Testimony to the CGA Education Committee on House on House Bill 6557

Good Afternoon Chair McCorory, Chair Sanchez, Ranking Member Berthel, Ranking Member McCarty, and Members of the Education Committee. My name is John Board and I’m here to testify on House Bill 6557: An Act Concerning Social and Emotional Learning.

I would first like to associate myself with any remarks and any supplemental testimony from Dr. Christopher Kukk and Scarlett Lewis. During my time as an undergraduate at Western Connecticut State University, I had the opportunity to work alongside both of these individuals on policy relating to compassion and SEL.

Coming out of the pandemic it is essential that we have support systems in place for our k-12 students, so then we can set them up for success and they can reach their full potential. If we have learned anything from the last year it is the importance of human connection and to be more compassionate towards each other.

In his book, The Compassionate Achiever, Dr. Kukk defines compassion as, “a holistic understanding of a problem or the suffering of another with a commitment to act to solve the problem or alleviate the suffering.” — We need more understanding professionals in schools to help assist students through the complex and ever-changing environment they are encountering even more so than previous generations.

*Special education funding and formulas — examine also increase in IEPs/504s/PPTs and testing*

On a final note, I am also pleased to hear that under Commissioner Russell-Tucker’s tenure we are going to be pushing for a more interdisciplinary approach to education. As somebody who graduated with an interdisciplinary studies degree, I applaud this approach! Having students make connections across disciplines, and not simply regurgitate facts and figures is the future of education. When students study Sir Issac Newton’s theories in science class, they can do a literary analysis of the text of theories in English, while studying the history of the time period in social studies, and execute on formulas in mathematics — that is truly an interdisciplinary approach to education.

With that, I would encourage the committee to vote YES on House Bill 6557 and I am prepared to answer any questions which members of the committee may have. Thank you.

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Testimony before the Connecticut General Assembly Education Committee on House Bill 6557: An Act Concerning Social and Emotional Learning on Monday, March 8, 2021. Here is the video of the testimony.

An innovative, passionate, and outspoken leader who pursues change in public policy to make a difference!— Follow on twitter & facebook: @JohnBoardCT.