Education Week - May 11, 2016 - (Page 9)

SCHOOL SAFETY 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 data show. 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 high." 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, BLOGS 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 activities. 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 200 180 181.5 173.1 At School 160 Away From School 140 120 100 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. 80 60 40 33 24.1 20 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 in schools. "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 between." 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. physical safety?" That number peaked at 55 percent in April 1999 after the Columbine High School massacre. It reached its low point, 15 percent, in August 2008. 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 trend data. 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, the website of the Arizona Bar Association's charitable foundation. (The foundation's director is his grandmother.) 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. -JACLYN ZUBRZYCKI EDUCATION WEEK | May 11, 2016 | | 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
Report Roundup
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