, conflict resolution, responsible decision-making, self-discipline and goal-setting.
Extensive psychological research strongly shows that social and emotional learning has a tremendously positive impact on academic and behavioral outcomes, including improved attendance, graduation rates, grades, test scores, reduced problem behavior and improved health outcomes. APA Member Dr. Roger Weissberg of the University of Illinois at Chicago, a leading expert in this field, played a critical role in developing this legislation.
Since the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2011 (HR 2437) was introduced, the Education GRO has been meeting with members on both sides of the aisle from the House Education and Workforce Committee to encourage them to support the bill by becoming co-sponsors. We are very pleased to announce that, as a result of these meetings, along with strong outreach from other groups and associations, HR 2437 now has increased bipartisan support with a total of 14 co-sponsors. We are particularly delighted to announce that Rep. Todd Russell Platts (R-PA) and Rep. Thomas Petri (R-WI), both of whom sit on the important Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, have signed on as co-sponsors.
The Education and Workforce Committee is currently working on the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ED GRO continues to work with APA Members and Congress to advance the Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning Act of 2011 (HR 2437) as part of this review of ESEA.