“If we could do this it could be a huge breakthrough in connecting families with services,” he said.
The work plan is missing one of the recommendations from the state group: Adopting a common framework for discussing social-emotional learning in Idaho’s classrooms.
The SDE leadership team decided not to pursue that recommendation in light of a national poll suggesting the term “social-emotional learning” is unpopular with parents, and the divisive political rhetoric around the term, Studebaker said. Social-emotional learning (SEL) has been drawn into partisan debates around whether schools are teaching critical race theory, or trying to “indoctrinate” youth with liberal ideology.
The state is evaluating whether it will continue to use the term “social-emotional learning,” Studebaker said.
“The commitment to the components is still all there,” SDE spokeswoman Kris Rodine said. “It’s just the terminology that is the flashpoint.”
Idaho lacks a statewide rubric for how schools should provide behavioral health supports to students. Whether a student has access to mental health services in school depends on where they live, and whether administrators have the funds or the interest in providing those services.