- A new research brief from Penn State University and the Robert Wood Foundation found that for every $1 spent on social emotional learning initiatives, there is an $11 return on investment.
- The researchers found successful SEL programs integrate SEL principles into the total structure of the day and weave its principles into the curriculum.
- So far, the researchers found, 11 states — CT, ID, IL, KS, MA, ME, OH, PA, VT, WA and WV — have explicit SEL policies and benchmarks for elementary school students.
Successful SEL plans reflect appropriate understanding of child psychological development, include families, and are culturally and linguistically sensitive, the researchers say, and there is an equal measure of success for students across demographic groups.
Social emotional learning is not just important for young children, however. Institutions of higher education that focus on educating the whole student, rather than simply teaching to text, see more success with student persistence and graduation, and they produce graduates who have the soft skills employers are seeking. A focus on SEL at every level will help close not only achievement gaps, but the gaps between who graduates are and what the workforce needs.