by Harold Hutchison
A Georgia charter school told parents they will not be able to opt children out of a social-emotional learning (SEL) program, according to a parents group.
Liberty Tech Charter School announced that SEL would be mandatory for all students in the 2022-2023 school year in a May 16 email from a guidance counselor after allowing them the previous year, according to a Tuesday release by Parents Defending Education (PDE), a national grassroots organization dedicated to “promoting the restoration of a healthy, non-political education.” The school sent emails about the implementation of SEL over the course of the 2021-2022 school year and said it would be selecting one of three SEL courses.
“Next school year we will be implementing the selected program as intended, to gain the most efficient and beneficial use for our students,” the unidentified guidance counselor wrote in the email. “This means there will not be an opt-out option.”
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, an organization that promotes SEL, defines it as “the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes” in a number of non-academic fields, including managing emotions, maintaining relationships and decision-making on its website.
“The school seems to be promising that the SEL content will be innocuous,” PDE Director of Outreach Erika Sanzi told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “[B]ut since the massive shift in the definition in SEL in 2020 to what’s known as “transformative SEL,” almost all the programs that schools adopt have big equity and social justice activism component that is usually based in both critical race theory and critical gender theory.”
“If it turns out that the program is steeped in ideology and goes far beyond what the school has promised, the school may have to revisit its prohibition on opt-outs,” Sanzi said.
CASEL and Liberty Tech Charter School did not respond to a request for comment from TheDCNF.
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Harold Hutchison is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.