School safety and climate has been a frequent topic in recent news, state legislatures, and the federal government. A number of advocates have indicated they plan to engage on school discipline, social and emotional learning, and other school climate issues in 2018. Though some advocates are newly engaging with this work, others are continuing to build on past progress. Read on for recent examples of school climate advocacy, including convenings, reports, and successful legislation.
- In 2016, Educators for Excellence-Minnesota members created an action guide for schools to address racial discipline disparities. At least nine schools have implemented the recommendations and reflected on their experiences.
- In partnership with E4E-MN, EdAllies is currently working on legislation to improve school climate and safety.
- Similarly, in 2015 Educators for Excellence-New York put out a report on creating safe, supportive schools for all students, and this year educators are advocating for additional funding for teacher professional development focused on non-punitive discipline practices.
- Last year, Educator for Excellence-Chicago’s teacher policy team released Sounding the Alarm, which outlines how schools can address student trauma in order to ensure emotional, behavioral, and academic success.
- In Delaware, the Rodel Teacher Council created a report on social emotional learning. Rodel continues to collect resources and work with educators and policymakers to support students’ social emotional learning.
- In Kentucky, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence convened a group of experts, educators, students, and advocates to discuss how to improve school climate, and their Student Voice Team has started to conduct school climate audits across the state.
- After years of advocacy, the League of Education Voters worked with partners to pass a comprehensive change to the state’s laws on school discipline in 2013. The law makes discipline data public and keeps more students in school by limiting the number of days students can be removed from class.
- As states were creating their ESSA plans, Patricia Levesque of the Foundation for Excellence in Education wrote about the importance of ensuring safe school environments, but advised that states not include discipline and school safety in their report cards.