Social and Emotional Learning was defined by the CASEL in 1997. Partnered with organizations such as The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, and more, SEL has now been implemented across much of the country and backed by numerous school boards. CASEL states that “SEL is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop healthy identities.” They break it down into five competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
The idea is that emotional intelligence is a better determinant of success than IQ. This all sounds good on paper, until you find out the main goal for CASEL is to “establish equitable learning environments.” In its worksheet developed for schools, it notes that “SEL is implemented with a culturally responsive lens, educators can use to cultivate equitable learning opportunities.” Beyond the guiding principles of SEL, it's important to look at how the program is being assessed.
Learning 2025 was created by AASA the School Superintendents association to expand upon the Social Emotional Learning model to include sections for Culture and Resources. It leans harder into the focus on equity with its “Whole Learner” focus to establish a “relationships-based culture.” There is a focus on utilizing “diverse educators” that represent the community in which they are serving, instead of having qualified and effective educators as their first priority. Lastly, Learning 2025 is dependent on the government establishing Broadband Internet as a public Utility. In order to track, assess, and report on these goals, technology is essential.
As one might imagine, something as subjective as a person's social and emotional well-being is hard to assess. This is where Panorama Education comes in. In states like Georgia, the department of education has a student growth model already set up, in which academic data is tracked by student. Parents, teachers, and the school can track individuals, while the public can track the stats for the district. Panorama has created an app for teachers to track their students' self-reported SEL scores in real-time, as well as assess their performance in class.
Teachers are not licensed mental health professionals and are therefore not trained in evaluating mental health and social-emotional wellbeing. Yet, with Panorama’s new behavior reporting tracker, teachers will have the ability to give “praise” to students for what they deem to be “good things.” As well it allows any faculty member of a school to log an incident report by severity. This data will then be used to track individual students' progress until graduation. Teachers use the data provided to create groups of students with similar behavioral issues.
While they say this is so they can focus on improving behavior with “small-group intervention strategies,” it results in the creation of a ranking system for each student, which presumably becomes the basis for allowing students to participate, or not participate in school functions. This is a social credit system that is being used to condition students into accepting that their behavior will be monitored and evaluated at every moment of the day, based on a teacher’s or staff member’s own standards. The next step is for Artificial Intelligence (AI) to learn each student so well that teachers will no longer be needed to evaluate the students, the app itself, using AI, will be rating and evaluating the students.
Every moment they spend in school as well as time spent on their school-issued Chrome Books, Laptops, or even school apps the students install on their phones will be tracked to get the best data set possible.
The AI industry is ever growing and seeping into almost every aspect of our lives. This includes development for students and schools. Currently students and schools are using AI tutors to help teach students core subjects. The AI algorithms learn and identify where a student is struggling, and then provides ways to help the student. The algorithms essentially form an adaptive learning software that is able to adjust to a student’s abilities and learning style, and teach specifically to that. They also store that data and begin to understand the whole learner. Organizations such as UNESCO MGIEP have begun strategizing ways to utilize AI in regards to SEL. Creating a system where every moment of a student's day is evaluated.
Most adults understand the concept of a Social Credit Score is a harmful one. We have seen how nations such as China, run based on a Social Credit System. A person is rewarded for “being good”, and another is punished for “being bad”. Those who wish to control a population know that they cannot implement such a system right away with the current adult generation, especially in the free Western World. This is why we are seeing such an enormous push for these “Whole Learner” systems to be implemented in schools. Children are moldable. Children are naïve. Children want to please their teachers. They can be more easily conditioned into accepting these concepts, especially when they are presented to be about “the greater good”. With Corporations starting to be rated on their Environment, Social, and Governance Scores (A businesses social credit score), the obvious next step is that they will want future employees that already accept and are accustomed to being rated based on a Social Credit System.