Education Week - May 11, 2016 - (Page 9)
National Survey Shows
Rise in Student Safety
Reports of student victimization at public schools continued a
decades-long pattern of decline, and
students' reports of fear of harm at
school also kept falling, new federal
Between 1992 and 2014, the total
victimization rate at schools fell
from 181 per 1,000 students to 33
per 1,000 students. Those victimizations include incidents such as theft,
assault, robbery, and sexual assault.
The data come from the annual
"Indicators of School Crime and
Safety" report, which is produced
jointly by the National Center for
Education Statistics and the Bureau
of Justice Statistics at the U.S. Department of Justice.
"The data show that we have
made progress; bullying is down,
crime is down, but it's not enough,"
Peggy G. Carr, the acting commissioner of the NCES, said in a statement. "There is still much policymakers should be concerned about.
Incident levels are still much too
The data are collected from surveys
of students, teachers, and principals,
as well as official reporting done by
K-12 schools, colleges, and universities. The report includes a range of
indicators about how schools keep
students safe, how they administer
discipline, and teachers' perceptions
of safety and classroom order.
Students generally seemed to see
school as a safer place, the data
show. The percentage of students
who reported being afraid of attack
or harm at school or on the way to
and from school decreased from 12
percent in 1995 to 3 percent in 2013.
About 21.5 percent of survey respondents ages 12 to 18 reported
being bullied at school in 2013,
down from 28.1 percent in 2005,
according to the report. The survey
does not ask students about bullying in general. Rather, it asks if they
have been a victim of a menu of specific behaviors, including pushing,
shoving, and exclusion from group
But the bullying finding is in
keeping with other federal data
sources and student surveys that
use different measures to gauge
rates of the behavior.
In 2013, approximately 7 percent
of students ages 12 to 18 reported
being cyberbullied anywhere during
the school year, according to the report, which does not include a yearby-year chart of this statistic.
By 2013, high school students
who reported being in a physical
fight on school property dropped to
8 percent, down from 16 percent two
decades earlier, the data show.
Local Data Important
Despite the federal findings, it's
important for policymakers and
school districts to use state and
local-level data to make decisions
about safety, school security consultant Kenneth Trump said. Parents
won't be comforted by improving
national data if their own children's
schools are experiencing high rates
of peer victimization, problems with
gangs, or emerging drug-abuse issues, he said.
And federal lawmakers shouldn't
assume they're off the hook, either,
Trump said. He cited a March report from the Government Accountability Office that found poor coordination among federal agencies to
assist schools in preparing for emergencies.
Trump said that the report's findings on K-12 crime are largely based
Away From School
Incidents per 1,000 students
By Evie Blad
Rates of nonfatal student victimization continued a decades-long trend of decline, the most
recent federal data show. The rates include theft, assault, robbery, and sexual assault.
1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
SOURCES: National Center for Education Statistics; Bureau of Justice Statistics
on surveys of nationally representative groups of principals and students, not direct reports of incidents
from every school in the country. Because of that, Trump said the report
ends up downplaying safety issues
"People need to understand that
this data is very limited in scope
and depth from multiple surveys,"
he said. "Federal statistics grossly
underestimate the reality of school
crime and violence. Public perception seems to overestimate it. The
reality is probably somewhere in
Parents Still Worry
Even as multiple indicators point
to improved school safety, parents
still call it one of their top concerns.
The polling organization Gallup
has found that such concerns seem
to spike after school shootings. In
2015, Gallup found that about 29
percent of its parental-poll respondents answered affirmatively to
the question: "Thinking about your
eldest child, when he or she is at
school, do you fear for his or her
MULTIMEDIA: Take a deeper look at the data showing that schools have
become safer over time. www.edweek.org/go/safer
That number peaked at 55 percent in April 1999 after the Columbine High School massacre. It
reached its low point, 15 percent, in
More recently, concern about
school safety rose after the 2012
shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. In
the wake of that tragedy, lawmakers around the country passed bills
requiring safety drills, revising gun
laws, and creating task forces to examine school security.
The new report is the first to include federal data on the Sandy
Hook deaths. Preliminary data show
that there were 53 school-associated
violent deaths, including 11 suicides,
in 2012-13, the report says. That includes the 26 children and school
staff shot at Sandy Hook and gunman Adam Lanza, who turned the
gun on himself as police responded.
While that number is higher than
the previous year's total of 45, it is
not a complete outlier in 20 years of
So what are schools doing to improve safety? From 1999-00 to 201314, public schools reporting the use
of security cameras increased from
19 percent to 75 percent, and the
number of schools that controlled
access to buildings increased from
75 percent to 93 percent. During the
2013-14 school year, 88 percent of
schools had a written plan for how
to respond to a shooting, but only 70
percent of those had drilled students
on the use of the plan.
