Serial No. 106-8


Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce
























House of Representatives,

Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth And Families,

Committee on Education and the Workforce,

Washington, D.C.





The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:00 p.m., in Room 2175, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Bob Schaffer [vice chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.

Present: Chairman Castle, Vice Chairman Schaffer, Representatives Boehner, Ehlers, Kildee, Mink, Scott, Kucinich, Woolsey, Romero-Barcelo, and Ford.

Staff present: Robert Borden, Professional Staff Member; Linda Castleman, Office Manager; Victor Klatt, Education Policy Coordinator; Krisanne Pearce, Professional Staff Member; Michael Reynard, Media Assistant; Lynn Selmser, Professional Staff Member, and Shane Wright, Legislative Assistant, Cheryl Johnson, Professional Staff Member, Alex Nock, Professional Staff Member, June Harris, Education Coordinator, and Roxana Folescu, Staff Assistant.


Mr. Schaffer. [presiding] The Subcommittee will come to order.

A quorum being present, the Subcommittee on Post-Secondary Education and Lifelong Learning will come to order. The Subcommittee is meeting today to hear testimony on discipline in schools. Under rule 12(b) of the Committee rules, any oral opening statements at hearings are limited to the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member. This will allow us to hear from our witnesses sooner, and help members keep their schedules.

Therefore, if other Members have statements, they can be included in the hearing record. Without objection, all Members' statements will be inserted into the hearing record.

Good afternoon. Welcome to the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families; you are not in the Subcommittee on Post-Secondary Education, Training and Lifelong Learning, although that is what I read in the script. You are in the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth, and Families, and we will correct that for the record.

This hearing is on school discipline. I am pleased to see so many here interested in the issue. Chairman Castle will be detained a few minutes on other necessary Committee business and he will be joining the Committee hearings soon.

As Vice Chairman, I will begin today's hearings.



The National Education Goals report for 1998 found that secondary school teachers in 37 States reported that student disruptions of teaching has become worse over time. Yet, the same report also found that between 1991 and 1994, no State report reported a significant reduction in the percentage of public schoolteachers reporting that student disruptions interfered with teaching.

The Indicators of School Crime and Safety report of 1998 found that 16 percent of public school principals reported that one or more discipline problems created a serious problem in their school in the 1996/97 school year. It defined discipline problems ranging from cutting class and tardiness, to student possession of weapons. About 8 percent of elementary school principals, 18 percent of middle school principals, and 37 percent of high school principals reported such problems.

Congress is concerned about these problems, and wants to explore whether there are appropriate ways for the Federal Government to help schools, teachers, and parents to create well-disciplined schools. I want every child to attend a school with a well-disciplined environment. I believe schools must have a well-disciplined environment in order for students to succeed academically. I have found that those at the local level often implement creative and successful programs to promote positive student behavior. We should support these efforts.

I look forward to today's testimony. I have asked witnesses to tell us about their successful practices. We will learn about the activities and efforts by local teachers and administrators that lead to well-disciplined school environments.

We will learn about the relationship between a well-disciplined school and improved academic performance of students. We will also learn about the contributions that out-of-school programs and activities and parental involvement can make toward improving schools' discipline, environment, and student achievement.

We have a distinguished panel joining us here today. Let me go through now and introduce those folks. First, let me remind witnesses that, under our Committee rules, they must limit their oral statements to five minutes, but that their entire statement will appear in the record. We will also allow the entire panel to testify before questioning the witnesses.

Now we will introduce our first witness. First, let me ask Representative Ehlers, he has a constituent here that he would like to introduce, and I will turn the floor over to him.

[The statement of Mr. Schaffer follows:]




Mr. Ehlers Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate that, since I am in another Committee, which is marking up a final version of the bill, and I have to move over there as quickly as I can.

I did want to stop by and introduce my constituent who is testifying here today. Ms. Elizabeth Metcalf is a long-time teacher of the Grand Rapids public schools. That is Grand Rapids, Michigan, of course, the only really good Grand Rapids. She has been in the schools 31 years, active not only in teaching, but also in working for the Michigan Education Association, and expressing her views there.

Her special concern, which she will talk about today, is discipline, and how to apply it. In particular applying it in such a fashion that you can identify those kids who are wandering off the right track, and discipline in such a way that you can get them back on the right track before they get too far off, and end up on the wrong track.

She has made a lot of valuable contributions to the schools in our community. I am delighted to have her here today. My only regret is that I do have to get back to the other Committee, so I won't be able to stay for the testimony. Thank you, Ms. Metcalf, for coming here, and I will certainly look forward to reviewing your testimony later.


Ms. Metcalf. Thank you very much.


Mr. Ehlers. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Mr. Schaffer. Thank you, and welcome.

Let me introduce the rest of our panel. Mr. Harold Wenglinsky is here; he is with Educational Testing Services, from Princeton, New Jersey. Mr. Wenglinsky is a research scientist with the Policy Information Center at Educational Testing Service. He and two other researchers authored a study on school and classroom discipline called, "Order in the Classroom: Violence, Discipline and Student Achievement." The study links school discipline and student achievement.

Ms. Brenda Williams is here from Broward County School District in Miramar, Florida. Ms. Williams serves as a resource teacher at H.D. Perry Middle School in Broward County School District, in Florida. Her teaching experience includes being a classroom teacher at the middle school level, and now as a resource teacher who comes into the classroom to model teaching strategies.

Mr. George Krupanski is here from Delaware Boys and Girls Club in Wilmington, Delaware. Mr. Krupanski is the Boys and Girls Club director for Delaware. He has over 29 years of experience working with non-profit youth service organizations. He also serves the adjunct faculty at Springfield College in Wilmington.

Mr. Gregory Jones is here from Holy Redeemer School in College Park, Maryland. Mr. Jones is the principal of the Holy Redeemer School in College Park, Maryland, and it is a K-through-8 school that is part of the archdiocese of Washington, D.C. Mr. Jones has served 23 years in Catholic school education, as a junior high teacher, a principal, a curriculum coordinator, and an assistant superintendent.

I want to welcome you all here. We will start with Mr. Wenglinsky.



Mr. Wenglinsky. Good afternoon.

The purpose of my testimony today is to outline what the research suggests about the problem of disorder in our schools. I will begin by presenting the dimensions of the problem. I will then discuss the consequences of school disorder for student learning, and identify some policies that might potentially alleviate the problem.

In this presentation, I draw primarily upon the results of my study, "Order in the Classroom: Violence, Discipline and Student Achievement." The central lesson to learn from that study is that, while levels of violence and drug use are far too high in our schools, there is as great, and perhaps a greater, problem. Namely, that many of our students fail to meet the basic standards of conduct that make learning possible, from treating teachers with respect, to attending class in a regular fashion.

The problem of school disorder is one of enormous dimensions. On the one hand, a small number of students engaged in acts of a felonious nature, causing a danger to others and to themselves. In 1996, for every 100,000 students, 10 engaged in raids, 17 in robberies, 26 in fights with weapons, 234 in vandalism, 274 in theft, and 444 in fights without weapons.

