There’s never a moment in the world of public education that it’s safe to let your guard down. Just when you begin to think the tide is beginning to turn or it can’t get any worse, educational elites dream up some new, disastrous scheme aimed at manipulating our children and turning them into delusional, politically correct drones.

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the latest dangerous, feel-good fad to hit the classrooms. As Ann Marie Banfield notes, SEL is the “process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.”

Where among the traditional academic pillars of “reading, writing and arithmetic” do “managing emotions,” “empathy,” and “maintaining positive emotions” belong? And what qualifications do schoolteachers, many of whom have proven themselves to be utterly incompetent at teaching kids basic skills, have that makes them capable of analyzing, diagnosing and treating children’s mental illnesses?

Not many, Banfield observes.

“Recently, I read an email from the director of special education in Alton, New Hampshire,” Banfield wrote. “She explained to parents how they would be teaching ‘social thinking.’ … I decided to take this information to an expert in child psychology. Someone who has credentials and expertise in the field of psychology. I wondered how three-days of training could possibly make someone qualified to treat a child’s mental health. Should this kind of treatment be provided to all children? Should it be provided to special ed students? Should this be part of a school program or did these children deserve expert quality treatment from licensed professionals who’ve had years of education, training and experience?”

The response Banfield received from Dr. Gary Thompson, Psy.D., co-founder of the Early Life Child Psychology & Education Center, is, as Banfield rightly declares, “eye-opening.”

Thompson records that two years ago, then-U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan cited research unrelated to the new rules he was trying at the time to bring about regarding special education, and used them to implement his sweeping social agenda in government school classrooms.

Now, New Hampshire is now among one of the first states to administer mental health assessments on students. New York isn’t far behind.

“Bluntly put,” Thompson wrote, “if the state of New Hampshire is willing to enrich an ethically and scientifically challenged private ‘doctor’ and organization to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars to roll out an experimental program without the consent of parents of divergent learning children in order to ‘feel good,’ then the state powers to be (or concerned advocacy groups) can write out a check to my clinicians and researchers for a ‘mere’ $10,000.00 to debunk this psuedo-science.”

New Hampshire children — and soon enough, children in many other states — are being used as guinea pigs in big government’s psychological experiment. Shrewd bureaucrats disguise their sinister plots with vague language and bolster their motives with “research” everyone believes backs up their claims but, as Thompson points out, often do nothing of the sort.

Today, we can’t even trust government to do what it says it will with something as simple as our Social Security contributions, so why would we trust government with the formation of children’s psyches? Government employees have a singular motive: to grow a society to be dependent on the system that serves their interests. Their first step is infiltrating the minds of the nation’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens, and our first step, as citizens alarmed by the dystopian nature of SEL, must be to take away government’s power, by stripping their schools of their influence.