BISMARCK – A bill to ban social, emotional learning failed in the North Dakota State House Wednesday.
House Bill 1526 would have prohibited teachers from informing students’ worldview based on emotions. It also sought to prohibit them from measuring the mental health of a student or influence a student to adopt a religious view that differs from the students’ parents' religious views. The bill received a Do Not Pass recommendation from the House Education committee by a vote of 8-6.
“In past years, social emotional characteristics included consideration of others, thoughtfulness, reliability, punctuality, obedience, and respectful behavior given to teachers,” said the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Scott Dyke, R-Dis. 23, Williston. “To their credit, most teachers still view SEL in those terms. But now, parents all over this state are discovering some very serious problems with social, emotional learning. SEL has characteristics of a destructive weed. To sum it up, SEL is indoctrination, not education.”
Rep. Dawson Holle, R-Dis. 31, Mandan, who graduated high school last year, said he and many of his classmates found that SEL was a waste of time, and he thinks schools should focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic.
“I can assure you that reading, writing, and arithmetic are a big part of the curriculum,” said Rep. Jim Jonas, R-Dis. 13, West Fargo. “I visited schools in December and social, emotional learning has been around forever, since education first started. It’s been called 21st century skills. Social, emotional learning is about teaching kids to be respectful. If this passes, how are we going to go back and tell those teachers what to call this specific program to teach them right from wrong?”
The bill failed by a vote of 52 to 41.