On the other hand, large numbers of students engage in everyday acts of rule breaking which, while not criminal in nature, do undermine the learning environment of the school.

Among public school principals surveyed in 1997, 67 percent reported student tardiness to be a problem, 52 percent absenteeism, and 48 percent smoking. While few students regard serious offenses as acceptable behavior, many regard minor offenses in a positive light.

Among 13,000 students surveyed as part of the U.S. Department of Education's national educational longitudinal study, while only 1 percent said that stealing school property or abusing teachers was okay, fully 29 percent thought that being late to class or copying homework was appropriate behavior.

High percentages of students also thought it was okay to cheat on tests, cut class, skip a day of school, or talk back to a teacher. Both the serious and minor aspects of school disorder have significant consequences for student learning. Using the same 13,000 students, I related various acts of misbehavior to test scores in 4 subject areas: mathematics, reading, history, and science.

I found that all types of offenses, from the least to the most serious, were related to scores in most subject areas.

The most useful strategies to reduce school disorder and its consequences, are those that can address both the more minor and common problem behaviors and the more serious, and less common, ones.

Again with the 13,000 students, I related different school policies to levels of school disorder. Two policies that I studied, school uniforms and zero tolerance toward gangs, proved ineffective. Tight security measures, while not reducing the more serious offenses, did reduce the more minor types. Having a continuum of sanctions did permit a proportionate response to misbehavior, reduced offenses of all types.

Thus, the two strategies that appear to be effective are one that targets less serious behavior to controlling student movements during the day, and one that provides less severe punishments for less serious behavior, and more severe punishments for more serious behavior.

In my opinion, the lesson to be learned from this information is that we need a quality of life initiative in the schools. As Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan has argued, American society as a whole has defined deviancy down, lowering the standards for what constitutes appropriate behavior. This growing tolerance for minor acts of a criminal nature, referred to as quality of life crimes, sends a signal to more hardened criminals that their acts too will be tolerated.

The mayor of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani, focused his crime control efforts on redefining deviancy up, through cracking down on quality of life crimes. Doing so has appeared not only to lower rates of those less serious crimes, but rates of crime generally. The research on school disorder suggests that the problem in schools also appears to be one of defining deviancy down, with incivility, tardiness, and cheating becoming the order of the day.

Thus, what is needed in the schools is a crackdown on these quality-of-life offenses, which may lead to greater order in the classroom generally. Given the enormous consequences of school disorder for student learning, a quality of life initiative should be front-and-center in any agenda for educational reform.

Thank you.

[The statement of Mr. Wenglinsky follows:]




Mr. Schaffer. Ms. Metcalf.



Ms. Metcalf. Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to address the Subcommittee about discipline and violence in our schools.

I commend the Committee for providing a forum to address the serious issue of school discipline. Much of the national dialogue to date has focused on heightened security and reexamination of juvenile justice policies. I would like to focus my remarks today on the importance of preventive programs.

Effective discipline policies and programs are critical to creating safer schools. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, we have recognized the need to identify and intervene at an early age with young people who may be headed for trouble. Students with poor social skills and learning deficits in the early grades, often become disruptive and frequently drop out of school.

A destructive behavior pattern can be firmly in place as early as the middle school years. Yet, alternative programs for younger children are not commonplace. Most are available for high schools only.

As a teacher, I saw students who had turned off to learning even while in class, because they lack basic learning skills and had given up. I had no way to help, however, without denying time and attention to the students who were engaged in learning. My colleagues and I would make referrals to Student Services for special help, but students' needs were many, and the resources are few.

The students, too often, were left to act out their frustrations with defiance. In Grand Rapids' public schools, a program called LEAP, meaning Later Elementary Alternative Programs, was started about 15 years ago. The LEAP program takes students in grades 4 through 6, between the ages of 9 and 13, who have identifiable and documented behavior patterns, and have been recommended by their classroom teachers and principals. LEAP assigns one full-time teacher and one full-time child-care worker to each group of 10 students.

The lowered student/teacher ratio affords teachers an opportunity to focus on each student and individualize teaching techniques. LEAP attempts to return students to a regular school environment within three months to a year.

When an opportunity arose in the LEAP program, I knew that the very skills I had honed, teaching gifted children, were the skills that could help these disruptive, alienated children become learners.

In LEAP, we find the most common denominator among violent youths is a feeling of disconnection from school, peers, teachers, and parents. Helping make and maintain these connections is one of the most significant and controllable things adults can do to minimize disruptive behavior and make schools safer. Young people who learn anger and disrespect for others outside of school can unlearn it at school under the right conditions.

Alternative programs with smaller classes and highly skilled teachers and counselors can help students overcome the trauma of neighborhoods torn by violence, help their parents learn to be supportive, and arrange tutoring help to overcome a learning block.

Disruptive children are often bright and quick to learn. Finding new ways to teach them, often enables them to experience social successes. When we find a way to reach them, healthy behavior patterns and learning skills lead to success.

For example, in my early years with the program, a fifth grade student joined LEAP. This young man presented a wide range of challenges, both academically and socially. With focused, individualized attention, we were able to help him develop the social skills to interact in a positive way with other students and the learning skills to master the curriculum.

Once he began to experience success, he began to behave responsibly. With one step forward, the LEAP staff would send good news messages to his mother, to join us in recognizing this child's progress, and to encourage him. This young man is a very successful high school junior in our school district. Each time any of us meets his mother, she once again expresses her thanks and his for giving him a life.

The key to the LEAP success is targeting of young children before their teenage years. Early intervention programs such as LEAP offer an effective and cost-efficient strategy for addressing school discipline and violence.

Disruptive students not only impede their own learning, but that of their classmates as well. Disruptive students need to be removed from the regular classroom, but not put out of school. Students prone to disciplinary problems and violence who do not have the benefit of intervention programs will be less productive and potentially destructive members of society in the long run.

Violence does not just happen with children in the lower class families. It does not just happen in inner-cities. Last year's tragedies in small and peaceful communities, triggered by young people from comfortable homes, shocked us and taught us a painful lesson. Unhappiness, stress, anxiety, neglect, anger, abuse, drug addiction, and mental illness, if unchecked, can lead to the extreme and violent behavior that left us grief-stricken.

Isolation and punishment are not substitutes for strategies designed to teach. Children who fall prey to destructive behavior must continue to be served in alternative programs with small classes and a highly skilled educator. Alternative education programs are not isolation centers. They are schools.

An investment in education, prevention, and intervention programs is an investment in increased student achievement, safer schools, and safer communities.

I urge you to help us improve the learning and teaching climate of our schools. Make schools safer, support families who are sometimes, themselves, at risk from defiant children, and serve young lives, by supporting programs where young people can learn to be contributing members of our society.

I urge Congress to make schools safer, by supporting effective early intervention and prevention programs that help young people learn to be contributing members of society. In particular, I urge Congress to support alternative education programs to teach healthy behavior and learning skills to students who are unable to cope with schools or the classrooms. These programs are a lifeline for many troubled students.

Smaller classes, particularly in the early grades, enable teachers to assess early warning signs of disruptive, violent behavior. I urge Congress to authorize the class size reduction program, authorized as part of the Fiscal Year 1999 Appropriation Bill.

