Giving Compass' Take:

• As classroom management and discipline becomes more difficult, some states are changing the discipline standards for teachers:  leaning towards less punitive measures and more restorative justice practices. 

• What are the benefits of this model? How can restorative justice have an impact on young students?

• Read about the role of social-emotional learning within school discipline reform. 

It doesn’t get the attention that curriculums and test scores do, but classroom management — the art and craft of keeping a room full of 20 eight-year-olds, or 35 teenagers, engaged and under control — is among the most challenging aspects of a teacher’s job.

A 2012 survey cited in a report by the National Council on Teacher Quality found that over 40 percent of new teachers reported feeling either “not at all prepared” or “only somewhat prepared” to handle a range of classroom management situations.

A big push is coming from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, which is responsible for establishing best practices in teaching, from subject area standards to special education. In June of last year, the commission rolled out a revised set of performance expectations that, among other things, require new teachers to be steeped in alternatives to traditional discipline.

And some school boards — including those overseeing the Los Angeles and San Diego unified school districts — are passing measures like a “school climate bill of rights,” which, among other things, mandates that schools employ restorative justice as an alternative to traditional discipline when students get into fights or cause other trouble.

And finally, suspension and expulsion rates are one of the indicators that are included in the California School Dashboard, the centerpiece of the state’s new school accountability system.

But establishing the standards is just a start, say Rodenberg and others who run teacher credentialing programs. They still need to find the faculty in teacher preparation programs who have practical experience with approaches like restorative justice and PBIS, then find student teaching placements, and eventually jobs, where new teachers can practice those skills.

Read the full article about school discipline standards by David Washburn at EdSource