Thanks to our patriotic friend from Geauga County, Tom Niewulis, for this article on the Social, Emotional Learning program proposed for all of Ohio’s public schools.
To: Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Attorney General Dave Yost, Speaker of the HouseLarry Householder, Senate President Larry Obhof, State Representative Diane V. Grendell, State Representative John Patterson, State Senator John Eklund, State Senator Sean J O’Brien cc: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria, State Board of Education President Laura Kohler, State Board of Education Sarah Fowler, State Board of Education Kirsten Hill, Geauga County Commissioners, CEO/Executive Director Geauga County ADAMH Board
Subject: Requesting halt to implementation of SEL (Social Emotional Learning) and investigation into probable triple taxation for implementation of the same and the impact of child and parents/guardians First Amendment Rights.
I am making this an open letter to all Citizens concerned and those political/bureaucrats that I cannot otherwise contact. I have been studying the proposed SEL Standards for over a year. In the following comments, I cannot believe that the various mental health and drug addiction and recovery service providers in Geauga County have spent time attempting to understand not just the complexity of the Standards but the Implementation process.
Therefore my deepest concerns for the Tax Payers and Families of Geauga County are:
1. Triple Taxation for SEL Implementation:
The first aspect of this request is that the cost to tax payers for the implementation of SEL should be fully investigated. As a member of the Geauga County Mental Health and Recovery Service Board I am seeing that the various agencies that serve Geauga County are increasing their budgets to include programs for SEL and expecting the Board, that I am a member of, to increase funding to these agencies. At the time of our budget review meetings, to date, Resolution 19 has not passed.
This seems very odd that drug addiction and recovery as well as mental health agencies should be lining up to increase programs and request funding from ADAMH Boards. Although the Strategic Plan for Ohio’s Educational system has been available for some time, SEL implementation is not approved as of today.
Now, I do understand that the Executive Director of our County promoted the ADAMH Board support to the various Geauga County School Districts at an All District meeting. The Executive Directer of the Geauga ADAMH Board noted to myself and another Board member that ‘the districts are afraid of being sued regarding implementation of SEL’. If the Districts are afraid of being sued, by whom and why have the Districts not pushed back on the Sate Board regarding SEL?
The next questions that came to my mind, based on the program request by the agencies, are: How and When did the agencies find out about SEL and How do they really believe their programs with County ADAMH Board funding request meet the implementation requirements of SEL? At the broad brush of the funding review meetings, I do not believe any of these agencies have looked at the SEL requirements in any level of detail regarding: How is SEL to be funded or who is responsible for the outcomes?
In fact, I will be forthright, the requests of the agencies look like Hinkley Buzzards circling to pick off what they can and add to their programs and funding at the expense of the Tax Payer with no real benefit to the Tax Payer. Understanding that a vote at the State Board is in the next day or so, the noted oddity that I am concerned about is twofold:
First: that the funding for SEL, as I have read in the available materials, is through the Governor’s Budget and the various School Districts existing budgets. That alone is two methods of funding that are appropriated through taxation and levies. With that in mind, why are mental health and addiction rehabilitation agencies submitting program funding requests to the County ADAHM Board? These requests more than imply that the citizens of Geauga County in particular, will be taxed in an additional way to pay for SEL implementation. This is in full effect: Triple Taxation.
Second: is the concern, as already noted, that the various agencies are putting their programs together and it fully appears that they have no actual understanding of the SEL standards or implementation. In particular, I want to point to Lake Geauga Recovery who is submitting a budget request to add new and expanded K-12 programs, thereby requesting additional funding from the Geauga County ADAMH Board.
Where in the SEL Standards is additional drug education. My guess is that it could be
loosely interpreted in the “Decision Making” Section of the SEL Standards but I find that this would be a stretch of the sections intent.
Summary: Triple Taxation on the property owners within the County – With the various mental health and drug addiction/rehabilitation agencies making requests to ADAMH Board(s) for increased funding based on their interpretation or at best, a guess of the implementation of SEL – this is a direct additional burden on County Tax Payers. With that, It is obvious that the State Board of Education has not looked at all the far reaching unintended consequences of a multitude of entities that will be clamoring for funding to help school districts advert their ‘fears of being sued’ for implementing SEL.
