Education Week - May 15, 2013 - (Page 20)

20 EDUCATION WEEK n MAY 15, 2013 n COMMENTARY Moving Beyond Punishment Treatment Is Key to Keeping Schools Safe By Lisa Madigan & John Suthers A t the age of 16, Don was the kind of student who keeps school resource officers up at night, with mental- and behavioral-health issues that led to his being found with a weapon at school, throwing a rock into an occupied vehicle, and taking part in conduct the law deems disorderly. Yet, less than a year later, he was flourishing academically, doing well in extracurricular activities, and serving as a remarkable role model to three little girls who shared the same foster home where he lived. Don—a pseudonym for a real student— was lucky. He could easily have been expelled from school and separated from the teachers and students who ultimately led him toward the positive behaviors that put his life back on track. Even luckier for Don, he got help. Right now, about 1 in 5 children and adolescents ages 9 to 17 in the United States has a diagnosable mental-health disorder that impairs his or her life and, in any given year, 4 out of 5 young people with such disorders fail to receive the treatment they need. As state attorneys general, we know the evidence shows that mental- and behavioral-health treatments and efforts to foster safe school climates go hand in hand when it comes to eliminating school violence. As schools and school districts consider various approaches to connecting students and families with these services, we encourage them to focus on programs that make wise use of public funds and achieve a proven impact on students’ lives. For example, upon referral from the juvenile-justice system, Don was enrolled in multidimensional treatment foster care, or mtfc, which has been deemed a model program by the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (an organization affiliated with the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder). Mtfc is used as an alternative to putting youths in a group home or juvenile facility. It provides foster parents specially trained on how to positively guide children’s behavior, as well as ongoing supervision by a program case manager and frequent contact with teachers, work supervisors, and other adults in the child’s life. Originally developed by the Oregon Social Learning Center for young people in the juvenilejustice system, it has been shown to reduce arrests and it returns nearly $5 in benefits for every dollar spent on it. But a key factor in Don’s success with mtfc was his ability to continue attending public school, which enabled him to interact positively with other students who were doing the right thing, as opposed to being surrounded only by those who could lead him into more trouble. He also received daily reading and study time at home and maintained close contact with school personnel. Staying in school also enabled him to participate in activities that required discipline and positive interactions with peers, including football, weight lifting, and track and field. Functional family therapy, or fft , an alternative to out-of-home placements for young people in trouble with the law, is another model program. It involves training parents to positively guide their children’s behavior. The students whose families received fft were half as likely to be rearrested as those whose families didn’t. Fft saves society nearly $31,000 per participant through reductions in recidivism and other benefits. Multisystemic therapy, or mst, is another alternative to out-of-home placement that keeps kids in school. It targets juvenile offenders by addressing the multiple factors—in peer, school, neighborhood, and family environments—that connect to truancy and delinquency. In one long-term study, a control group of children who received family therapy instead of mst were 62 percent more likely to have been arrested by an average age of 29. Mst is also cost-effective, saving the public more than $4 for every dollar invested in it. While all these approaches have had a proven impact, there are challenges to ensuring that more children have access to them and other mental-health and behavioral interventions. For one, teachers should receive training in how to identify signs of mental illness and then be prepared to refer students for treatment. While many teachers may understandably balk at the idea of taking on one more responsibility, they are often the adults who spend the most time with students. And, in many cases, their ability to sustain effective classroom environments may depend on getting help for individual students in trouble. But teachers can’t do it alone. They need support from administrators and school PAGE 23 > LISA MADIGAN and JOHN SUTHERS are the attorneys general for Illinois and Colorado, respectively, and members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a bipartisan, nonprofit anti-crime organization based in Washington. We Must Create Opportunities for STEM Learning By Sara Martinez Tucker O ur country is in trouble. That’s the key takeaway from my experience as the undersecretary in the U.S. Department of Education. We have been inching along in math and science while other countries are speeding forward. The United States ranked 25th in math and 17th in science in the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment. Education outcomes such as these mean our country’s businesses will have a tough time finding American workers who have the math and science skills to carry out the jobs of today, much less tomorrow. A 2011 Manpower survey found that more than half of American employers were struggling to find workers to fill key jobs that required advanced science and math skills. Case in point: The ceo of Siemens reported his company had more than 3,000 U.S. job openings, but only 10 percent of the applicants were able to pass the test for prospective employees. In other words, 90 percent of the applicants didn’t have the schooling to do the job. The prestigious President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, or pcast, estimates that our country needs to graduate about 1 million more profes- “ We’ve got a lot of work to do. Our country is just beginning to wake up to the fact that growth in STEM jobs is three times faster than in other sectors.” sionals in science, technology, engineering, and math over the next decade to stay competitive globally. And yet degrees in the stem fields account for only 17 percent of all degrees awarded in the United States, compared with the international average of 26 percent. While African-Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans make up a third of the U.S. population, they represent only 9.1 percent of college-educated Americans in the science and engineering workforce. Women are also severely lacking in the stem workforce. Fewer than 10 percent of U.S. engineers are female, even though women constitute almost half the nation’s labor force. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Our country is just beginning to wake up to the fact that growth in stem jobs is three times faster than in other sectors. Students who are facing the job search are getting the message that stem workers earn 26 percent more on average than their non-stem counterparts. What all students need is the kind of K-12 education that will equip them to succeed in college and go on to earn a living wage. How can we get this done? The message from the statistics is clear: We’ve got to make math and science amazing and accessible for more young people. We’ve got to revitalize stem studies for our country to grow and maintain its global economic standing. I have seen the phenomenal progress that the National Math and Science Initiative has made since it was launched in 2007 by leaders in business and science. The initiative is raising the academic bar in our public schools. More than 60,000 teachers have received personalized, intensive training so they can raise the level of rigor in their classrooms and have more students succeeding in math and science. More than 462 high schools are expanding Advanced Placement classes so that more students can master college-level work. As the president and ceo of nmsi, I’m particularly heartened that qualifying scores for African-American and Hispanic students in the schools participating in our Advanced Placement program are averaging a 107 percent increase in ap math, science, and English the

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 15, 2013

Education Week - May 15, 2013
Standards Supporters Firing Back
FOCUS ON: SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS: Wanted: Schools Chiefs for Big-Name Districts
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: E-Rate Programs Seen as Too Lean for a Digital Era
SCIENCE IN PRACTICE: Capacity Issues Confront Implementation Of Standards
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Bar for Teacher Exams Set Low In All States, Federal Data Show
Mobile Apps Aim to Deepen Lessons From Field Trips
Studies Link Early Spatial Skills To Math Achievement
Blogs of the Week
INDUSTRY & INNOVATION: MOOCs Provider Targets Teacher Education
SCIENCE IN PRACTICE: Informal Sector Seen as Ally in Science Initiative
Head Start Centers Feel Sequestration Pain
Arizona ELL Battle Carries On, Despite Ruling
Policy Brief
Impact Mulled on Waivers, Grants
LISA MADIGAN & JOHN SUTHERS: Moving Beyond Punishment: Treatment Is Key to Keeping Schools Safe
SARA MARTINEZ TUCKER: We Must Create Opportunities for STEM Learning
JENNIFER JENNINGS: An Apology To Secretary Duncan
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
RONALD J. BONNSTETTER & BILL J. BONNSTETTER: We Need a New Approach to Principal Selection

Education Week - May 15, 2013