This is copied from Facebook. The same “Second Step” curriculum this teacher mentions is used in multiple school districts in Utah. See if your school is on the known list here, but if not, contact them to be sure. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1760530187472743&id=100005473355853
Opt out of SEL here:
Resignation Letter from Mr. Sam Crowley
Beloved Music Teacher at Draper Park Middle School for being required to teach the Social Emotional Learning program “Second Step” (shared with permission). They didn’t even give his last 2 weeks:
My Dear DPMS families,
This is a difficult email to write.
I have given notice to the School and District of my resignation. I will be leaving Draper Park Middle School within the next two school weeks. This has been a heart-rending decision. I love working with your children, watching them grow and develop. I will miss being with them very much.
I know that this will come as a surprise. It has come as a surprise to me and my family. I intended to be at DPMS for years to come. Unfortunately the social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum, “Second Step” was rolled out to Draper Park MS this year. Because I felt uncomfortable when our Admin announced that we would be implementing this program, I spent time reviewing the lessons, videos, teacher scripts, and student handouts from unit 1 for 7th grade curriculum, which is what I would be teaching. The more I watched and read, the more uncomfortable I became.
As a rule, I think that most people will agree that the skills, which the Second Step curriculum is supposed to teach students, are good and helpful. But way that these skills are presented in the Second Step Curriculum is concerning enough to me that I cannot, in good conscience, present the material to my students; material which teaches students that their parents are “roadblocks” to their goals; material which contains propaganda, and encourages students to become activists, among other things. I am especially uncomfortable with the anti-family undertone I have found find in the “Second Step” curriculum (particularly regarding the relationship between the students and their parents, which the curriculum occasionally calls “other generations”.) I am very concerned that this is in our schools.
I shared a detailed list of my concerns with our school Administration, who referred the issue to School Performance at the District level. At every level of interaction with school and district administrators I was treated better than I expected to be. (Parenthetically, Dr. Watts is perhaps the finest, most evenhanded administrator that I have had the pleasure to work with. His hands are tied in this situation. But even so, he has done more than I deserve to support me as we wrestled through this issue. We are fortunate to have him at Draper Park Middle.) My concerns were listened to, and a group at the district have taken the time to look at the relevant content to understand my concerns. Unfortunately, in the end, district personnel kindly told me that that my concerns are unfounded, and that I was seeing what I was “looking for”. They further indicated that the program, as applied in other schools through the district, is working well and helping achieve what they want. I was told that, as a teacher in the district, I am required to teach the concepts from the provided “Second Step” curriculum.
As a kind of compromise, I was offered some small flexibility in the way that I teach the material to the students, as guided an assigned district personnel. But having someone else tell me what I have to teach from a curriculum, which I believe doesn’t belong in the school, is even less appealing than the alternative.
I have advocated for total transparency of the curriculum for parent review, and an opt-out option for parents who are uncomfortable with the course. Because “Second Step” is a copyrighted program requiring a purchased license to access the content, parents can only review the lessons being taught to their students by going into the district office and having district personnel show it to them. No opt-out option will be offered.
I don’t expect all of you to agree with my decision, or that, given the same material to review, you would all feel reason for concern. But I hope that you will understand why I have felt the need to resign: that I cannot teach content to your children that I believe is harmful.
I also want you to know that I have not shared, and will not share, all that I am sharing with you with my students. I do not want to influence your children’s perception of the school, the “Second Step” program, or give them preconceptions about things which might make their time at the school more difficult or stressful. I will tell them that I was asked by the district to do something that I couldn’t do with a clear conscience, but will indicate that I have written to you with more detail so that you can share as much or as little of my concerns as you feel is appropriate.
I hope that you, and your children, will think kindly of me as we part ways. I have tried all that I know to find an acceptable solution which would allow me to stay. I wish all of you, your students, the school and the choir program all the best.
His email with specific concerns sent to his school administration and the Canyons District School Performance office with more details:
“Thank you for taking time to visit and hear some of my concerns. Pursuant to our conversation this afternoon, here is a list of my specific concerns relative to the 7th grade (returning student) Second Step course. I acknowledge that my perspective will be different from others, and that not everyone will share my concerns about the material. With the first day of school looming, I have only taken time to go through the first unit of the 7th grade course, which is what I would be teaching. I have read all of the material, teacher notes and scripts, student handouts, scope and sequence, and the lessons which are presented to the class in unit 1. Most of the concepts in the scope and sequence are good skills that I have no objection to. It is in the narrative of the videos, the examples used, and the assignments students work on that I find the material which makes me so uncomfortable.
