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May 10, 2019

From: Karen Effrem, MD – Eagle Forum National Education Issues Chairman
Dear Ohio Eagle,
A committee of the Ohio State Board of Education is going to vote on advancing a proposal to implement statewide social emotional learning (SEL) standards. This is part of a national movement to psychologize education falsely advertised as improving academic achievement and preventing violence and suicide.
The problems with this approach are myriad. They include the following points with more points and detail available in this article from The Eagle Forum Report, from Eagle Forum and Education Liberty Watch and these resources from the Pioneer Institute, including a major white paper on this topic written by attorney Jane Robbins and myself. Please personalize a note by using arguments from this list in your email to the various state board members:

  • Further erosion of the fundamental right of parents to control the education and upbringing of their children due to unjustified expansion of the schools beyond their basic mission of academics
  • Admission of lack of consensus defining SEL and multiple flaws in the research even by SEL proponents and experts
  • The teaching and assessing of SEL by untrained or minimally trained school personnel, as well as the linking of SEL to violence and suicide prevention via mental-health screening can lead to many problems such as biased or inaccurate assessment based on subjective criteria, improper referrals, diagnosis and over-treatment with potentially harmful medications.
  • Experts have admitted and research has shown that the over-medication has occurred in the most vulnerable populations, including foster children and minorities.
  • Strong linkages between SEL and Common Core, as well as between SEL and competency-based education/personalized learning that further dilute the promised rigor of Common Core and nudge/force children into career paths not of their choosing
  • If SEL is about meeting the individual needs of the “whole child” and the department of education is portraying this to be implemented according to the individual needs of the school districts, why is there a need for statewide SEL standards?
  • If SEL’s definition, assessments, and research are all questionable and experts admit no evidence of cost effectiveness, should Ohio be spending our state’s share of what national proponent groups have estimated to be $30 billion in this time of tight education budgets, teacher shortages, infrastructure issues, etc.?

 Please contact the OSBOE president, vice-president, the members of the committee listed below, and then the board member for your region, and the at-large members, if not one of these. You may find your elected board member by consulting the region map here:

Board President and Committee Members
laura.kohler@education.ohio.gov: president of the full board
charlotte.mcguire@education.ohio.gov: vice-president of the full board, committee chairman elected from District 3
martha.manchester@education.ohio.gov: at-large member
cindy.collins@education.ohio.gov: at-large member
kirsten.hill@education.ohio.gov: elected member from District 2
meryl.johnson@education.ohio.gov: elected member from District 11
mark.lamoncha@education.ohio.gov: at-large member
antoinette.miranda@education.ohio.gov: elected member from District 6
Remaining members of SBOE:
linda.haycock@education.ohio.gov: elected member from District 1
jenny.kilgore@education.ohio.gov: elected member from District 4
lisa.woods@education.ohio.gov:  elected member from District 5
sarah.fowler@education.ohio.gov: elected member from District 2
john.hagan@education.ohio.gov: elected member from District 8
stephanie.dodd@education.ohio.gov: elected member from District 9
nick.owens@education.ohio.gov: elected member from District 10
eric.poklar@education.ohio.gov: at-large member
james.sheppard@education.ohio.gov: at-large member
mike.toal@education.ohio.gov: at-large member
Thank you for what you can do in this heated battle for the hearts and minds of our children. Please contact me with questions at dockaren@eagleforum.org or by phone at 952-361-4931.
In Liberty,
Karen R. Effrem, MD
Eagle Forum National Education Issues Chairman
President – Education Liberty Watch