Louise Andrus’s View from Concord — April

By Louise Andrus

The trees are budding, maple syrup season is almost over, and people are thinking about planting their garden in a few weeks.
In the last issue of The Beacon there was an opinion article about HB 1473, an act relative to social-emotional learning in public schools. And the writer was wondering how I could be a co-sponsor of the bill. In 2019, New Hampshire officially adopted the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) standards. For about four years most schools have been making SEL a part of their curriculum.

Everyone has an opinion, and I thank the writer for her opinion. Please remember that following is my opinion and the reasons I was a co-sponsor of HB 1473. 

I would never deny a child that was in need of emotional help, but there are many agencies outside of school, that if a child needs help, the school could work with the parent(s) to obtain the necessary help, and then back out of the matter. A child’s emotional health is the responsibility of parent(s) and is not the school’s responsibility.  

Children have always had relationships, mentoring, and civic engagement long before SEL came into being. Let me give you an example. I came from a family of five children, I have three children and four grandchildren, which is 12 individuals, and we were all children at one time or another. Not one of us ever had SEL in school while growing up, and we all have great relationships with others; have received mentoring from first our parents and then our schools; and we are all civic minded in our own chosen areas. In other words, we are well adjusted adults.

In my opinion the Covid-19 and staying at home was brought about by adults. Most of the children, if they had been given a choice, would have gone to school and without masks. But most children were not given that choice. 

Adults need to let children be children. If allowed, children are resilient, which means they can and do withstand and recover quickly from difficult conditions. Schools have a part in a child’s life to teach them to read or do math, or history, math, or civics, but that does not mean the school takes over the well being of a child. That is the responsibility of the parent(s). 

Two working parents or a single parent working has been happening for many many years. I remember my mother-in-law saying that when she was a child, her mother (single parent) worked and the children were at home taking care of each other. That was back somewhere in the 1920s.  

My mother went to work and my dad worked while the last three of us were growing up. I worked off and on while my children were growing up. My daughters worked while their children were growing up. Two parents or a single parent working is not a new phenomenon.

SEL has taken over many schools and many parents feel that the schools need to get back to the basics of teaching children how to read or do basic math. Standardized tests which are only a benchmark tell us we need to improve teaching the children such as reading. If a child can read, that child has the world at their fingertips.

I firmly believe social emotional learning is taking over in our schools and the basics like reading and math are taking a backseat so to speak. That is why I supported HB 1473.
If I can be of service I can be reached at 603 648-2510 or l.a.andrus21@nullgmail.com.