Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is an educational process that has been adopted at the highest levels of academia. It is “spreading like wildfire” across all age groups and socio-economic levels. 

But where did it begin?

While some claim its roots go back to ancient Greece, Wikipedia states that:

“SEL began in the 1960s at the Yale School of Medicine in its Child Study Center.  There, Professor James Comer started the Comer School Development Program where he focused on the education systems of low-income African-American communities, particularly the elementary schools in New Haven, Connecticut due to their poor academic report cards.  The school implemented programs that focused on the social and emotional needs of the students.”

Social and Emotional Learning is defined in this Australasian Education Research Summary document as:

“the process through which children understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions” (CASEL, 2019).  SEL lays the foundation for happy, productive lives, including school success (Durlak et al., 2011, Heckman, Stixrud, & Urzua, 2006).”

That all sounds great.  So why write this article?

Dr. James Lindsay’s writes on his New Discourses site:

“What the F is Social-Emotional Learning? It’s a serious question.  Behind all the flowery language is a history, and that history demands looking at.”

Before progressing, it must be noted that SEL has already been superseded by Transformational SEL or TSEL.  Further rebranding like this is expected.

Since Professor James Comer’s initial experiments, SEL has been hijacked, adopted at the highest levels of academia and is now being prepared for global distribution.  The United Nations, the incubator for all global education and curricula, has created a vital purpose for the promotion of SEL; supporting the implementation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Recently, the US National Education Association Foundation developed the Foundation Lesson Plan for Global education, using SEL to indoctrinate children with the SDGs.  This publication reveals how the Freirean method has infused SEL in order to create a desperate need for SDGs deep within the psyche of students.

This has the added benefit of creating
“aggrieved activists, filled with stress, anxiety, depression, and fear about their future.”
(Dr. James Lindsay)

More on the Freirean method later.  Dr Lindsay spends several hours reading through and commenting on the NEA’s document in this podcast: The NEA goes Sustainable.

So, what is this SEL history that Dr. Lindsay demands we look at?

In my article Pedigree, I wrote about two men who were instrumental in developing UNESCO’s educational standards –

Robert Muller and John Fetzer –

both devotees of a leading theosophist, Alice Bailey. 

Muller, the New Age spiritual mentor of UNESCO developed the Common Core educational standard.  Since then, the Fetzer Institute has contributed SEL to this global standard.

In an Omm Times Magazine article: Fetzer is quoted as saying:

“If you look into the mystical side of physics you will see that science, perhaps unknowingly, is ever teaching the path of the
kundalini, of the chakras, and of the aura.”

When he died in 1991, he left his fortune to the Fetzer Institute.

The Fetzer Institute’s “ambitious mission is nothing less than the spiritual transformation of the world.”

The Fetzer Institute with Daniel Goleman founded CASEL.  From this article we learn that: “The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is the non-profit organization that coined the term ‘social and emotional learning.’  It has been promoting this educational philosophy for nearly three decades.  Nearly every K-12 school in America, public or private, is now using it as an integral part of educating its students.”

It’s obvious that SEL is infused with New Age mysticism.

If this is the kind of religious education you demand for your children, then you should rejoice in SEL, stop reading and return to your favourite yoga pose.  If not, please continue.

Before continuing, it’s important to note that SEL is currently in NSW and Victorian schools and looking to expand into other states.  The Australian Federal Government is attempting to remove specific discrimination provisions that are used when hiring staff for private schools.  This would prevent schools from hiring teachers with values aligned with the school’s ethos.  I wonder why.

Although rooted in Gnosticism and New Age spirituality, SEL is also Marxist in its praxis.

Brazilian Marxist Paulo Freire was instrumental in creating a program that secretly smuggled Marxist thought and praxis into the educational process.


There is none better that Dr. James Lindsay in explaining SEL and the Freirean method.

I’ve listened to dozens of hours of Lindsay’s work.  If you have children or grandchildren in school, you need to understand exactly what is happening through SEL and what can be done to stop it.  I’m going to include a few excerpts below, but you really should watch or listen to some of James’ work for yourself –

before the kids turn into today’s version of Mao’s Red Guards.