Establish 21st century learning centers and other before-and after-school programs. Such programs help students develop stronger learning skills and social skills and offer adult supervision during a time of day when children are particularly at risk.

Expand public schools and police partnerships through the Department of Justice community oriented policy programs, and drug-free schools and community programs. These programs integrate school and community effort to find effective solutions to shared problems.

I also encourage Congress to oppose efforts to lower the age at which juveniles may be tried as adults and permit runaways to be jailed with juvenile offenders and possible adults. These measures serve only to return children to the street with destructive behaviors even more ingrained.

Thank you for the opportunity to address this Subcommittee today.

[The statement of Ms. Metcalf follows:]




Mr. Schaffer. Thank you, Ms. Metcalf.

We will go next to Mr. Krupanski. The light is right in front, by the way. It will help you keep track of where the time is. We will let you say whatever you want to say. You have all come great distances, but the red light lights up after around five minutes. If you need a little more time, go ahead and take it. It is just there as a guide.


Mr. Krupanski.



Mr. Krupanski. Thank you, Mr. Vice Chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to testify today and, seeing as I have a two o'clock train, I am going to make my remarks as quick as possible.

Far too many children, especially those from disadvantaged communities, are falling behind in the classroom. They are labeled early on and cannot break the failure mould. As a direct result, juvenile crime rates explode, in and out of school hours, and are being committed by these same young people.

These same children who are unable to meet with success in the school system, are the same individuals schools often try to reach with a newly-established, 21st-century after-school program. Too often personnel who fail to reach these young people during the school day are being asked to lead the after-school initiatives as well.

After a long day devoted to teaching, it is often unrealistic to expect a teacher to be effective in spending another four to six hours, each day of the week, with the same students in the same location. In too many cases, young people are failing to adjust in school, and will continue their failure to adjust in school-operated, after-school programs.

Research completed by Dr. Reginald Clark, on why some children from disadvantaged circumstances succeed while others fail, found that we can predict a child's success or failure in school by examining how they spend time outside the school. If a youngster spends 25 to 35 hours a week in constructive learning activities, there is reason to believe that child will succeed. These constructive learning activities include interacting with knowledgeable adults, leisure reading, writing, hobbies, recreation, exercising responsibility, homework, and study.

Boys and Girls Club of Delaware recently opened a Boys and Girls Club inside the Middletown Middle School. With the help of leaders and parents, we raised private money to renovate an old maintenance area that had fallen into disrepair. Young people from the school exercised responsibility by helping with these renovations. Today, that club serves over 200 children daily, with a learning center, a computer lab., an art room, gymnasium, and an area for recreational games.

All the youth can be found helping younger youths, serving as tutors, helping with their homework, or simply reading to younger children. The principal of the school finds that this club has made a difference in the attitude of young people, and it has met the needs of many working parents who seek extended after-school hours for their children. This need for after-school care by working parents was one of the primary forces in establishing six other additional Delaware school Boys and Girls Club sites.

Solution I propose: in general, what you can do to address these needs is to support the initiatives that utilize schools more effectively for after school programs.

Open schools for use by agencies with proven track records in helping young people. More specifically and immediately, you can set aside $20 million from President Clinton's proposed $600 million 21st-century community learning initiatives, for use by local Boys and Girls Clubs. The cost of this proposal would amount to about $300 per child.

By supporting this initiative, those who are struggling in public schools will have the opportunities to see new faces after school to assist them in improving school performance and their overall education.

These personnel bring a fresh perspective and additional energy in working with young people. Outside agencies, like Boys and Girls Clubs, should be the lead agency in operating these programs. Why Boys and Girls Clubs? Because they have a proven track record in reducing crime. In Delaware, for instance, a new club in the Seaford community opened. Seaford police report that there has been a 61 percent decrease in juvenile complaints since the club has opened, compared to the same time over the previous 2 years.

Boys and Girls Clubs have proven track records in raising educational levels. In Delaware, a study involving 50 young people who were about to be expelled or quit school, participated in the club's educational program. Using pre-and post-tests, administered with the help of the Department of Public Instruction, 67 percent of these youths improved in their letter grades, and 68 percent improved in their self-esteem. Given the makeup of the target group, this is significant.

Boys and Girls Clubs are located throughout the entire United States, and can readily offer the opportunity for partnerships and collaborations with school in nearly every major city. Currently, one out of every seven youngsters in Delaware is a member of a Boys and Girls Club.

Finally, when many schools come to the table, they will truly only partner with an agency if that agency brings funds to the partnership. Pass-through funds, through local Boys and Girls Clubs, will help expedite this partnership and create highly effective, after school partnerships with communities throughout the Nation. Thank you.

[The statement of Mr. Krupanski follows:]




Mr. Schaffer. Thank you, Mr. Krupanski. Next, Mr. Jones.



Mr. Jones. Our local Representatives, my name is Gregory Jones, and I am principal of Holy Redeemer School located in College Park, Maryland. Holy Redeemer serves grades kindergarten through eight, and is part of the archdiocese of Washington. Our enrollment is 272 students, and the student body is somewhat ethnically and religiously diverse.

We believe there are certain principles upon which effective discipline is founded and that pre-existing conditions must be present in order for a discipline program to work.

First among these is a strong school principal, who takes ownership of, and responsibility for, the school and the well being of its inhabitants. This individual should be professional, courteous, firm, and present to the entire school community.

It is important, if possible, that the principal know each student's name, greet each one daily at the front door, and treat each student as an individual. We believe that such action on the part of the principal creates a positive school climate from the first moment a student enters the school building.

We propose that factors necessary for an effective discipline program are: a committed faculty, fair, consistent, and in agreement about the program of discipline; knowledgeable and involved parents, and a published and promulgated discipline program. These prerequisites make the students receptive to this most important area of growth and development.

In developing and implementing the discipline program at Holy Redeemer school, we have had to overcome challenges such as: Developing a positive, not punitive, program; building a faculty which agrees with, and carries out, the program; educating parents so that they buy into the program; differentiating between learning and behavioral difficulties; and making appropriate accommodations for students with learning disabilities.

The Holy Redeemer self-discipline program can be adapted to all schools, with modifications. Our program strives to teach and foster self-discipline for the well being of both the student and the school community, and for the creation of a positive atmosphere for learning.

The program emphasizes the positive rather than the negative. Children need to understand that they choose one behavior over another and must take upon themselves the consequences of that chosen behavior. To create and foster a positive learning atmosphere, all Holy Redeemer students are expected to demonstrate increasing maturity as they develop in three important areas: respect, spirituality, and responsibility.

It is our expectation that a respectful person is one who believes in the dignity and worth of all individuals and who acts accordingly. While involved in Holy Redeemer School activities, students are expected to be respectful and attentive to others' needs; be gentle and sensitive in their attitudes toward others; play safely on the playground and in designated areas; resolve mistakes by talking about differences and creating positive solutions; and show common courtesy and good manners towards teachers, other adults, and fellow students.

