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The editorial “Congress should pass new education law to provide flexibility for states” [Opinion, April 12] is right on the mark in its call for reforming the No Child Left Behind law this year in order to give Washington more flexibility to enact its own reforms.

I also applaud you for highlighting many of the programs that “enhance student skills in mental health and emotional well-being.”

These social-emotional learning (SEL) skills are invaluable school-and-life success tools that include self-awareness, social awareness, empathy, emotional and behavioral self-management, relationship management and responsible decision-making.

In more concrete terms, a recent meta-analysis of 213 school-based studies involving more than 270,000 students found that SEL participants demonstrated significantly improved social and emotional skills, attitudes, behavior and academic performance, reflecting an average 11 percent gain in achievement versus students who did not receive SEL instruction.

Looking even deeper, SEL stimulates greater motivation to learn, expanded commitment and connection to school, increased engagement in schoolwork and better classroom behavior – all of which leads to school success, more productive adults and a better society.

Joan Cole Duffell, Seattle