While it might not be the most important factor in learning, teachers and administrators say it deserves more attention.

Share story

The movement to make social and emotional skills as important to a child’s education as reading, math and science is gaining ground, according to a national survey of educators published by the newsweekly Education Week, a national weekly newspaper.

About two-thirds of the 562 teachers and administrators who answered the online survey said that social and emotional learning is “very important” to student achievement, up from 54 percent who answered the same question a year ago, according to Education Week’s research center, which conducted the survey.

Washington lawmakers think so, too and included money in their new two-year budget to establish guidelines for social and emotional learning at every grade level.

Educators don’t say that such learning is the most important factor driving student achievement — both student engagement and teacher quality rank higher in the survey. But just under half also say their schools aren’t giving social and emotional learning enough attention.

The respondents were randomly selected from registrants to Education Week’s website. Although they represent diverse backgrounds, they are not statistically representative of the nation’s educators.

About a third of respondents said their schools use a specific social and emotional learning program.

The Bellevue and Seattle school districts, for example, are using the RULER approach, which was developed at Yale University and featured in an Education Lab story earlier this year.

Only 1 percent of the survey respondents reported using RULER in their schools. The most popular program in the survey was Responsive Classroom (18 percent) followed by Second Step from the Seattle-based Committee for Children at 14 percent.