We consider a spiritual person as one who lives his or her faith and values. This concept in a non-sectarian school could be called a person of character. Holy Redeemer students are expected to have a quiet and reverent attitude during prayer, prayer services and liturgy, treat symbols of the church in a reverent manner, recognize and affirm the goodness in others, and participate in special service projects to the parish, school, and community.

Lastly, a responsible person is one, we believe, who responds to meeting personal school and community obligations. To make a school a positive learning experience, Holy Redeemer students are expected to complete school work on time, follow directions, handle all school property with care, and participate in class with attentiveness and effort.

We acknowledge student growth in respect, spirituality, and responsibility by having a special celebration for each class every quarter. RSR star tickets are given out to those students who demonstrate exemplary respect, spirituality, and responsibility. RSR ticket holders or RSR stars are recognized publicly in a monthly school assembly and special events are held to honor them.

We feel that, in their efforts to learn to be respectful, spiritual, and responsible students, they make mistakes. As it is important to celebrate students' achievements toward becoming more respectful, spiritual, and responsible, it is also important for students to learn when their behavior departs from this path. Toward that end, there are fair and just consequences at Holy Redeemer School for students' behavior which interferes with attainment of these goals.

Inappropriate student behaviors and consequences are published and understood by all. Most discipline matters are handled in the classroom, by the teacher. Study reminder forms and behavior reports are sent out regularly and must be signed by parents. In addition to the standards for student behavior described previously, whenever a student's behavior in school deviates too far from the limits of acceptability, or his or her conduct is such that it endangers the property, health, and safety of others, action may be taken to restrict privileges and rights of school attendance.

Such action may be of five kinds: probation, in-the-room suspension, suspension in school, suspension, and expulsion. Offenses subject to these procedures are clearly spelled out in the student handbook.

In conclusion, Holy Redeemer School has experienced success with our simple, progressive, and highly adaptable program. Our program rests upon the promotion of positive behavior, civility and respect, consistency and fairness, good communication, and the willingness of the entire school community to make it work.

Thank you.

[The statement of Mr. Jones follows:]




Mr. Schaffer. Thank you, Mr. Jones.


Ms. Williams.



Ms. Williams. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee. My name is Brenda Williams and I am a teacher at Henry D. Perry Middle School in Broward County, Florida.

I am also a member of the Broward County Teachers' Union, which is an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). On behalf of more than one million members of the AFT, and my colleagues in Broward County, I am pleased to be here today to discuss a program that is being run in my district, that has a positive effect on student behavior as well as achievement.

Before I describe this program, I would like to outline some of the principles that work, principles that I think are essential for effective school discipline policies. Effective classroom management, district-wide discipline codes, school-wide discipline plans, consistent enforcement of discipline codes, implementation of programs to modify student misbehavior, establishment of alternative placements for chronically disruptive and violent students, support for the worker families, religious institutions and communities. With this in mind, I would like to further note that the Alliance of Quality Schools, a comprehensive program that is based on research, it is learner verified, includes all the principles that I spoke of. All of these elements are present and an active part of the program that is being run in Broward County, Florida.

The Alliance of Quality Schools is a comprehensive program that provides research-based intervention to school-wide Title I schools in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, parent involvement, and social behaviors.

All of these pieces are interrelated and equally important. Students of the Alliance Schools are involved in continuous assessment to ensure that they receive proper instruction. Each teacher receives ongoing coaching and modeling on instructional and classroom management techniques at the school site.

A family connection component is also an integral part of the alliance program. The program is not forced. To participate, at least 80 percent of the teachers must agree on the program. Once they have adopted the Alliance of Quality Schools program, there is an intensive and on-going professional development, feedback, and coaching.

I serve as a coach at Henry D. Perry Middle School. We use a variety of tools, including videos and audiotapes. Specific information and tips are provided on management of various behavior problems, intervention for at-risk students, discipline techniques for school busses, and strategies for establishing positive discipline policies. When necessary, we develop behavior plans for the individual students that are reviewed every two weeks. This is called an individualized behavior plan.

A majority of our first-and second-year Alliance Schools reported a decrease in referral numbers. The average number of office referrals in these schools dropped from 84 per 100 students in 1994/95 to 66 per 100 students in 1995/96.

A total of 17 out of 22 schools experienced decreases in the number of behavior problems that resulted in office referrals. At Henry D. Perry Middle School, the number of referrals dropped from 86 per 100 students, to 63 per 100.

These changes in student behavior and academic performance go hand in hand. Alliance of Quality Schools has worked hard improving not only student behavior, but achievement.

In 1994, 25 schools in Broward County, Florida, were listed on the low performing list because of low test scores on both the Stanford Achievement Tests, and State assessments. After the implementation of Alliance of Quality Schools, all 25 schools made it off the list.

In the county's elementary schools, reading scores have risen significantly. At one school, fourth grade scores on the State writing test jumped from 1.2 to 3.1 on a 6-point scale.

Because Alliance is based on research and proven programs like Success for All, and Direct Instruction, it is replicable. Even though I am very proud to say that the program was home grown in Broward, districts including Miami, Seattle, and Cincinnati are using similar programs. With similar resources and support, I think that many districts could meet our successes.

Some of the goals and beliefs of our program are that all children can learn. Behavior is learned and, therefore, can be taught. Behavior does not occur in a vacuum, but it takes time and the effort of all stakeholders at the school, including parent involvement, administration, teachers, support staff, and the students.

At Perry, we have seen such a decrease in suspension rates and referrals, and that is due to Alliance of Quality Schools, and the hard work of many teachers that are very passionate about teaching.

We understand also that learning has four phases. It has acquisition, fluency, it has maintenance, and it has generalization. The behavior program that we use at Henry D. Perry employs all four phases in our behavior plan.

Last, but not least, any effective behavior plan must have an instructional model. Too often, we teach academics and we tell in the area of behavior. Behavior is taught much like instruction is taught.

In closing, I would like to share just a brief incident at my school. At Henry D. Perry, we have many interventions. We go out to the feeder elementary schools, so that prior to the kids coming into the middle schools, we get test results, and we find out things that are suitable for those children. We have things such as a two-man team for kids that have not developed mentally as astutely as others. They get a little bit more nurturing until they are able to go out, into a six-man or a five-man team. We have alternatives to suspension; we have a program called Accent, because we believe that alternative placement, again, should be a school, and not a babysitting place.

We also have what we call Peer Mediators at our school. Often-times, before the principal received a referral, peer mediators began to mediate. The effect it has had on our referral system is just astounding. In one case, there is a little boy who doesn't wear his Peer Mediator shirt, but he carries it on his shoulder. When asked by his teacher, "why do you carry that on your shoulder every day?" He said, "I want to be reminded every day that I have to uphold the standard and this shirt reminds me."

I want you to know that he did that last year. This year, he is not wearing his shirt. He knows that he has a standard, and that his goal is to help other children.

I really appreciate this opportunity and time to share with you a program that works marvelously and that we are duplicating every day and evaluators have recommended that we increase, we started with 10 schools five years ago. We are up to 40 schools now.

Thank you so much.

[The statement of Ms. Williams follows:]




Mr. Schaffer. Thank you and I thank all the panelists for their testimony. Reminding the members that Committee rule 2 imposes a five-minute limit on questions, the Chairman will now recognize members for any questions they may wish to ask the witnesses. The Chair recognizes Mr. Scott.


Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I want to express my appreciation for the testimony we have heard today. It has been extremely helpful. Let me start off with one question to everyone. Does anyone believe that there is any constructive purpose to be served by suspending a student into the street, with no services?


Ms. Metcalf. I will respond to that question first. In my experience as a teacher, if we suspend a student into the streets, we have not dealt with the problem that that child came to us with.

As a teacher, it would be more helpful to the student, the community, and the family if we had intervention programs in place that we could use and help the children, rather than putting them out into the streets. Because, if they are suspended from school, in my opinion, they are going to get into trouble and then you get involved with the law, and the next thing that you know, they are incarcerated, and we know how expensive it is when juveniles are incarcerated.


Mr. Scott. So it is your view that suspension into the street would be counterproductive?


Ms. Metcalf. That is correct.


Mr. Scott. Does anyone disagree with that assessment?


Mr. Wenglinsky. Yes. What I think we should be primarily concerned with, or not be, is the small percentage of students who are causing the problems, but the rest of the students who are in the school and desperately want to learn. For those students, sometimes suspension can take away an obstacle that is preventing them from learning.


Mr. Scott. The question was not whether or not they should be removed from the classroom for the benefit of the others in the classroom. The question is, where do they go after they leave the classroom, and the question is, whether or not there is any constructive purpose in putting the kid in the street.


Mr. Wenglinsky. Well, I absolutely agree that they should be put into alternative schools and other alternative programs, but I think we should not let that distract us, or serve as an obstacle, to suspending students when it is necessary.


Mr. Scott. The question was not whether or not they ought to be removed from the classroom. There are many who believe that putting a kid in the street for a year, for example, serves a constructive purpose. Many of us don't think that serves a constructive purpose. That was the question.

I don't want to put words in your mouth, but I think your comment was getting the kid out of the normal classroom. The question was whether or not there is any benefit for putting the kid in the street, and my question is does anyone agree that there is a constructive purpose to be served by putting the kid in the street, rather than an alternative educational setting. No one wants to suggest that there is any constructive purpose.

Ms. Williams, you indicated that you are a teacher/coach. One of the things that has been difficult has been how do you pick a good teacher because teaching has an art to it, it is not an exact science, and some are good at it, some know teaching, but can't teach. Is there any way you can pick teachers, so you know you are picking the right ones?


Ms. Williams. As a coach, or as a teacher?


Mr. Scott. As a teacher. I mean if you are a superintendent of schools, how do you know, you don't want to hire people off resumes.


Ms. Williams. Exactly. I think that, for the most part, we have many good teachers, but there are occasions when we have teachers that need more assistance. We offer that through the Alliance program, and working directly with the teacher, not as an evaluator, but as a coach, as an assistant. Even with that, often-times you get someone that realizes that, "this is not my niche."


Mr. Scott. You indicated that your results were replicable. Do you know whether or not Miami, Seattle, and Cincinnati have gotten the same kinds of results that you have gotten?


Ms. Williams. I am not aware of that information, no.


Mr. Scott. Mr. Jones, you indicated the importance of the principal's knowing each student's name. You have a small school and it would seem to me that for a school with 500 to 700 students, that might not be feasible, to really know, if that is true. Would an assistant principal having that same responsibility fulfil the same_


Mr. Jones. Yes, assistant principal or other assistants, in a larger school.


Mr. Scott. Is there any excuse for a teacher's not knowing all of the names of the students in his or her classroom?


Mr. Jones. None whatsoever.


Mr. Boehner. I would be happy to yield my time to the gentleman from Virginia.


Mr. Scott. Thank you.


Mr. Schaffer. I recognize Mr. Boehner for five minutes, and his time is yielded to Mr. Scott.


Mr. Scott. Thank you. Does your process require expulsion to be a deterrent? You are a private school, parochial school. For some students, expulsion is not really a deterrent. I assume that you have this hanging over students' heads, the possibility that they might be expelled, is a serious deterrent. Is that true?


Mr. Jones. I believe that, first of all, expulsion is very rarely used. When it is used, we never expel a student without finding an alternative placement for that student. Sometimes, our classes are too large, to meet the needs of that particular individual child. So, sometimes a student just needs a new beginning. That goes along with putting someone out on the streets, never rejecting a student but finding an alternative placement is crucial, but expulsion is a last extreme in our discipline program.


Mr. Scott. Do you assume that the parents are supporting the children and that you don't have children in there without parental support?


Mr. Jones. We require parental involvement and support. We have a mandatory volunteer program in our school, so our parents are very involved. Mandatory and volunteer is a contradiction in terms, but that is really what it is. So, our parents are very, very actively involved in the school and we require and expect their support.


Mr. Scott. I noticed that several of the witnesses noted the correlation between success in academics and discipline problems. Does this suggest that the earlier we deal with students who are falling behind, the better off we are going to be? For example, if a student is approaching the third grade without knowing how to read, that we are looking at a future problem that needs to be addressed.


Mr. Metcalf. I would respond to that question. I definitely feel that, if a student has reached the third grade and is not able to read, unless there are some interventions put in place to help that child, you can almost rest assured that that child is going to be a problem as he gets in the higher grades. With my experience, I have experienced those kinds of things.

That is one of the reasons I am an advocate of early intervention programs at an early age. If we do it at an early age, I think this is going to help the child in the long run and maybe by the time they get to the middle schools and high schools, we won't have these problems, or at least we will have eliminated some of the problems that are now occurring in our schools.


Mr. Scott. Is that also why some elementary school teachers can say they can predict which students are going to be in trouble later on? I have heard that so often, that a third grade teacher can tell you which students are going to make it, and which students are not going to make it.


Ms. Metcalf. Well, based upon some of the research that I have read, I believe that is true.


Mr. Scott. In your LEAP program, you have a 10:1 ratio of students?


Ms. Metcalf. That is correct.


Mr. Scott. Now, all of these students are troubled students, is that right?


Ms. Metcalf. All of the students are troubled students. These are students that come to this program from other elementary schools throughout the Grand Rapids Public School District who have experienced violent behaviors and some academic problems.


Mr. Scott. It would seem to me that, if you have all students that are behaving, you could have a higher ratio. Is 10:1 of all troubled youth a low enough ratio?


Ms. Metcalf. Well, it depends upon the nature of the problem. The students that I work with, because these are potentially violent students, I have found that that number is more manageable. It is manageable because I can provide that student with the individualized time to talk to them, to provide some type of academic plan, to have time to meet with parents, make them aware of what the problems are.


Mr. Scott. So a 10:1 ratio is adequate?


Ms. Metcalf. Yes, that is very adequate.


Mr. Scott. Let me ask one other question, if I can get it in. Mr. Wenglinsky, you had indicated that uniforms and focus on gangs didn't work. What does your research say does work?


Mr. Wenglinsky. My research says that what works is having a set of graduated sanctions where a student does something that is not very serious, there is a way to discipline that student without going overboard. And, on the other hand, for the more serious kinds of infractions, that there is the opportunity to suspend and expel the student without having the kinds of safeguards in place that make it impossible to do that.


