Apr 18, 2018 by

4.18.18 – Dallas Morning News


COMMENTS FROM DONNA GARNER:  Unfortunately, social-emotional learning (SEL) is “alive and well” in Dallas ISD.  SEL is not a good thing.  We see in today’s Dallas Morning News that the Dallas ISD has taken $1.5 Million from the Wallace Foundation to launch SEL in the Dallas schools.

Below is a common-sense list by J. R. Wilson of what is wrong with SEL in our schools:

Social Emotional Learning

  • Social emotional learning (SEL) standards, benchmarks, learning indicators, programs, and assessments address subjective non-cognitive factors.


  • Subjective non-cognitive factors addressed in SEL programs may include attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, beliefs, feelings, emotions, mindsets, metacognitive learning skills, motivation, grit, self-regulation, tenacity, perseverance, resilience, and intrapersonal resources even though programs may use different terminology.


  • The federal government does not have the constitutional authority to promote or develop social emotional standards, benchmarks, learning indicators, programs or assessments.


  • Promoting and implementing formal SEL program standards, benchmarks, learning indicators and assessments will depersonalize the informal education good teachers have always provided.


  • Teachers implementing SEL standards, benchmarks, learning indicators, programs, and assessments may end up taking on the role of mental health therapists for which they are not professionally trained. SEL programs should require the onsite supervision of adequately trained professional psychologists/psychotherapists.


  • Social and emotional learning programs take time away from academic knowledge and fundamental skills instruction.


  • SEL programs may promote and establish thoughts, values, beliefs, and attitudes not reflective of those held by parents and infringe upon parental rights to direct the upbringing and education of their children.


  • Informed active written parental consent should be required prior to any student participating in any social emotional learning program or assessment through the school system.


  • Sensitive personally identifiable non-cognitive data will be collected on individuals through SEL programs.


  • The collection and use of subjective non-cognitive individual student SEL data may result in improper labeling of students. This data will follow individuals throughout their lifetime with the potential for unintended use resulting in negative consequences.




“Tex. Sen. Bettencourt Gets Facts Wrong When Praising Dallas ISD’s Use of Philanthropy To Fund Schools”


By Corbett Smith, Staff Writer




One of the state politicians instrumental in figuring out fixes for the state’s broken school finance system recently mentioned Dallas ISD as an example on how districts can expand their revenue through philanthropy, without relying on property taxes and the state.

…In an article by the Houston Chronicle’s Shelby Webb about the budget woes for Houston-area districts, Webb quoted Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, an influential voice on school finance and a member of the Commission of Public Education Funding. 

…If the legislature is going to tackle school finance in the next session, it’s likely going to look at recommendations from the new commission, created during the last legislature’s school finance battles.

From the Chronicle:

“[Bettencourt] pointed to Dallas ISD, which pulls in about $10 million annually from philanthropy. United Airlines also staffed one of DISD’s schools with 25 full-time employees, a partnership Bettencourt said should inspire districts elsewhere.

“It’s not going to be one-size fits all — there are many, many ways to do it right,” Bettencourt said. “At end of the day, we want the education system to get students the best educations they can get for best deals taxpayers can support. But we need to look for all the ways we can do it right.”

…The recent Wallace Foundation grant of $1.5 million, split between DISD and Dallas-based education non-profit Big Thought, was for the launch of a social-emotional learning initiative. The $3 million from the Gates Foundation was for measuring teacher effectiveness. Millions from the Dell Foundation were for development of a data warehouse and dashboard.

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