Should a Catholic School be Teaching Social Emotional Learning?

Does the New Testament discuss children determining their sexual identity?

I’ll skip naming names here, to protect the innocent (if there are any).

Let’s say that a Left-Leaning national organization, approaches a K-12 Catholic School, and gives them a very polished sales pitch about how they can help this school institute a program for each grade level on Social Emotional Learning (SEL).

Their spiel includes such assertions as: a) SEL is a hot commodity, as they have signed up many schools already, b) SEL is consistent with the school’s values, c) SEL can be introduced without taking up more class time, by simply having it replace some already scheduled religion time, d) there will be no “consequential” cost for this new SEL classroom material (e.g., see here for sample annual cost), e) etc.

Are any of those claims true and/or make sense? IMO the answer for each is: a) This is more proof that Critical Thinking is at dangerously low levels. FYI, if your friends all jumped off a bridge, would you too? b) This is totally false. c) It makes no sense to reduce religion education time in a Catholic school. It makes even less sense to substitute secular ideology for religion time! d) The real cost is not in dollars, but in what is being put into the heads of innocent students.

Please read my prior short Substack Commentary on SEL, and my answers should now make sense. Pay particular attention to this superior Report by Moms for Liberty.

So if your Catholic K-12 School says that they are considering adding SEL to the curriculum (or if they have already surreptitiously done it), I would suggest politely asking these questions:

1 – Exactly what specific additional religious values will the new SEL material be adding that are not part of the existing religious curriculum?

2 – Does the school advocate less emphasis on academic accomplishment and more on Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)?

3 – Will the SEL program involve any discussions of sex with our children (e.g., regarding sexual identity)?

4 – Why would a Catholic School replace teaching the New Testament, etc. with material concocted to promote a secular non-Christian religion?

SEL is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A sample endorsement of SEL is: “In a world where emotional intelligence is critical for lifelong happiness, successful careers, and healthier relationships, SEL gives students a framework for developing these skills.”

But WAIT! Isn’t that the main reason that parents are paying a premium to send their children to a Catholic School? That School’s public position should be: “In a world where critical thinking and strong religious values are essential for lifelong happiness, successful careers, and healthier relationships, this school gives students a solid Judeo-Christian framework for developing these skills.”

A more honest assessment of some SEL goals is found in this study, which says that the field of SEL aims to prepare students for not only engaged but also critical citizenship (i.e., collectivism, productive interactionism). In layman’s terms, it means that SEL is designed to inspire children to be social revolutionaries. Is that a goal of Catholic education?

The number one objective of K-12 education (Catholic and otherwise) should be to produce graduates who have the ability and interest in doing Critical Thinking. On the other hand, one of the primary goals of SEL is to groom children to be compliant future global citizens who do not question authority and who go along with the consensus. This is the exact opposite of teaching Critical Thinking.

Catholics believe that we are engaged in a cataclysmic war between Good and Evil. These opposing forces are led by Jesus Christ and the Devil. We can visualize Jesus, but the Devil is another matter: a fire-breathing demon with a pitchfork, etc? In actuality, the Devil knows no one would embrace such a threatening character, so he shows up as a smiling, helpful, Ph.D. saying: Let me have access to the souls of your children. It will only be two hours a week, and they will be happier and less anxious. Trust me!

There is no bigger victory that Satan can have, than a Catholic School voluntarily turning over access to the souls of children in their care, by agreeing to reduce time spent on Jesus and substituting material from a secular (i.e., atheistic) organization.

My commentaries here are about Critical Thinking, and the only way that parents, teachers, administrators, and clergy of a Catholic School would allow such a travesty to happen, would be due to a profound deficiency in Critical Thinking by all parties involved.

Note 1 — Who am I to comment on Catholic education? First, I’m a product of Catholic education: I had Sisters of St Joseph in grammar school, Xavarian Brothers in high school, and Jesuits in college (Boston College). It was excellent! Second, I’ve been on Catholic School boards for over ten years — even though we had no children in the schools. Third, I’ve extensively studied K-12 education and what needs to be done (e.g., see my Education Report). Fourth, I’m a Critical Thinker.

Note 2 — Most everything here applies to public schools, charter schools, religious schools of other denominations, and home schools.

Note 3 — If you’d like to do additional research on SEL, here are some good materials: Report: Social Emotional Learning — K–12 Education as New Age Nanny State… Report: Social Emotional Learning — Don’t Be Fooled By The Title… Article: The Trouble with Social Emotional Learning Article: The Latest Big Education Fad, Social-Emotional Learning, Is As Bad As It Sounds… Short video: Social Emotional Learning explained w James Lindsay… Longer Video: Social Emotional Learning | James Lindsay (Here he explains the connection of Communism with SEL.)

©2023. John Droz, Jr. All rights reserved.

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