Mr. Schaffer. Thank you. Mr. Castle.


Mr. Castle. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

I am pleased to be able to be here and I missed everything you said. Actually, I am the one whose idea it was to have this hearing, because I thought it was so important, and I still think it is very important, and I am embarrassed that I don't know what you said here today in terms of my questions. So, let me just ask some general questions, if I can. Maybe, Mr. Wenglinsky, I should start with you, maybe not.

Is there any place, either at ETS or any place else, that is putting together the best of these programs or the best ideas of the programs, or trying to collect that information and collate it in some way and get it out in terms of a programmatic replication, or anything of that nature? Is that going on, or is it sort of happenstance if it is happening?


Mr. Wenglinsky. It is largely happenstance. There are some groups that are collecting information, but one group does not really cover everything. In terms of having social science information so that we can get a sense of what works and what doesn't, it is really not out there.


Mr. Castle. I think, Ms. Metcalf, I heard you mention how important early intervention is, just a few moments ago. I assume I am correct in that. I happen to agree with you on that. Has that been the experience of all of you? Have you been exposed to the early--by early intervention, I am talking about 0-to 5-year-old type programs, before-school type programs. I don't know if that is what the reference was or not. But, have they proven to be helpful, positive programs, in terms of the later behavior of children as they reach elementary and even middle school?


Mr. Jones. Yes, very much so. We use a school program called the early prevention of school failure, and we test children in K and 1, which determines where their learning difficulties may occur, or behavioral difficulties, and we develop strategies from the result of that test. So, we are doing it in K and 1.


Mr. Castle. Thank you. Ms. Williams, do you want to add to that?


Ms. Williams. Yes. As a part of the Alliance of Quality Schools, we have two parent programs. We have PACT and we have_I can't think of the other one; it just slipped my mind. But it is an early intervention program where a coach will go out to the home and intermingle and teach and intervene with the parent and the child in the home setting. That is as early as four, between four and five years of age.


Mr. Castle. Good. I know you have all heard this more than you would like to, probably, and that is the discipline in Catholic schools. I went to Catholic law school, but I never went to a Catholic school before that, but I have been in many of these schools and it is a fact, it is a little more of a selective process, but it is not as selective as it used to be.

We, in Wilmington, Delaware, have many Catholic schools that have many students who, believe me, are not Catholic and certainly are not Caucasian and are really coming from a mixed income and racial background. Yet, their behavior is at a higher standard and the stories of the little nuns snapping their fingers, and everybody cooperating, actually aren't quite as fictional as some people might think.

Is there anything to all that, or do you pass it off as a selectional process? Maybe you commented on it earlier. But, there does seem to be some greater ability of discipline; I don't know. Or the ability to remove the child, which obviously is an ultimate ability. But, has anyone looked at this to see if there is anything to be learned that could be carried over to all of our schools, because ultimately it is the public schools that I worry about.


Mr. Jones. I think that, from the moment a child enters your school building, they have to feel the care and love of that environment, immediately and consistently. I know we strive very hard in Catholic schools to communicate that sincerely to our children and to know them as individuals. Our schools sometimes are smaller. My school is 272.


Mr. Castle. I didn't know you were from a Catholic school when I asked that question.


Mr. Jones. I am, and I am able to know all of the students by name. But, in a larger school, I feel that it is important that teachers and their assistant principals and principals work very hard to know the students as individuals and to seek ways to complement them and build on their strengths, which we do on a regular basis. But, it is basically that we love the children and care about them, and they know it, and sometimes that love requires that we be firm.


Mr. Castle. Let me ask one more question, because my time is going to run out. That is something the President has helped put into place last year and proposed for great increases this year. Actually, it was put in place before, but it has really been increased in the last couple of years, with a big increase this year, and that is after-school programs.


Mr. Krupanski, who is from my seat, Delaware, may have testified to this before he had to leave, but is it your belief that these kinds of programs are helpful?

Last year in our nutrition bill we passed snacks for after-school programs. More and more schools are opening up their schools to after-school programs and more and more schools are cooperating in having their kids go to after-school programs. We are pushing some Federal dollars to go into this. I actually have a small bill to examine these programs again to see if they could be replicated to see what can be done, usually, with an educational component, or whatever.

Have any of you had enough involvement with any such programs to suggest that that is something that is very helpful in terms of the overall management of children, discipline of children and, therefore, the better discipline of schools?


Mr. Metcalf. I would like to respond to that question.

In Grand Rapids, we have put in place what is called the LatchKey Program. It is a program that is in the morning, from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 a.m., and then it is in place in the afternoon, starting at 4:00 o'clock to 6:30.

In my experiences, it has been very successful because we have a large number of parents who are single parents and they have no place for their students to go. They are working parents, and rather than having these children go home under no supervision, they can come to these programs. They have college students who are running these programs, they help the students with homework, and quite often I will stop in because there is such a program at the school where I work, and I have just observed and talked to the person that is in charge, and I think they are very successful.


Ms. Williams. I would like to add to that. At Perry School, we have a before-care and an after-care program, and we have used this time to extend instruction. We have test prep. in the afternoon, we have writing camps in the afternoon, also on Saturdays. We have had favorable response. In fact, this year, in one of our writing camps, we had about 130 kids shows up while in the past they only had about 20 kids who would come, and usually it would be kids that are successful. But, we went out and just made an effort to bring in those kids that were the neediest and it has proven to be very helpful to have these kids in an after care program.


Mr. Castle. Thank you. I yield back. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Mr. Schaffer. Thank you. Ms. Woolsey.


Ms. Woolsey. Thank you very much.

First of all, I would like to thank the Chair and the ranking member of this Subcommittee. This is a great panel. Thank you so very much. Thank you, and congratulations to you, for the programs that you have put in place that work. What I have heard, Mr. Castle, is prevention and intervention. That is the thread that we have heard today in many different ways. Stepping up to a problem afterwards, with intervention, but first looking at prevention. Mr. Castle mentioned the after-school snack program that we included in the nutrition reauthorization last year, so that 13-to 18-year-olds are eligible for snacks when they go to after-school programs. I raised four children and a bunch of athletes and I know how much they eat. So, I was really instrumental in making that happen.

But, something else that Mr. Castle didn't mention is that we passed the School Breakfast Program, so that all elementary school children can have breakfast at school. It doesn't matter what their economic status is, because if they are lucky enough to have two parents, both parents probably work and are commuting instead of sitting down to breakfast. So, we authorized the School Breakfast Program for elementary schools as a preventive tool. Successful programs are proving to us that a student who eats a good, nutritious breakfast is a better learner and a better citizen.

So, we passed that, and in the President's budget, he has funded six pilot programs for $13 million. So, we need to get that out and passed. So, anything you can do to help me on that, thank you; thank you, please do, because we are going to learn that prevention, like you are talking about, is the key.

Now, I want to ask you about two other--and you can comment on breakfast and snacks if you would like, I would love to hear good words about that. But, I also want to ask about acceptance curricula. I just came back from this civil rights pilgrimage over the weekend and it was clear to me that we have to bring acceptance and tolerance into our schools if we are going to talk about preventing violence in our schools. So, if you would talk about that.