Before getting into the details of my specific concerns, I want to express my displeasure that curriculum content was not available to teachers and administrators earlier in the year for review. I also want to advocate strongly for total transparency to parents. After reviewing the material myself, I believe it is critical for absolute transparency – that parents have total access to all of the materials used to teach the curriculum; videos, scripts, lessons, student handouts and worksheets, all of it. Parents retain the right to manage the education of their children. I feel strongly that, if Second Step is going to be a mandated curriculum at our schools, there should be an opt-out option allowing parents to remove their children from Second Step SEL courses.
UNIT 1 – General concerns about the unit:
•No discussion of what a worthy goal is.
•No discussion of what to do when a goal is not reached/achieved, even when you plan and work hard.
•Distinct anti-family undertones
From the introductory video (not the “video” section of the lesson):
1- Students are taught that other generations have not had to “think about the issues” that they to face today. If we follow that thought, that leads to the conclusion that other generations are not prepared to be helpful. Other generations is just nice language for parents, guardians, grandparents, etc. Teaching students that other generations, ie. their parents, are unprepared to help them is the same as saying that their trust and confidence should be in the system, and not the family. It is anti-family.
2- BLM propaganda is included in the video. I am happy to discuss being just and helping to end suffering. But when the only visual cue given to for the students to consider as the narrator speaks about the hardship of dealing with the “injustice and suffering” in the world is video footage of a Black Lives Matter protest, it is biased; it is propaganda. Propaganda has no place in our schools.
From the video in the “video” section of the lesson
1- Video example promotes students becoming activists and starting campaigns around the school. Activism is loud, pushy, and almost always places people into a closed-mindset. This is counterproductive.
Concerns across the lesson, video, script, and student handout
1- This lesson is poorly designed and left me with incorrect conclusions about the nature of mistakes and their relationship to progress or success. The lesson video tells the students that if the bridge hadn’t collapsed, the research that led to better, safer bridges wouldn’t have happened. Thus the lesson being taught is that ‘mistakes are necessary’. Or stated another way, we make mistakes to learn. This is wrong. We learn from our mistakes; but we don’t make mistakes to learn. The lesson promotes the idea that the building of the first bridge was not only justified because of what followed after the disaster, but that it was a good thing because progress was made. Not so. A good thing would have been to heed the warnings of engineers who were opposed to the cheaper project, conduct more research, and construct the bridge the right way the first time.
Concerns across the lesson, video, script, and student handout
1- A discussion about reaching our goals and identifying and planning for “roadblocks” that might keep them from reaching a goal. The lesson gives the following scenario: student has a goal. The student’s parents say that the goal is not an appropriate goal for the student. The lesson asks the students to decide if the parents are an “internal roadblock” or an “external roadblock”. Teaching students that their parents are “roadblocks” is not acceptable. This is anti-family.
Concerns from the lesson video in the “video” section and with the lesson conclusions
1- Game of Thrones reference in the video. Cartoon student has a book on the desk called “Game of Dragons”. Game of thrones is reprehensible media containing pornography, overt and explicit violence, and all manner of debauchery. The prequel series to game of thrones is ‘House of Dragons’. I discovered this when I googled ‘game of dragons’ to see what came up. There is no place for this in the schools.
2- The lesson promotes the incorrect idea that hard work, bravery, and careful planning will result in success. This is a fallacy. Sometimes, whatever you do, you lose, you don’t make it, you fail. No acknowledgement of this possibility, or the important skill of dealing with this kind of disappointment.
Concerns from the video, which is a repeat of the video shown in lesson 2, with the same
I am very uncomfortable that I am being required to teach this content to my students. I hope that I have expressed my thoughts and concerns clearly. I haven’t been able to review the entire course, but it seems reasonable to me to believe that there is sufficient evidence to pause and reconsider what we are teaching.
Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words. ~Robert G. Ingersoll