State Rep. James Talarico files house bill to implement social-emotional learning programs in Texas schools

House Bill 332 would provide millions in state aid funds and authorize schools to use compensatory education allotment funds to hire counselors for social-emotional needs, train teachers through trauma-informed care methods and create social-emotional programs. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
House Bill 332 would provide millions in state aid funds and authorize schools to use compensatory education allotment funds to hire counselors for social-emotional needs, train teachers through trauma-informed care methods and create social-emotional programs. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

House Bill 332 would provide millions in state aid funds and authorize schools to use compensatory education allotment funds to hire counselors for social-emotional needs, train teachers through trauma-informed care methods and create social-emotional programs. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

District 52 State Rep. James Talarico, D-Round Rock, announced Dec. 10 he has introduced proposed legislation that, if passed, would provide funding for social-emotional learning programs in Texas schools.

House Bill 332 would provide millions in state aid funds and authorize schools to use compensatory education allotment funds to hire counselors for social-emotional needs, train teachers through trauma-informed care methods and create social-emotional programs, per a Dec. 10 news release.

The bill outlines additional purposes for the funds outside of social-emotional learning programs, including providing assistance for child-care expenses related to students in danger of dropping out of school and covering costs associated with life skills programs.

Talarico said an onslaught of traumas have afflicted students due to the coronavirus pandemic, while educators have also experienced depression, anxiety, trauma and loss.

“During this pandemic, our kids aren’t just suffering academically, they’re suffering emotionally. As our schools recover from this global trauma, human needs should come before academic needs,” Talarico said in the release. “Too often, social-emotional learning is viewed as ‘nice-to-have’ rather than a ‘need-to-have.’ But that is incorrect. Social-emotional learning is not the icing on the cake—it is the cake.”