sB 681 & SB 662 (2022) by Senators cindy o'laughlin (R) & Lauren Arthur (d)
SB 681 & SB 662 were combined to create an education omnibus bill in the 2022 legislative session. It's what we call a "Christmas Tree Bill" because there are several different sections of Missouri statute addressed. It was a large bill that ended up being 166 pages long, repealed 30 sections and added 50 brand new sections of statutes. It was all pertaining to elementary and secondary education. This was the brainchild of Senator Cindy O'Laughlin, republican from northern Missouri (Majority Floor Leader in 2023) and Senator Lauren Arthur, democrat from Clay County (KC area).
It contained everything from testing kids for lead poisoning to creating additional pathways for high school graduation to changing the state learning standards and MANDATING mental health training for high school students.
The latter is what we are going to be talking about today.
Here's the statute created by SB 681 & SB 662:
the result of rsmo 170.307 is ADDED social emotional learning standards
Based on this new statute, on Tuesday, August 15th, the Missouri State Board of Education approved a rule change to add Social Emotional Learning (SEL) standards for K-12 mental health training.
It's ALWAYS a problem when we see in statute that our legislators are abdicating their authority to the unelected bureaucrats with NO way of knowing what the outcome will be. The overreach of bureaucrats into every part of society is a primary reason government has grown to the extent it has, and it's a huge problem in our education system.
This should be a primary concern to conservatives, especially Christian conservatives across Missouri. Promulgated rules are nearly always written to expand progressive government in one way or another.
what is SEL?
Social Emotional Learning is a broad umbrella term that encompasses several things, but the term is pretty self explanatory. In a nutshell, it's the teaching or training of students in regard to social and/or emotional issues.
This is the proposed rule change:
SEL can include, but is not limited to:
- any mental health related topic such as depression, suicide, anxiety, etc.
- communication skills
- motivational skills
- racial & social justice issues
- diversity & equity
- civic engagement
- affirming LGBTQIA+ student behavior
- giving students a "safe" private space with counselors without parental knowledge or consent
- comprehensive sex education
- SEL related student surveys that collect student data related to their beliefs
SEL learning objectives will most likely come through health or PE class by way of the school counselors, who are NOT trained psychologists. Honestly, I don't prefer my own student to have ANY mental health instruction at school - SEL or otherwise.
These new standards will most likely be largely driven by the American School Counselor's Association and organizations such as CASEL and American Federation for Teachers (AFT). These organizations are the opposite of conservative. POLAR opposite.
It doesn't take much to see why it would be a problem for these large progressive organizations and bureaucrats to be running the show in relation to social and emotional learning.
vague standards & local control
The standards are vague. When you read them, there is no clear danger if you aren't familiar with specific terminology or the bigger picture of SEL. Of course we want our children to be empathetic, good problem solvers and happy, productive kids.
Isn't that what this is about??
Well, for some districts and teachers - yes. But for others and maybe most at this point because of the American School Counselors Association - there is a bigger agenda involved.
A marxist agenda. An agenda that divides our kids, pits them against one another and destroys the fabric of patriotic Christian family values all unbeknownst to parents while our kids are in school.
The standards DO allow for individual districts & teachers to adopt their own curriculum and lesson plans as they pertain to these specific standards. It IS possible that your school and your student would not be exposed to the progressive woke agenda. This is why if you ask your administration or school board member, they'll likely tell you that the standard doesn't really matter and that the local school controls the curriculum. That is true.
But here are a few of the problems:
How will you know what your student's teacher is saying or teaching regarding SEL?? You won't. Most likely, you won't even know the questions to ask your student or when to ask them.
How will you know if your student is talking to your school counselor about LGBTQ, sexual identity, gender identity or even suicide? You won't. They are not required to disclose. They are "safe" spaces for students and your students have privacy privileges there. You will know NOTHING if the school counselor doesn't want you to know. The School Counselor's Association wants it this way and they are lobbying legislators to keep it this way.
Do you want your school counselor, PE teacher or health teacher or any teacher - none of whom are trained psychologists - to be teaching mental health topics to your students anyway? I don't.
Do you want your student to be surveyed without your knowledge? I don't.
Do you want your school district to be forced to do MORE teaching that is NOT core classes? I don't. Our schools have more than enough requirements forced onto them by DESE as it is.
Are you familiar with the American School Counselor's Association and what they are pushing into your school counselors offices? Probably not. There are a few resources below & I'll continue to talk about it here.
what can you do?
- Submit public comment to DESE, via survey below, rejecting SEL standards being MANDATED to our schools. You can simply enter "I reject all SEL standards, definitions, and implementation in any format, whether recommended or mandated, in Missouri public schools" in the appropriate text boxes.
2. Share this blog with your like-minded family & friends!
3. Use the resources below to learn a little more and be sure to subscribe to the blog!
Please spend some time learning about SEL if you aren't already aware.
- Pay attention to her language in the video above. She want's school transformation - bringing joy & justice to schools by bringing together SEL, restorative practices & racial equity. They have a NEW definition of SEL. "Culturally affirmative SEL". Race conscious, justice oriented & everything that happens in a classroom cannot be neutral.