New legislation will provide resources for social-emotional learning in Texas
Recent legislation passed by the 87th session of the Texas Legislature will provide much-needed resources and support for students and educators heading back to classrooms after a year and a half of hybrid and remote learning.
Senate Bill 123, authored by Sen. Nathan Johnson and House Rep. John Turner, ensures skills for students to manage emotions is integrated with other social-emotional learning and character development curricula.
House Bill 332 by Rep. James Talarico and Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. eventually passed as an amendment to HB 1525 by Rep. Dan Huberty and Sen. Larry Taylor will allow for districts to utilize state compensatory funds to provide programs to build skills related to managing emotions, establishing and maintaining positive relationships and making responsible decisions.
“Emotion and self-regulation skills are some of the core social-emotional learning skills, because when you can’t manage your emotions, attention or behavior, you will have problems staying calm and focused on learning,“ Dr. Jeffrey Liew says.
Liew studies emotion, motivation and self-regulation as part of his work in the Department of Educational Psychology.
He says SEL skills are the foundation of student success and if left unaddressed, could lead to emotional or behavioral problems such as stress and anxiety or acting out and aggression.
“Not only are these problems detrimental to the student’s own learning, but also disrupts the learning of others in the classroom and make relationships with classmates and teachers challenging,” Liew says.
The coronavirus pandemic brought new challenges to teachers and students when they sheltered in their homes as much of the rest of the world did. Students and teachers that were particularly affected were those in high-needs areas Liew says.
HB 1525 allows for districts to use what are known as state compensatory funds. These funds are monies that the state gives to school districts to assist students that are considered at-risk and funds programs to help them achieve academic success through graduation.
The funds would be able to create programs that students would benefit from to make positive decisions, manage emotions and address other mental health considerations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While social-emotional development has always been critical for students and their success in school, SEL and students’ mental health and wellness has become non-negotiable for our students with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Liew said. “People realize that SEL and student’s mental health need to be front and center in our schools if we want to support our students to rise above and overcome all the challenges that they are facing.”
Liew says formal support goes a long way in helping support the needs of educators and school leaders to better serve their students.
About the Writer
Justin is a native of Harlingen, the capital city of the Rio Grande Valley in Deep South Texas. He graduated in 2021 from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, majoring in Mass Communication with a concentration in Print Journalism. Justin is responsible for writing news and feature stories for the College and its various departments to be featured via the web, social media, and various other media outlets.Articles by Justin
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