The following quotes are from New Discourses under:  The Marxification of Education Workshop (Nov 2022)

“Something has gone very badly wrong in education. Our schools are filled with divisive identity politics rooted in Marxist Critical Theory, but it seems almost impossible to nail down and fight against.  Children are being sexualized and sexuality-ized at younger and younger ages, and it’s disrupting their lives and well-being.  Children aren’t learning to read, write, do mathematics, or achieve academically in any subject, but they’re learning to become aggrieved activists, filled with stress, anxiety, depression, and fear about their future.”

The following interchange on Twitter (X) between a Rhode Island (USA) State Senator and a former school board member shows us precisely where SEL and similar programs are taking our students.

“What has happened is that education has been Marxified, which is to say it has been turned into a Marxist program running on Marxist logic to achieve Marxist ends by brainwashing and programming our children to become Marxist activists.  This transformation of education was deliberate, strategic, and rooted in both Theory and activism all along.

Education has been stolen from us and from our children.  Yes, stolen. It was deliberately transformed from within into something that is barely education at all anymore.  Instead, it’s a systematic program of thought reform (brainwashing) into neo-Marxist belief and activism.”

“How has this been accomplished?

The formal name for the transformation is ‘the critical turn in education,’ which ‘turned’ education from traditional models of pedagogy to ‘Critical Pedagogy,’ the application and teaching of Critical Theory to and through the education system.

Its purpose: to overcome what Marxists refer to as ‘the problem of reproduction,’ by which stable societies reproduce themselves from one generation to the next, especially through institutions involving children like religion, family, media, and especially education.

How on Earth did education get so messed up and stolen from our society and our kids?  While the critical turn in education enabled this “transformation” of our education system, the crucial piece that allowed it to happen is the work of Paulo Freire. He completely transformed education, not least by Marxifying it.  That is, in addition to creating the conditions to swap out actual education for political education, Freire structured his understanding of education and knowledge itself as a Marxist Theory of knowing and being educated.  Treating these as a special kind of bourgeois private property, Freire paved the way to abolish education entirely and to reimagine it as a system of brainwashing learners into critical Marxist consciousness.

Click here for more information on the Freirean method.

“The hottest buzzword in education today is Social-Emotional Learning (SEL), but it’s not just a buzzword.  It’s a huge program with almost universal installation (thanks to the Every Student Succeeds Act, ESSA, of 2015) and billions upon billions of dollars behind it.”

SEL looks innocent to the naïve reader.  In several of his podcasts, Lindsay recounts a particular second grade Mathematics problem in an SEL lesson plan he was provided with.  It goes something like this:

Billy drives with his mother to an amusement park located 50 miles away.  They have driven 20 miles.  How much further do they have to go?  Examining a lesson plan raises no red flags.  What the lesson plan does not show is how the trained Marxist educator uses it to brainwash students via the development of Generative Themes.  For example:

  • How many of you have been to an amusement park?  I see that some black and Hispanic children have not been.  Don’t you have enough money to go? Why is that? (White or economic privilege.)
  • Should Billy’s mother be driving to the amusement park?  Doesn’t that cause carbon pollution? Wouldn’t it be better for the climate if they took a bus or train? (Climate Change and Net Zero Carbon).
  • Billy is driving with his mother.  Who has no father in the home?  Who has two mothers or two fathers?  Who has a Transgender parent?  What is transgender?  Let me explain.  (Queer Theory in praxis).

These are just a few of the Generative Themes that a trained Freirean Marxist educator can draw out of a conversation without any evidence from lesson plans or curricula.

Whether it be mathematics or science, history or geography, any topic can become a pretext for Marxist indoctrination. The teacher simply uses the topic to develop “Generative Themes” or points of grievance for the students.

These Generative Themes are used to turn naïve and vulnerable students into Marxist activists.

Freie says that 17 is the optimal number of Generative Themes to achieve “conscientisation” (wokeness). 

See my article Seventeen for its spiritual significance.

As Lindsay states:

“Here’s the magic trick: the switch to the generative themes approach enables the theft of education.”

There’s much more I could write about this, but it’s more powerful for you find out for yourself whether I’m telling you the truth or not.

If you don’t take action, you may end up with someone like this living in your basement.

“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

St Paul’s second letter to Timothy, Chapter 3, verses 1-4