The other thing I think is crucial in prevention is parental involvement. So, I am just going to throw snacks, breakfasts, prevention, acceptance, and parental involvement and let you talk to any one of those subjects you want, if you will, because each of you is an expert, and wonderful.


Ms. Metcalf. I would like to speak to the parental involvement piece because of my experience in working with students who are at risk. Based upon the documentation of difficulties that these students have encountered, I find it very necessary that parents or parent or relatives are involved in the learning of these children. That is the first effort that I take because, after the children come, first of all, I get into communication with the parent. Not just written communication, verbal communication. I don't take "No" for an answer. If they tell me they don't have the transportation, or they don't have the telephone, we go and pick them up.

We bring them to the school, into the classroom. If they are working parents, I tell them, "See if you can talk to your boss and get maybe an hour or two off." It is key because, if I am going to devote the time and energy that is needed to change the habits of this child, I think the family should play an active role in that part. So far, and I have been in the program five years, I have never had a parent say, " No, I can't come." They are more than happy to come.

But, I do have to make some provisions on getting them there. That is part of the program, to make sure that the parents are involved. So, parental involvement is key with the children that I work with in the LEAP program.


Mr. Schaffer. Mr. Kucinich


Mr. Kucinich. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee.

I am particularly interested in this testimony because, certainly, any barriers to effective learning by our students in our schools across this country has a long term effect on this country. Your testimony today, I think, is very interesting in a number of areas.

First of all, one of the things I am interested in is, what your reaction would be in terms of questions that have been raised about the relationship between the conduct in the classroom and the nutrition of the individual students. Would any of you like to comment on that?


Mr. Jones. I think it is a very important connection. We often see that children that are eating an unhealthy diet, in particular, a lot of sugar, will be hyperactive, will be agitated and unfocused in class. I think it is an important connection.


Mr. Schaffer. Mr. Chairman, I think this is something that is interesting. Do you have pop machines, or soda machines, in yours schools?


Mr. Jones. No, we do not. We have a juice machine. We sell fruit juices.


Mr. Kucinich. Is there a reason why you don't have those machines in your school?


Mr. Jones. Yes. We don't want the children to have the caffeine and the sugar, principally.


Mr. Kucinich. And do you feel that if they had the caffeine and sugar, that might contribute to hyperactivity and-


Mr. Jones. It does seem to make them agitated and unfocused, yes.


Mr. Kucinich. Okay. I also have another question here. The issue that relates to, this was the testimony that was given by Brenda Williams, when you talked about implementation of programs to modify student misbehavior and school districts should identify ways to nip behavioral problems in the bud, before they develop into more serious behavioral problems. Are you aware of the promotion of the drug Ritalin as a basis of trying to modify students' behaviors in classrooms?


Ms. Williams. Yes, somewhat, I am. Yes, I am aware that Ritalin has been used for students of different exceptionalities. In particular, kids that are attention deficit with hyperactivity. There are a couple of others they use, not just the Ritalin.


Mr. Kucinich. Is that considered to be something that would be recommended, for example, if there was a problem, or is that something that would be referred to a school physician? I mean, would teachers become involved in recommending it or would-


Ms. Williams. No, no, not recommending the drug. They will recommend the kid for testing, perhaps, yes, but never a recommendation for drugs.


Mr. Kucinich. Mr. Jones, could you respond to that?


Mr. Jones. We have probably, in 272 students, we may have 25 that are on Ritalin, and I believe another drug that is used is called Aderol. What happens is, if our students are very unfocused, very agitated, hyperactive, we will request that the parents take this child to a physician for evaluation.


Mr. Kucinich. Okay, and what about Elizabeth Metcalf? Could you comment on that? I mean, is there any practice that you are aware of where teachers, or school districts, are encouraged to consider the use of various drugs that might modify behavior?


Ms. Metcalf. I can speak to the students that I work with. I have 10 students and of the 10, 5 are on some form of medication. As a teacher, I would never recommend to a parent that a student should be placed on these kinds of medications, simply because I don't have the medical knowledge that deals with the pros and cons as to giving the children these types of substances. It just so happens that when the students come to me they are already on the medication.


Mr. Kucinich. Right, and I appreciate your answer. The reason why I raised the question, Mr. Chairman, is that in my district in north east Ohio, there has been concern expressed about certain school districts promoting the use of Ritalin and other behavior controlling drugs as a means of addressing classroom disturbances without the availability of some of the other strategies that you have talked about here. It is good to see, presented here today, this reflection of the responsibility that has to take place before you get to that point. We certainly know that there are young people who benefit from that greatly, for whom that drug is essential for the maintenance of a quality of life. But we also know, Mr. Chairman, that there is a concern that has been expressed in some places about the over promotion of it. So, I thank you.


Mr. Schaffer. Go ahead, Mr. Kildee.


Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Castle and I were not here at the beginning, only because we were before the Rules Committee testifying on another education bill, trying to get a rule governing debate on Wednesday.

I am teacher and am usually on time. I taught school for 10 years, 2 years in a Catholic school, a Jesuit school, and 8 years in a public school.

I would just like to make a comment. I taught in an inner-city school my last eight years. When positive programs in the classroom fail, the situation really goes beyond simple expulsion or suspension because we are going to meet those kids in our neighborhoods and your neighborhood. We are going to meet those kids in our future, so we really have to look beyond simple expulsion or suspension.

Alternative education, very often, is a kind of a patch, or slap, put on, rather than something that is part of the substance of the school system. I believe that if it is determined that for the good of the rest of the students that a particular student should be removed from the classroom, we have a moral obligation to make sure that there is a significant alternative program that is really part of that school system.

I haven't always seen good alternative programs. I have seen places that were almost an isolation ward. You isolate them over here and do a little babysitting, or police work, but not really provide them with education and formation, which is very important.

I think that we have to look beyond suspension and expulsion, when the positive programs fail.

Now I see a new phenomenon, charter schools. Particularly in my district, several for-profit companies are forming charter schools. I wonder what they do, if after their screening, they get some students in their charter school, that do become disruptive. What part of their system, or what system, do they direct those children to?

Do you have any particular concerns about how charter schools might handle students who are disruptive in the classroom? While I don't have any; I worry about it.


Ms. Metcalf. Well, this is not a positive answer, but it is a truthful answer, and it is based upon communicating with parents and neighborhood children. There were a significant number of students who left the regular ed. program of the school where I worked and went into charter schools.

After about six months into the charter schools’ program, half of those students were back at our school. I know a lot of the parents because we are part of the same church family or some type of community organization, and when we start to dialogue it is to, "Well, why did you come back?" "Well, we found out that my child was experiencing the same problem in that school that they experienced in the school they left from." Then I asked the question, "What resources, what intervention programs were used to deal with those type behaviors?" The answer that I often got, "None."


Mr. Kildee. Thank you. I appreciate your honest answer.