Beyond that, schools have undergone changes to monitor and
improve school climate to ensure
students feel safe, supported, and
engaged. Those efforts, often paired
with social-emotional learning, can
decrease bullying and other forms
of victimization, experts have said.
MacArthur 'Genius' Winner: 'Grit
May Matter More Than Talent'
| RULES FOR ENGAGEMENT | Get ready to hear a whole lot
more about grit.
Angela Duckworth, the University of Pennsylvania
psychology professor and 2013 MacArthur "genius" grant
winner, released a book last week that explores and
explains her research on grit, which she defines as the
ability to develop and sustain passion and commitment to
achieving long-term goals.
Duckworth has captured much attention from educators
and policymakers in recent years for her findings that high
levels of grit correlate with success in many areas of life,
from college completion to making it to the final rounds at
the National Spelling Bee.
In her new book, Grit: The Power of Passion and
Perseverance, Duckworth explains her idea by exploring the
life stories and philosophies of people she calls "paragons
of grit," including the Seattle Seahawks, West Point cadets,
and successful business leaders.
Duckworth's book delves into her personal story. When
she was a child, her father would remind her: "You know,
you're no genius!" If she could go back in time, the Harvard
graduate writes, she would tell her father that raw talent
and intelligence aren't the sole drivers of success:
"I would say, 'Dad, you claim I'm no genius. I won't argue
with that. ... But let me tell you something. I'm going to
grow up to love my work as much as you love yours. ... I'll
challenge myself every day. When I get knocked down, I'll
get back up. I may not be the smartest person in the room,
but I'll strive to be the grittiest.'
"And if he was still listening: 'In the long run, Dad, grit
may matter more than talent.' "
That notion won't be unfamiliar to many educators,
who've embraced the grit concept in recent years along
with a wave of research and policy centered on a variety of
noncognitive traits and social-emotional skills.
Perhaps most interesting for educators, the book asserts
that grit can be developed both by individuals within
themselves and by outside forces who help them feel
challenged and supported. For schools, that means giving
students opportunities for deliberate practice so they can
learn what it's like to face a challenge and persist through it,
developing the skill like a muscle, Duckworth says. -EVIE BLAD
Arizona Student Creates App
For U.S. Citizenship Test
| CURRICULUM MATTERS | An Arizona teenager has created
an app to help his peers study for the U.S. Immigration
and Naturalization Test, which is now a graduation
requirement for high schoolers in the state.
The Arizona Republic reports that Riley Danler,
who attends an online school, created the app after
taking a programming course. It's available for now on
lawforkids.org, the website of the Arizona Bar Association's
charitable foundation. (The foundation's director is his
Do you suspect that answering questions about the
U.S. Constitution might not sound as enticing as the new
Kardashian app to Grand Canyon State youths?
To address that concern and make the test more attractive
to students, Riley has gained a corporate sponsor. McDonald's
is offering students Egg McMuffins in exchange for using the
app and for passing the citizenship test. The initiative's name:
"Be an Egg-Xemplary Citizen."
Arizona was one of the first states to introduce the
citizenship test as a graduation requirement, starting with
the class of 2017.
Riley is not the first student to use technology as a way to
help his peers learn about citizenship. A group of Nebraska
teenagers created a civics game late last year.
The simple apps play into some critics' arguments against
requiring students to take or pass the citizenship test: Some
have claimed that simply memorizing the answers to the
test does not guarantee that students have gained important
knowledge about civics and government.
But advocates for the test cite studies showing that
dismally few Americans can answer basic questions about
citizenship, such as identifying the branches of government.
EDUCATION WEEK | May 11, 2016 | www.edweek.org | 9
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 11, 2016
Education Week - May 11, 2016
Bungling Student Names: A Slight That Stings
Popularity of Ed Tech Often Not Linked to Products’ Impact
As ESSA Rolls Out, State Officials Vow To Hear Local Voices
Rich Districts Post Widest Racial Gaps
News in Brief
Study Says Teachers Feel Stressed, Discounted
Amid Rocky Start, College-Access Coalition Hires First Director
Migrant Students Kept Out of Schools, AP Investigation Finds
Scores Decline for Low-Performers On 12th Grade NAEP
National Survey Shows Rise in Student Safety
Blogs of the Week
Education Funding a Key Factor In Illinois Budget Showdown
ESSA Paves Way for Deeper Access to Wealth of K-12 Data
Blogs of the Week
Relative Motion In Education
Education Policy Should Address Student Poverty
Quality Physical Education Is a Life Changer
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
‘People Support What They Create’: Stakeholder Engagement Is Key to ESSA’s Future
Education Week - May 11, 2016