State Policies for Social and Emotional Learning

CASEL’s goal is for all students in preschool through high school to receive high-quality social and emotional learning. Because learning standards are an important driver of current educational practice at the state level, CASEL is committed to supporting the development of standards for social and emotional learning (SEL), preschool through high school, across the country. This page links to several key resources related to state policies and standards.

State Policies

In the past decade significant progress has been made in establishing SEL as a component of education policy. These policies are often instrumental in initiating the development of standards for SEL. Most noteworthy was the adoption of state policies that led to the development of state standards for social and emotional learning in Illinois in 2004. Several other states have adopted similar policies or are currently considering and developing such policies.

Read: A new CASEL brief (Oct. 2015) on what implementation of social and emotional learning in schools looks like in practice, including detailed descriptions of instruction and teaching practices by grade spans. Download the brief.

New: View the results of our State Scan Scorecard Project to see a comparison of progress in adoption of standards for social and emotional learning in all 50 states. Click here to view.

Download a report from the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs on how Illinois legislators adopted policies that led to the development of the state’s K-12 SEL standards.

Support for SEL Standards from the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)

In October 2013 NASBE chose SEL as the subject of a new periodical titled From Practice to Policy. Introducing the periodical on its website, NASBE wrote, “The recognized need for public schools to support students in areas beyond academics is not new, but recent developments in social-emotional learning (SEL) go beyond what has come before—and are starting to show improvements in both student behavior and academic outcomes.” Go to the NASBE website to download the publication.