Mr. Wenglinsky. If I could respond to your comment about alternatives, I think that, obviously, we need to have alternatives, and the ones out there are not great. There is really a lack of research on successful alternative schools. They tend to be under-resourced. We really haven't invested the time or energy into improving those but I want to make the point that there is still really a problem in terms of suspending and expelling students and that problem is that it is very hard in many schools around the country to do it. That is an issue because, for the small numbers of students who are being extremely disruptive, the principal needs to have that particular response in his or her repertoire.

So, I just think that we need to be concerned about the alternative schooling issue but we also need to be concerned that principals are having some difficulty at times in expelling a student when they need to do it quickly.


Ms. Williams. May I respond to the same issue of alternative schools? In my 21 years of teaching, I think one of the missing pieces in alternative schools is a therapeutic component. I don't know how you get there, I don't know the financial part of it, the shortage of, I do know that a therapeutic component is very much needed in alternative schools.


Mr. Kildee. Thank you very much. Thank you Mr. Chairman.


Mr. Schaffer. I would like to ask a few questions and make some observations as well.

It is an interesting hearing and an important one because we expect the education system, both private and government-owned schools, to deliver a service throughout the country and to educate our children, to do it professionally and do it well.

What often seems to be at odds with that goal is bigger than just the discipline problem as it affects schools. We are talking about social and moral decay across the country generally, a whole transformation of what families represent, responsibilities that the public holds individuals accountable to with respect to raising their own children, and just general standards of behavior in American society to begin with.

These things are very different than they were a few years ago and it is almost asking quite a lot of our professional educators today to be more than just teachers, to be guidance counselors, to intervene, to be suicide counselors, law enforcement officers, drug interdiction agents, and everything else, and substitute parents, on occasion, too, for kids. It is a very difficult thing.

I served on a parent board for a charter school that dealt with discipline, and it was an interesting tool to use the peer pressure by the parents to assist our teachers, and try to enforce our discipline code at the school.

One of the things that frustrated me more than anything else was the answer and response we got back from parents, many times: "Why aren't you teaching my kids these things? Why aren't you teaching my children how to behave?" I am not talking about academics, I am talking about simple rules of behavior, respect for adults, standing in line, things of this sort. Older kids as well, the question coming back, "You have got all these programs, you have got all these professionals, you have got all these people in place to do all these things, and teach my child to behave. Isn't that your responsibility?"

At what point does our emphasis on school discipline and behavior of children become almost another opportunity for parents to shift responsibility to some government agent, or some professional? I am curious to hear if that kind of scenario has occurred to you in your professional settings at various points in time and just how you would answer that question.


Mr. Wenglinsky. I think that is a really excellent question.

There are all sorts of problems all over the country in terms of discipline issues, and a lot of these are problems in the home. There has been a lot of research on family breakdown that shows that not having two parents in the household is bad for the discipline of children. There is a lot of evidence that, when there aren't two parents in the household, children and parents are less likely to engage in educational activities and all sorts of things. There is a lot that is going on in the home that then affects what the student is like when he or she goes into school.

This can be talked about in a larger sense when we look at school crime because what a lot of the research has shown is that when we look at trends of crime in school, those are reflecting trends that are occurring in the neighborhood and in the community.

So, when we talk about school discipline, we always need to keep in mind that the school is just a small microcosm for a larger world and that there are some things that schools can do that are going to make a difference, that are going to make a student a little more manageable. Ultimately there is no way to get around that, if the parents aren't raising the child correctly, the child is going to be a behavioral problem.


Mr. Schaffer. Any other thoughts or comments from the other panelists on that matter?


Mr. Jones. Just a comment. In our school, we put a lot of emphasis on good manners and I have noticed that the parents’ manners have improved as well.



Mr. Schaffer. This question is directed to Mr. Jones, I suppose, and I would be curious to hear others. What impact can school choice have on discipline?


Mr. Jones. I think that school choice gives parents the freedom to make the choice for their child and helps them, assists them. We work very hard in Catholic schools to keep our tuition low. Tuition for a student in my school averages about $2500 to $2800, depending. But, I think that there are many people who do not have the resources to even meet that low tuition, who would be given a chance to give their child an alternative environment for education. I think it gives parents freedom.


Mr. Schaffer. Finally, I have one more question and I will finish with that. That is with respect to curriculum.

It seems to be that--and my observation has been rigid curricula demand more complete attention from students and have an impact on some children, not all but some--with respect to their overall behavior and ability to comply with discipline codes. I would like you to comment on that as well, any of you.


Ms. Williams. I would love to comment on that.

Initially, when we started the Alliance of Quality Schools, we did a lot of research on the correlation between effective instruction and acting out behavior and we found such a high percentage that most minor, even some major, acting out behavior is academic-related. Often times, the instruction was too difficult for the student, or sometimes too easy. Sometimes it was the presentation of the lesson. That is why our focus became not just behavioral but it became an academic initiative also, and we found, again, when effective instruction is in place, acting out behaviors decrease.

On the other hand, when good behavior management strategies are in place, academics go up.


Mr. Schaffer. Mr. Ford.


Mr. Ford. I would yield if anyone on my side had any additional questions, if Mr. Scott or Mr. Kildee wanted to ask any more. I yield to Mr. Scott.


Mr. Scott. Thank you.

I wanted to ask Mr. Wenglinsky, on the graduated sanctions. How individualized are these hard-and-fast rules, or are they individualized for the students, to make them work?


Mr. Wenglinsky. I'm sorry. Hard-and-fast rules for?


Mr. Scott. If you skipped class, you get this punishment; if you bring drugs to school, you get exactly this punishment, and there is no individualization at all?


Mr. Wenglinsky. Well, I don't know that there needs to be, that this can't exclude individualization. What is important, is that there is a variety of punishments, and that the punishments are responsive to the variety of things that students can end up doing. So, there is probably a lot of variation in the country in terms of how individualized these things are.

A good example to give is the Cincinnati public schools have written into their contract, actually, a set of graduated sanctions. What is written into the contract is not a list of specifically, for this student, for this offence, they can do this, or they can do that. What it does is deal with some specifics, that there are certain things that just are not tolerated, for example, abusive behavior towards a teacher, and that there are certain required punishments for that.

Then there are other things that are not specified where the schools have a degree of flexibility.


Mr. Scott. Have you seen any positive results when you have additional assistant principals or guidance counselors or other adults in the school that can track troubled students, in fact keep them in the right path? Have they been effective at all?


Mr. Wenglinsky. Well, my research has not taken a look at that particular issue but someone in the school where it does really make a difference, is security.

I did find that the more a school has security guards available, the better the school is able to control student movements and prevent things like loitering around, which is associated with students' not showing up to class and getting into other kinds of trouble.


Mr. Ford. Mr. Kildee, do you have any questions?


Mr. Kildee. No, I have no questions. Thank you very much.


Mr. Ford. I thank the panel and yield back to the panel.


Mr. Schaffer. I want to thank the witnesses for the valuable testimony and to all the Members for their questions. I have no further remarks, and if there be no further business before the Committee, I want, once again, to thank all of you for traveling, in some cases, great distances to be here, and for others, braving the harsh weather outside to be here, to share with us your thoughts, comments, and expertise on this important matter.

The Subcommittee stands adjourned.






[Whereupon, at 2:40 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]