Jul 24, 2018
ELW

Truth in American Education – Responding to The 74 Jumping on the Social-Emotional Learning Bandwagon

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Senior fellow at the American Principles Project, Jane Robbins, and Dr. Effrem co-authored this rebuttal at Truth in American Education to more inaccurate cheerleading for social emotional learning (SEL) at education website, The 74. Here is an excerpt:

  • The 74 traces the concept of SEL back to the 1995 book Emotional Intelligence (which the news outlet apparently takes seriously). In fact, “emotional intelligence” has been debunkedas “a fraudulent concept, a fad, a convenient bandwagon, a corporate marketing scheme.” SEL first entered the federal education lexicon in 1994 as part of the Goals 2000 legislation signed by President Clinton. These goals were “voluntary” as long as states were willing to give up their share of federal Title I money for not implementing them. This is analogous to recession-racked states’ “voluntarily” adopting the Common Core standards to qualify for federal money. 
  • Interestingly, research in a paper cited by The 74, as well as multiple other SEL proponents and education stakeholders, posits that the supposedly “rigorous” and “academic” Common Core supports  SEL and vice versa. The fact that Common Core is proving to be a drag on academic achievement demonstrates that neither is very effective. Besides seeing both SEL and Common Core as anti-academic, parents and citizens also recognize both as invasive and indoctrinating — so touting the SEL-Common Core connection is unlikely to engender support for either one.  
  • The 74 cites only studies supportive of SEL. But even the aforementioned CASEL researcher admitted, “The results to date have been mixed…There’s also a general lack of long-term studies that might give researchers a clearer picture of the programs’ effectiveness.” In fact, The 74 ignores glaring defects of the first meta-analysis it links — that only 15% of the 200+ studies reviewed did a long-term follow-up, and only 16% actually checked academic outcomes. The 74 also neglects to mention a decidedly negative analysisof preschool SEL in six longitudinal education databases, which concluded, “Early math skills have the greatest predictive power, followed by reading and then attention skills. By contrast, measures of socioemotional behaviors…were generally insignificant predictors of later academic performance, even among children with relatively high levels of problem behavior.” Ironically, the preschool years have the most uniform, numerous, and longstanding SEL standards in all fifty states. Yet this study, combined with a new Brookings paper, affirms much previous research showing that SEL-laden Head Start and other government preschool programs don’t improve academic outcomes. Nor does “growth mindset” (an SEL favorite), as confirmed by another recent study. 

Read the full article here.

Jul 22, 2018
ELW

Caffeinated Thoughts – Is Iowa’s Investment in Pre-K Education Worthwhile?

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In this article by Shane Vander Hart at Caffeinated Thoughts, Dr. Effrem makes several statements about the ineffectiveness and invasiveness of government preschool programs in the context of the release of Iowa’s new early childhood standards:

“Having state defined preschool content standards, especially that include controversial social-emotional skills and attitudes like gender roles and family structure diversity, is a major usurpation of parental rights and family autonomy. Because Iowa’s and every other state’s preschool standards are mandated by the federal Head Start Act, they are also unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment,” Dr. Karen Effrem, President of Education Liberty Watch, stated.

Effrem referred to a randomized control trial of Tennessee’s voluntary pre-school program by Vanderbilt University researchers that showed that academic gains achieved by students in Tennessee pre-K classrooms began to fade out by first grade and reversed by second and third grade. Researchers also noted more disciplinary infractions and special education placements by third-grade than students who did not enroll in pre-school…

…Effrem noted that there is much research that demonstrates not only does pre-K programs lack long-term academic benefits, but that short-term benefits fade and pre-K students have behavioral and academic setbacks.

“The emotional harm is particularly concerning and ironic, because preschool is the grade level that has had social-emotional standards in every state and for the longest period of time. Research also shows that it is early academic and attention skills, not social-emotional skills, that are most predictive of long-term academic achievement, but also shows that children who are allowed to play and creatively explore do much better than those subjected to standardized learning at this age,” Effrem said.

“The best thing that Iowa could do for the state’s children and families is to get rid of these standards and rote, mechanized learning and let them be kids,” Effrem added.

 

 

Jul 16, 2018
ELW

Video Interview – Dangers of School-based Mental Screening

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Randy Osborne of Florida Government Watch did a second interview of Dr. Effrem regarding the dangers of school mental health screening which was also covered during the July 11th School Safety Commission meeting. None of the problems of inaccuracy, privacy invasion, consent, etc. were discussed by witness, Dr. Mark Olfson, the director of the failed TeenScreen program at Columbia University that shut down in 2012 without explanation after a school was sued for screening a teenager without parental consent. Dr. Effrem was an expert witness in that case.

The Co-director of TeenScreen, Dr. David Schaffer, admitted that TeenScreen has a false positive rate of 84%. Many of the other screening instruments have similarly and ridiculously poor accuracy rates. These screening instruments lead to rampant overprescribing of psychiatric medications that have dangerous and sometimes fatal side effects, including suicide and murderous rampages. It is extremely disturbing that there was no countervailing information presented at the commission meeting.

 

 

Jul 16, 2018
ELW

Video Interview – The Connection between Psychiatric Drugs and School Shootings No One wants to Talk About.

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Thanks to Randy Osborne of Florida Government Watch for his excellent interview of Dr. Effrem on the dangerous connection between the rampant over-medicating of our youth and the increase in school and other mass shootings.

It is especially pertinent because this connection was severely and incorrectly minimized during the federal School Safety Commission meeting on July 11th.

 

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