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North Carolina Using $50 Million in COVID Funds For "Social Emotional" Learning

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

The State plans to spend millions on a controversial psychiatric program.

by: Sloan Rachmuth

North Carolina was recently awarded $1.4 billion from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III Fund, earmarked to help schools reopen following COVID closures.

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) plans to use roughly $50 million to "support all students' SEL needs," according to a proposal they sent to the Feds back in June of this year. The DPI, headed by Superintendent Catherine Truitt oversees the uniform set of learning content for every public school in the State.

CASEL SEL (short for Social Emotional Learning) became North Carolina's top-down academic standard system in June 2020. Schools will prioritize SEL lessons on "creating caring, just, inclusive" communities in all twelve subjects. DPI's website says that K-12 students will also learn to "examine biases, reflect on and address the impact of racism and other isms" in every class.

Let's look at DPI's SEL roadmap to learn more about how SEL will present in K-12 Math:

It is unclear how critiquing literature and taking part in de facto group therapy while studying math will boost students' already suffering test scores. Time will tell.

But if you think the DPI plans to equal this out, and put some algebra and calculus in its English and Literature standards; think again:

North Carolina's K-12 English & Literature Standards

Analyzing character motivation has a place in the study of literature, but so does examing conflict, plot development, and symbolism. Overall, academic exercises typically include analyzing logic and scrutinizing evidence. But these State SEL directives seem like psychological exercises dedicated to examining and engineering emotions.

Teachers have sent us copies of their district's curriculums because they fear their classrooms will focus more on emotional experiences than education.

Look at the SEL exercises fourth-graders in Mecklenburg county will complete in Social Studies classes within a 3-month period:

The title of this unit is "North Carolina history," but it seems more like a student interrogation.

We can say the same about these SEL exercises sent to us by Orange County middle school teachers for use across the district:

Learning to express opinions on controversial topics is an important skill for teens to acquire, but it's hard to tell if this exercise is to achieve that outcome or to measure students' personal beliefs and values.

Where will the answers to this questionnaire go after students complete the activity? It's a fair question since students identify themselves by name. What happens if a student wants to opt out of divulging the intimate, personal details of their inner thoughts? Will teachers single her out in class? Importantly, will her grade suffer?

Constant self-examination and self-disclosure drills are central to SEL lessons. These teachings may be an attempt to re-shape values, attitudes, and beliefs to fit a very different world vision than parents teach at home. Some may call this "Brainwashing."

But SEL is not just a belief-altering curriculum; it is a psychiatric program too.

The Federal Department of Education already requires the DPI to evaluate children who need special services, and then provide them with personal educational options. To qualify for an evaluation, the State stipulates children must have fallen short in several academic areas or referred by parents. Evaluation requires an observable, measurable behavior.

But under the new SEL guidelines, school officials will screen all students to determine whether they have attitudes, beliefs, or values that require "intervention." By utilizing information gathered during SEL drills and through other psychological tests; teachers will asses children's' "social-emotional" landscape to determine if they are "at risk."

These slides come from a CASEL SEL presentation. They illustrate how a student might trigger a clinical response from responding the wrong way to a teacher's class greeting:

Slide two suggests teachers should closely monitor how students respond, and then report them, or refer them to an "intensive" behavioral intervention. The DPI reports that 20% of students have previously needed support, but that percentage will surely climb given these screening dictums. What the DPI has not specified is the attitudes or beliefs that the State finds undesirable, making teachers serve as therapists.

It's easy to predict that teachers will take these guidelines to unimagined lengths.

DPI's website says that SEL is a lever for "creating equitable learning environments." Hence, it's reasonable to assume that intensive interventions, including those led by psychologists, could be done in the name of "equity." If true, application of the State's SEL program could lead to civil rights abuses on an epic scale.

We have reported that parents across the State are complaining about schools administering invasive surveys without their prior consent. This practice violates the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, which protects students from revealing personal information on school surveys. Many schools continue the practice with impunity.

What about the children that teachers think need psychiatric treatment while at school? Will parents have a say in the matter? In North Carolina, no state law specifically states that a parent needs to consent. It is conceivable that a 10-year-old child could incriminate himself on a survey, then diagnosed with an emotional condition, and then receive in-school psychiatric care without parents' permission.

And children need not incriminate themselves. Some SEL class exercises will lead students to subject their classmates and family to scrutiny unknowingly. This example is also from an Orange County middle school:

Orange County SEL Lesson in English Class

See question one on page one? It's hard to believe that these SEL standards give cover to adults asking 13 year-olds how they feel about their "legs/breast/lips." Apparently, sexual grooming now has a pedological purpose in North Carolina Schools.

Legal Intervention Needed

Suppose the State was strengthening its early intervention system for students showing academic or behavioral difficulty, fine. But North Carolina's new educational priority of examining and shaping personal values is problematic rather than knowledge transfer. The State's amassing an army of psychiatric experts standing ready to treat yet-defined "social and emotional" problems in children, and can do so legally without consent, deserves an immediate legal review.


Last month we published a report about CASEL SEL in The Federalist. The program is bankrolled by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. CASEL’s program literature describes concepts of critical race theory such as “White racial entitlement and dominance.” It promotes leftist ideology under the guise of student and parental “critical social awareness,” and raises concern with “most” teachers being “middle-class White women.”

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