New York state has received nearly $9 billion from American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP) to help reopen schools after the lockdown from the pandemic. The NYC Department of Education plans to use $80 million of the relief fund in FY 2022 to support the “Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)” needs of all students, a controversial psychiatric program that several Asian American parent organizations in New York are boycotting.
ARP stipulates that 90 percent of the $9 billion must be allocated to local school districts. It also emphasizes the need to ensure evidence-based interventions that respond to the academic, social, and emotional (CASEL) needs of students and address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on certain student subgroups.
Therefore, the NYC Department of Education recently introduced a system called the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment to assess students’ “social-emotional skills,” which allocates money to schools based on the size of the district, the number of poor students, English learners, minorities, and so on. According to the parents’ group, some parents received letters from principals asking them to fill out more than 40 intrusive, non-academic questions about their children’s mental health, which all K–12 students must complete by Dec. 4.