How much will this ultimately cost the Tax Payers?
II. Imposed Morality and Violation of First Amendment:
I will not belabor this point but it should be highly noted to the Legislature and the Governor that it has been articulated by various State Board members that SEL is in fact government imposed group think and government designed morality.
As I have spent the last year reviewing SEL across the nation, it is a costly program that impacts the liberties of parents/guardians to raise their children according to the foundational morals and beliefs guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Federal Constitution.
In addition, here are key points by members of the State School Board, several of which are in the May 14th meeting minutes:
– no expert consensus on the definition of SEL
– indoctrination and erosion of freedom of attitudes, values and beliefs
– erosion of privacy with the distribution of mental health questionnaires
– personality profiling to benefit businesses and governments
As well as this extensively studied compilation of problems with SEL:
SEL is a mandated evaluation of the emotional and relational development of students. This is problematic for numerous reasons. A few of these include:
– SEL forces a numeric grade on subjective, seemingly unquantifiable material;
– SEL is often evaluated and implemented without parental or student consent;
– SEL implements government-dictated ideas of morality (it is, in short, political correctness training);
– SEL standards place the determination of right and wrong, proper emotional skills and individual expression into the hands of the government;
– SEL allows room for agenda-driven indoctrination and cognitive manipulation;
– SEL takes precedence over basic academic skills, resulting in neglect of traditional scholastic subjects;
– SEL puts teachers into positions that they were not trained for—instead of fully using the skills that they studied at university, teachers are being asked to take up a therapeutic role. A good teacher will already exhibit and encourage good character and development without a mandated class.
– SEL homogenizes students—the collectivist, group-think mentality behind SEL does not account for the unique abilities and demeanors of children. It strives to transform all students into the government’s preconceived idea of a well-rounded human, rather than allowing families to determine beliefs and values.
Summary: SEL is beyond the scope of educating our next generations in what the fundamentals of learning were intended to be. It is in the end government-dictated re-engineering of the person to fit a predetermined social, cultural and emotional system.
1. SEL is set to incur Triple Taxation on the Tax Payers of Geauga County and possibly every other County where agencies make requests of ADAHM Boards for increased funding to implement their programs based on SEL.
2. SEL is causing fear in The Geauga County School Boards, who should “be afraid of being sued” in that SEL fundamentally impacts families 1st Amendment Rights and fundamental Parental Rights.
3. My final thoughts: The effort given by opponents of SEL will be negated by a larger agenda of globalization that is promoted by those State School Board members appointed by the Governor or the previous Governor. This agenda is clear in many National organizations that have, since the ’90’s, determined that only government knows how to raise children and determine what they should be for the functions of society, culture and the workforce. I have witnessed this very program in socialist countries that I have been in. By virtue of mental health and drug rehabilitation agencies circling over
the County or Counties, one can see that it is assumed by those in the political bureaucratic class that ‘all children are mentally deficient’ and need behavioral and moral modification to be proper students and Citizens. Sad to imagine the destruction of family by the implementation of SEL.
Final Note: Mr. Governor and all who are addressed, I do not believe that this letter to you or any commentary from Citizens who see SEL for what it is will be heard. I have to write this out of moral obligation to my fellow Citizens and my fiduciary responsibility as a Geauga County ADAHM Board Member.
Therefore, If you really want to ensure emotionally stable children in education; If you really want to ensure a civil social society; and If you really wanted the best in moral education – then simply put the Ten Commandments back into the classrooms and the halls of every educational institution.
By the Way, It is not a violation of the Constitution to do so. I would remind the Governor et. All; that the key provisions of the Northwest Ordinance are instantiated in the Ohio Constitution. To that point, if one even has a cursory education of Ohio’s Constitution, which HB-239 intends to eliminate, then one can ascertain that SEL is a violation of all that Sovereign Citizens hold dear regarding Education, Family, Morality and Religion.