US Education Policy

The Kids are Alright

December 15, 2018  • Institute Staff

In 1983, when the US Department of Education published its landmark education report A Nation at Risk, it sounded an alarm about the failing state of US education and prompted decades of debate, deep passions, and even deeper divisions. It’s time for a fresh start. Next month, the Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development will release its own report, highlighting how communities across the country are finding success by focusing on the whole learner. Treating students holistically is the key to ensuring that young people thrive in school, in their careers, and in life. Now, a nation at risk can be a nation of hope. The commission’s report explains how supporting the whole learner means rethinking learning altogether. Developing social and emotional skills—such as the ability to solve problems, resolve conflicts, set goals, work on a team, and stick with hard tasks—must be joined with academic content not just occasionally but throughout the day. That’s a big change from decades of educational practices that assume focusing on social and emotional skills will only take time away from academics. The commission report offers recommendations that can help local communities address the comprehensive development of children. Read the full report here.