Durbin, Collins Introduce Bipartisan Resolution Marking National Social And Emotional Learning Week

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced a bipartisan resolution designating the week of March 6, 2023 as National Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Week.  SEL is centered on developing the self-awareness, ability to manage emotions, and interpersonal skills that are necessary for school, the workplace, and life.  Research shows that SEL promotes student academic outcomes, self-efficacy, and mental health, especially for students who have experienced trauma, by helping them cope and thrive.

“As our nation emerges from the pandemic, we are facing a national mental health crisis, watching children take cover during school shootings, and seeing teachers burdened with burnout.  We must focus on social and emotional learning to help students get back on track,” said Durbin.  “That begins with creating welcoming school environments and providing teachers with the tools needed to help students develop life skills.  I’m grateful that Senator Collins has joined my efforts in introducing this resolution to designate this week National Social and Emotional Learning Week.”

“Every child deserves a learning environment that is welcoming and enriching,” said Collins. “By showing students how to develop their empathy skills, express themselves, and respect others, social and emotional learning can help students achieve academic success, build strong relationships, and prepare for a lifetime of success.” 

“This resolution demonstrates our shared commitment to the social, emotional, and academic learning of all young people,” said CASEL CEO Dr. Aaliyah A. Samuel. “I want to thank Senators Durbin and Collins for their leadership, and call on decision-makers across the country to listen to educators, parents, community members, and students. SEL is essential –especially now as states and districts work to address the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student learning and well-being."

The National Social and Emotional Learning Week resolution would: 

  • Recognize the need to address mental health, behavioral, and other challenges that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Recognize that the research around SEL shows that SEL can help foster the healthy mental, social, and academic growth of students;
  • Support access to SEL for students; and
  • Recognize March 6 through March 10, 2023, as National SEL Week.

Durbin has long been an advocate for improving services for youth mental health and mentorship.  Durbin has worked across the aisle to introduce the RISE from Trauma Act, which would dramatically increase funding for community-based efforts to prevent and mitigate the impact of trauma, and expand training and workforce development efforts to support health care, education, social services, first responders, and community leaders to foster resilience and deliver services to heal the impact of trauma.

Durbin is also the author of the Mentoring to Succeed Act.  The legislation would provide competitive grants to school-based mentoring programs that train mentors in SEL and help at-risk students develop life skills.

Full text of the resolution is available here.