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State Department Releases Work Plan to Address Youth Behavioral Health Southern Idaho Education

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“If we could do this it could be a huge step forward in connecting families to services,” he said.

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The work plan misses one of the state group’s recommendations: Adopt a common framework for discussing socio-emotional learning in Idaho classrooms.

The SDE management team decided not to act on this recommendation in light of the a national survey suggesting that the term “socio-emotional learning” is unpopular with parents, and divisive political rhetoric around the term, Studebaker said. Socio-emotional learning (SEL) has been drawn into partisan debates over whether schools teach critical race theory or try to “brainwash” young people with liberal ideology.

The state is evaluating whether it will continue to use the term “socio-emotional learning,” Studebaker said.

“The commitment to components is still there,” said SDE spokesperson Kris Rodine. “It’s just the terminology that’s the flashpoint.”

Idaho missing a statewide rubric on how schools should provide behavioral health supports to students. A student’s access to mental health services at school depends on where they live and whether administrators have the funds or interest in providing these services.


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