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Advancement Project, Alliance for Educational Justice, Gay-Straight Alliance Network
While it's necessary to address the bullying that goes on in schools, we need to do so in a way that employs discipline methods that keep kids in school for all but the worst offense and that address the root problems causing the misbehavior. Of the 42 states with bullying laws, 24 of them (57 percent) rely solely on punitive measures. These zero-tolerance policies have not only failed to make schools safer, they have produced a variety of harmful outcomes including the unnecessary use of school-based arrest and juvenile court citations; the overuse and misuse of out-of-school suspense and expulsions; and aggressive, in-school security measures such as metal detectors, surveillance cameras and school security or law enforcement officials. This "dangerous cocktail of policies and practices" is criminalizing our students rather than helping them grow and develop appropriate behaviors.
American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts and Citizens for Juvenile Justice
Students who are arrested at school are three times more likely to drop out than those who are not, and those who do are more likely to end up in the criminal justice system than those who remain in school. While some school districts use on-site officers to apprehend students who pose a real and immediate threat to the physical safety of those around them, others predominantly use these officers to enforce their code of student conduct. In such districts, officers are encouraged to arrest, in many cases using public order offenses as a justification, students who are unruly, disrespectful, use profanity, or show "attitute." This report examines the rate at which police officers in Massachusetts' three largest school districts - Boston, Springfield and Worcester - arrest students for public order offenses and the extent to which school-based policing influences arrest rates.
Education Law Center
The Second Edition of the National Report Card on public school funding, Is School Funding Fair?, shows that far too many states continue to deny public schools the essential resources they need to meet the needs of the nation's 53 million students and to boost academic achievement. The National Report Card rates the 50 states on the basis of four "fairness indicators" - funding level, funding distribution, state fiscal effort, and public school coverage. The Report provides the most in-depth analysis to date of state education finance systems and school funding fairness across the nation. How does your state measure up?
National Women's Law Center
The high school dropout crisis has received significant attention from researchers, policymakers and the media. What has been generally overlooked, however is that girls, too, are dropping out of high school at dangerously high rates. One in four do not finish high school, and the numbers are worse for girls of color. This report examines the current dropout rates for female students in the U.S., the consequences - both for the female students and their communities - of dropping out, the factors that put students at risk of dropping out, and policy recommendations.
Everyone Graduates Center
Roughly 10 percent of U.S. students are chronically absent from the classroom - defined as missing 10 percent or more of the school year. Chronic absenteeism increases achievement gaps at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, particularly for low-income students. This report, from the Everyone Graduates Center, identifies the causes of students' long term absence from the classroom (illness, housing instability, involvement in the juvenile justice system and the lack of consequences for skipping) and details the dire academic consequences for chronically absent students. The report also criticizes the fact that few school districts and states bother to measure and analyzes attendance data and, consequently, overlook and do not act upon chronic absenteeism.
Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families
Numerous national groups, including the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign and the Annie E. Cassie Foundation, have made access to quality early childhood education a crucial part of their campaigns. This report, from Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, provides further evidence that pre-K programs can make a difference in a child's long-term academic success and that they are espcially important for low-income children. This report is especially important as it shows the marked increase in student achievement as a result of a 2003 AR law which established the Arkansas Better Chance for School Success program for three- and four-year-old children who live in families with incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line. More than 59 percent of Arkansas children from birth to age three live below that 200 percent threshold.
The Resource Equity Assessment Document (READ) helps school boards and communities to measure the distribution of educational resources within and between districts. In doing so, they can engage in comparative assessment of problem spots and points of pride. Download the resource (as a PDF) below!
Thomas Beebe Institute for Wisconsin's Future
Fixing Wisconsin's school finance system is an issues that will come up again and again during the upcoming elections. This poliy memo provides background about that system, the impact on our schools of the most recently passed budget, and messaging points.
Institute for Wisconsin's Future
Finding and keeping good teachers is vital to all schools. In Milwaukee, where the racial achievement gap is so wide, it is especially critical as well as in rural areas where lower income students have few environmental resources outside of schools to bolster learning. This report investigates the factors involved in retaining urban and rural teachers as well as maximizing their effectiveness in the classroom. Interviews with teachers and school officials indicate that modest changes in educational systems could improve teacher retention and performance. Most significant reforms included systematic mentoring for new teachers and more realistic workloads. While these would require more school funding, the amount is not extravagant and the outcome could make the difference between success and failure in many schools.
Jack Norman Institute for Wisconsin's Future
This report presents in-depth data on urban, suburban, and rural districts and how they compare in the population of students they serve, the economic factors they confront, and the tax and spending responsibilities they face in Wisconsin's current school-finance system. It also includes a special section on districts in the northern lake region of the state. (44 pp.)