To add your organization's name to the list of those in support, please complete the form below no later than Wednesday, May 29th. We will share this list with Congressional leaders.
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May XX, 2019
The Honorable Roy BluntChairmanCommittee on Appropriations,Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related AgenciesU.S. SenateWashington, DC 20002
The Honorable Patty MurrayRanking MemberCommittee on Appropriations,Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related AgenciesU.S. SenateWashington, DC 20002
Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray:
As the Senate works to finalize the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations (LHHS-ED) bill, the undersigned organizations strongly urge you to make the necessary critical investments in the academic, social, and emotional needs of the nation’s children. Specifically, we ask that you accept language in the FY 2020 LHHS-ED Appropriations bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee which provides $260 million in funding for a new social and emotional learning initiative as well as report language which clarifies funds can be used to develop educator competencies in supporting student academic, social and emotional development and disseminating evidence-based strategies to a broad range of stakeholders. This funding would represent an unprecedented federal commitment to supporting state education agencies, universities, community-based organizations, school districts, schools, and researchers in significantly accelerating and scaling work that is being conducted to educate the whole child for success in school, work, and life.
Research shows that social and emotional learning promotes improved academic achievement for students and increases positive life outcomes. Social and emotional learning also promotes positive outcomes for adults starting with improved graduation rates and employment prospects along with reduced toxic teacher stress that may lead to decreased teacher and school leader retention rates, improved classroom instruction, and a safer and more productive school climate. Yet, only 22 percent of educators feel they are very prepared to teach social and emotional learning in the classroom, which creates a significant gap between community demand and community preparedness. This is not surprising when looking at new knowledge about human development from neuroscience and the sciences of learning and development that demonstrates how effective learning depends on secure attachments; affirming relationships; rich, hands-on learning experiences; and explicit integration of social, emotional, and academic skills.
Therefore, we recommend that the FY 2020 Senate LHHS-ED bill commit to a strong focus on evidence-based “whole-child” approaches to education by including:
• $170 million within the Education Innovation and Research program for grants for evidence-based, field-initiated innovations that address student academic, social, and emotional needs;• $25 million within the Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant program for teacher professional development and pathways into teaching that provide a strong foundation in child development and learning, including skills for implementing social and emotional learning strategies;• $53 million for the Teacher Quality Partnerships (TQP) to improve the quality of teachers working in high-need schools and early childhood education programs by creating model teacher preparation and residency programs which can be used to support teachers in meeting the academic, social, and emotional needs of their students. • $25 million within the School Safety National Activities program to make schools safer through a new competition that will help local educational agencies (LEAs) directly increase the number of mental health and child development experts in schools; and• $40 million for Full-Service Community Schools to provide comprehensive services and expand evidence-based models that meet the holistic needs of children, families, and communities.
We also recommend that FY 2020 Senate LHHS-ED bill include the following clarifications and directives in the accompanying report language:
• Explicitly state that Title II–A funding under ESSA can be used to develop educator competencies in supporting student social, emotional, and cognitive development into licensing and accreditation requirements for teachers, school leaders, administrators, and counseling staff. • Direct the Department of Education to brief the Committees on Appropriations on the Office of Effective Teaching and Social and Emotional Learning’s plans for disseminating the Center to Improve Social and Emotional Learning and School Safety’s clearinghouse of evidence-based strategies to internal and external stakeholders, including SEAs and LEAs, and the office’s plans for leveraging the Center’s knowledge of evidence-based SEL strategies to inform fiscal year 2020 grant competitions.
Our knowledge of the collective outcomes of social and emotional learning builds off a generation of research from respected, nonpartisan organizations such as the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), the Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, & Academic Development, the Learning Policy Institute, the American Institutes for Research, and the RAND Corporation.
We appreciate your tremendous leadership in providing adequate resources to the Department of Education. While we understand the fiscal constraints you are under, we know the inclusion of funding for these kinds of initiatives in the FY 2020 Senate LHHS-ED appropriations bill will further encourage innovation and understanding of the integrated nature of social, emotional, and academic development that will ensure that all children have the skills they need to learn and thrive.
Sincerely, <List of Undersigned Organizations>