House Bill Encourages Social-Emotional Learning in Classrooms

Mike Seals - March 4, 2021 11:04 pm

OKLAHOMA CITY – Rep. John Talley, R-Stillwater, secured floor passage of legislation to promote and encourage the integration of social-emotional learning (SEL) practices into Oklahoma classrooms during Wednesday afternoon’s legislative session.

House Bill 2388 allows school districts to provide instruction to students about social-emotional learning, which is the process through which children and adults manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy, maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions.

“Offering social-emotional learning to our students would help them better cope with everyday challenges and teach them to be more respectful adults who can bridge the divisiveness we currently see in today’s society,” Talley said. “I was very pleased to author this bill and look forward to seeing it heard in the Senate.”

Talley said the bill is complementary to the competencies that the Oklahoma Dept. of Education (SDE) is creating and helps encourage schools to implement SEL practices and SEL resources that the state provides, even though they aren’t assessed.

SDE and other organizations already has curriculum and resources available for schools to utilize, so SEL can be implemented without additional cost. Currently, 23 states, including Kansas, have some form of SEL legislation, competencies or standards.

Talley thanked Claire Grace, a Stillwater native who is currently interning in his office at the State Capitol, for bringing the benefits of social-emotional learning to his attention and working with him on the legislation.

“I ran for public office to give a voice to the constituents of House District 33 and represent them well at the State Capitol,” Talley said. “I could see Claire’s passion for social-emotional learning from the moment she approached me about considering how the Legislature can encourage our schools to teach this. She has been promoting compassion in schools across Oklahoma for the past four years and has researched SEL in other states as I crafted this legislation. It’s been an honor to work with her on this bill.”

HB2388, having passed 70-22, is now available to be heard in the Senate, where it is co-authored by Sen. Tom Dugger, R-Stillwater.

 

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