Thank you all for the important role you played in moving the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) bill forward this session. I’m sorry to say that it was not voted out of the Education Appropriations committee in time for cut off last week. Although the majority of the members support the concept of SEL, they feel it is not the right time to integrate new models in the same schools where they are being forced to cut basic education funding. The SEL bill (SHB 1162) did not require state funding or school integration. I worked very hard to contact every member on the committee to clarify the bill’s intent and address their concerns, but I just think the budget climate has decreased morale enough to avoid passing bills that may lead to state funding in the future.
Much has been gained from proposing SEL this session that we can celebrate. First of all, we raised awareness! I’m happy that the relevant policy and fiscal committees in the House of Representatives have been introduced to the promising outcomes and investments SEL holds for our students. During the process, we learned that there is concern about the cultural competency of SEL which was addressed and we will be more prepared to speak to in the future. We have also been fortunate to have the Minority Executive Directors Coalition (MEDC) come forth with their support for SEL. We welcome you! So even though the bill didn’t make it this session, we have learned and gained many things that will help us prepare for our next attempt.
I would like to say that we will try again next session, but I think it would be best to wait until the budget crisis eases since it played a large part in preventing success this session. I hope that will be soon, and for more reasons than one! In the meantime, we will continue to build awareness and our list of supporters.
Again, thank you so much for your involvement. We would not have made it this far without you.