PROBABLY THE SUREST – AND DEFINITELY THE NEATEST – WAY TO MAKE A MASS DIFFERENCE
The Big EQ Campaign’s fiscal sponsor is EarthWays, a non-profit public charity exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
As we all know, any person’s IQ, meaning Intelligence Quotient, is a measure of certain intellectual and mental capacities.
In recent years the term EQ (sometimes called EI for “emotional intelligence” and sometimes less accurately called “Soft Skills” or “Life Skills”) has gained a degree of public recognition as a measure of a person’s capacity for emotional awareness and self-management. When training in EQ development is combined with training in the skills to relate empathically and communicate well with others, and to make cogent decisions, the familiar term used in academic circles for such overall life skills training is “Social and Emotional Learning,” known as SEL.
Something very beautiful to behold is the massive positive effects such EQ and SEL skills and capacities can have on a person’s life, ability to learn, and long-term success. So much so that research proves that collective strong SEL (which includes EQ development) has the potential to elevate society as a whole – in the form of better relationships all around, less conflict, and more productive and healthier individuals, workplaces, institutions and communities.
Another beautiful factor about SEL/EQ is that it can be taught – and taught at the earliest years of a child’s development, as well as over the course of life.
In fact, whenever developing such skills is prioritized from pre-school through high school, the positive effects on academic performance, on lowering dropout rate, on the emotional and psychological health of students, and on overall school culture and climate (with healthy relationships replacing violence and bullying), can be amazing. This includes greater overall academic, career and life success. Schools that adopt the programs full-on with teacher and staff training and with student buy-in practices, also show way better attendance and far less drug use. (See Evidence section and watch the videos on this site.)
The programs also tend to open the door for other educational improvements and modernization, and are likely the best and cheapest overall tool for transforming the fundamental ways of thinking and being that lead to many mental and physical problems, social injustice, structural poverty, racism, crime, violence and other anti-social behavior.
There are also potential huge benefits to the economy, including from a far greater-performing and creative workforce and entrepreneurships, with potential lower taxes from savings on social and medical costs and criminal justice/policing. And properly implemented in daily curriculum, these programs are cost-effective, saving $12 to $15 per student in other costs, according to the best studies.
The Big EQ Campaign intends to be the first-ever mass advertising and marketing campaign whose sole and huge vision is to galvanize the general American public and all parents to mandate that every school include in its curriculum the development of students’ and teachers’ social and emotional intelligence and skills. This would include training in emotional management, in developing positive relationships (or RQ, for relational intelligence), in problem-solving and in collaborative creativity – to the benefit of children, teens, adults, school outcomes, and society and business (the economy) as a whole.
There are dozens of companies and institutions offering to schools excellent evidence-based programs designed to advance social and emotional learning. Scores of other programs that have not yet been evidence tested exist. Primarily created by child-development experts, educators, and university-based academics, these programs offer a range of curricula to suit many different school contexts. Overall, they seek to catalyze a universe of schools that are supportive, joyful learning environments dedicated to helping what educators call “the whole child” to succeed.
The program developers constitute an industry without an industry association that can make the American public aware of these programs. An estimated 95% of Americans have never heard the term “social and emotional learning,” and a large number of Americans remain unfamiliar with the term Emotional Intelligence. The Big EQ Campaign was created to fill this massive and unhelpful gap in public knowledge of the demonstrable benefits of these training programs.
By vigorously promoting the mass adoption of evidence-based SEL in schools without favoring any specific program, and by doing so independently of the industry of these small companies and organizations, the Big EQ Campaign expects to be associated in the public mind with credibly raising the EQ (and RQ) of the public as a whole. Remember the extensive “Got Milk?” advertising campaign which didn’t favor any single brand of milk? Think of this as the “Got SEL and EQ?” campaign – with the difference that we are also educating the public about the very existence of social and emotional learning opportunities.
Mass advertising is the way we intend to do this. Why? Because in our view SEL represents the biggest and most promising existing tool and skillset available to elevate education, human life and society to a higher, more positive level. And the public needs to know about it.