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Quality Counts 2013 Focuses on School Climate and Discipline

On January 10, 2013, Education Week released its annual Quality Counts publication. This year’s report, Quality Counts 2013: Code of Conduct—Safety, Discipline, and School Climate, considers the impact that a school’s social and disciplinary climate have on students’ ability to learn. The report includes analysis of issues such as peer relationships, a sense of safety and security, and school disciplinary policies. It also includes highlights from a survey of school administrators and educators about their perspectives on school climate.

A few highlights from the report:

  • School climate emerges as a leading factor for promoting educational success, with 74% of school leaders reporting that school climate is “very important” to student achievement.
  • Opinions are split regarding the effectiveness of punitive methods for addressing student misbehavior. While fewer than half of respondents believe that “zero tolerance” policies and expulsions are effective, the survey did find that teachers are somewhat more likely to view punitive disciplinary approaches as effective ways to address student misbehavior, as compared with school administrators.
  • Schools are pursuing a range of strategies for improving student behavior, including school-wide behavior management programs such as Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, social and emotional learning initiatives, and restorative practices.
  • Poverty levels have a strong influence on educators’ views of school climate conditions. Educators from low-poverty schools reported consistently more positive school environments than educators working in schools with moderate or high levels of poverty.

In addition, Quality Counts 2013 includes a few other resources. The Chance-for-Success Index grades the nation and states on 13 indicators to describe the essential role of education as a person moves from early childhood, through the K-12 system, and into college and the workforce. The State of the States Report Card is an annual update of national and state grades in key areas of performance and policy such as K-12 achievement, the teaching profession, school finance, and standards, assessments, and accountability. Also available are online reports with state-specific findings and a federal school discipline database.

The report and online resources are available on the Education Week website.

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Policy Matters