From the Field

A Progressive Manifesto on Social-Emotional Learning

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The Every Student Succeeds Act invited states to place more emphasis on non-academic factors in education, increasing the already strong interest in social and emotional learning. As state and communities begin engaging in this work, The Aspen Institute National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development (SEAD) brought together 200 scientists, student and parent organizations, educators and policymakers, a majority of them in the education sector’s progressive wing, to explore the best ways to pursue that priority.

In a final report, Aspen SEAD summarizes the research in the social-emotional field and highlights school districts that are successfully implementing social-emotional strategies. The commission makes six broad recommendations:

  • Set a clear vision that broadens the definition of student success to prioritize the whole child.
  • Transform learning settings so they are safe and supportive for all young people.
  • Change instruction to teach students social, emotional, and cognitive skills; embed these skills in academics and school-wide practices.
  • Build adult expertise in child development.
  • Align resources and leverage partners in the community to address the whole child.
  • Forge closer connections between research and practice to generate useful, actionable information for educators.