K-12 Education

National Commission February Newsletter

February 12, 2019  • National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

A Nation at Risk is Finally a Nation at Hope
January 15, 2019

“We are here collectively to declare an end to a nation at division, a nation at fear, a nation at resentment, a nation at injustice. We are here to declare we have heard a new voice, a new rising. It is the voice and rising of a nation at hope.”

– Commission Co-Chair Tim Shriver

On January 15, 2019, in a room filled with young people and families, educators, researchers, policymakers, business leaders, and community members, the Commission released its landmark education report: “From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope.” Our hope is that the report shapes how America’s communities approach the learning and development of our young people now and for generations to come.

The call from the Eastern Senior High School Choir (Washington, D.C.) to “rise up” reverberated as a key theme throughout the morning as participants discussed key takeaways from “A Nation at Hope” and ways that communities across the country can and are actualizing the report’s vision in support of the whole learner.

Researchers Patricia Kuhl of the University of Washington and Mary Helen Immordino-Yang of the University of Southern California centered the conversation on the evidence base for this work, explaining the research that shows how both social and emotional engagement are essential for learning.

Seventh grade student, Prishtina Gashi, and her history teacher, Michael Kuczenski, shared the ways they’ve seen these social, emotional, and academic skills interact in their classroom through the example of their award-winning class project, which highlighted the stories of immigrants in their community and changed Prishtina’s attitude toward school. Diogenin Matos of Communities in Schools highlighted the important role community organizations can play in individual students’ lives through trust-filled relationships.

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson moderated a conversation with former governors Jack Markell (Del.) and Mitch Daniels (Ind.) and state legislators Robert Behning (Ind. House of Representatives) and Joyce Elliott (Ark. Senate) that demonstrated bipartisan support for the Commission’s recommendations and provided insight as to how they should be approached by state and local policymakers. And educators at the classroom, school, and district levels in Chicago and Tacoma shared the ways an intentional approach to students’ holistic development has helped their students thrive.

Finally, representatives from the Business Roundtable, National Education Association, and National Urban League reflected on the ways in which their respective sectors are playing, and should continue to play, pivotal roles in this work. At the conclusion of the event, Commission Co-Chair Tim Shriver gave a rousing call to action to create a better world for this nation’s young people, saying, “you cannot listen to the voice that says the obstacles are too high, you cannot listen to the voices that tell you we have to accept the status quo… Even if your voice is small, you HAVE to leave here committed to an alternative future.”

View a full recording of the #NationAtHope launch event
and read the report at: NationAtHope.org

In the News

“A Nation at Hope” has energized the national conversation on young people’s learning and development. The report has been covered both nationally and in local communities, and in both mainstream outlets that reach the general public as well as outlets that are trusted, go-to sources of information for some of our primary audiences, including educators and policymakers. Notably, the report and its recommendations have received bipartisan support, garnering praise from individuals and organizations that represent an array of viewpoints and philosophies. We share some highlights from the conversation below.

  • New York Times columnist David Brooks highlighted the report in his discussion of the role that emotions and relationships play in learning in Students Learn From People They Love.
  • Several educator-focused publications highlighted the report and its themes, including in-depth comprehensive summaries from The 74 and Education Week as well as the How Learning Happens special series from Edutopia featuring videos and articles that explore teaching practices grounded in the science of learning and human development.
  • A collection of op-eds by various Commission members and supporters have been published, including Whole Child Education: The Era of False Choices Needs to End from Co-chair Tim Shriver and Rick Hess, the director of Education Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute; and What will it take to place relationships at the center of schools from Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), Rep. André Carson (D-Ind.), and David Shapiro, the CEO of MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership.
  • Various blogs and newsletters have featured the report, including the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Flypaper blog and Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper.
  • A wide range of local and regional media outlets have also covered the report with a particular focus on the local schools and communities that were featured as exemplars.
  • In addition to the print and online coverage listed above, Commission Co-Chair Tim Shriver participated in a radio media tour on Jan. 29. He discussed the report and the importance of social, emotional, and academic development in interviews with 10 regional and national radio stations including NBC News Radio, CBS Radio Network, and Sirius XM News & Issues Channel’s “POTUS Politics.”

Support for a #NationAtHope

More than 100 organizations and school districts have signed on to a declaration of support for educating the whole learner. In doing so, they have publicly expressed their dedication to the report’s conclusions and recommendations to improve the social, emotional, and academic well-being of each and every child. In addition, more than 50 organizations have committed to concrete actions to further this work in their communities and across the country. Find out how you can join the movement here.

Finally, an array of organizations has also been sharing their insights on the report, including implications for their work:

  • Educators and educator-facing organizations, including Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen and ASCD have commented on how districts and schools can implement the Commission’s recommendations.
  • Youth development organizations, such as Communities in Schools and Afterschool Alliance, have shared their support for the report and insights about the ways these recommendations apply both in and out of school.
  • Organizations for policymakers, such as the National Conference of State Legislatures, have offered their insights on the January 15 launch event and the report itself.
  • Philanthropic organizations, such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Wallace Foundation, have shared the ways funding organizations are supporting this work and why social, emotional, and academic development is so essential for young people.

Organizations and individuals are also playing a key role in elevating the conversation across social channels. We have added new graphics and content to the social media toolkit for the report to help with this, and invite you to continue sharing your thoughts on a #NationAtHope.

Calls for Coaches to Support Emotional and Social Skills

On Tuesday, March 5, the National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development and the Sports & Society Program will release “Future of Coaching: Calls for Coaches to Support Emotional and Social Skills,” a resource to help youth coaches promote social and emotional development in their athletes.

We invite you to join us from 10:15am-1:00pm ET to hear from former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, University of Maryland soccer coach Sasho Cirovski, and other experts in the field of coaching and skill development. Find out more and RSVP at as.pn/coaching.

Mom’s Rising Twitter Chat

Join @AspenSEAD and @MomsRising for a twitter conversation around a #NationAtHope at 1pm ET on February 19, 2019.