Restoring Community

Laura Mirsky passed this article along to me the other day. It discusses a study which perhaps should be obvious, that schools with higher bullying rates had lower academic test scores for students than schools where bullying rates were lower. Jeannine Stein in the Los Angeles Times / For the Booster shots blog writes:

Bullying can affect a student's academic performance, but a school's bullying climate may be linked with lower overall test scores, a study finds.

The study, presented recently at the American Psychological Assn.'s recent annual convention in Washington, D.C., surveyed 7,304 ninth-grade students and 2,918 teachers who were randomly chosen from 284 high schools in Virginia. Students and teachers were asked about incidents of bullying and teasing at the school. ...

In schools that had a more intense bullying atmosphere, passing rates on standardized tests in such subjects as algebra, Earth science and world history were 3% to 6% lower.

EdWeek also reposted the article, and there are some useful comments there. The thing that comes to mind for me is that there's more than just the intrinsic value of attending or working in a school where the climate encourages children to be nicer to one another. There's a functional reason for this, too. It improves individual performance and it also improves group performance. These are some of the concerns restorative practices attempts to address in schools.