The perception that our nation's public schools are disorderly and unsafe is widespread, and the image of the public school is deteriorating. Since 1974, the Gallup organization has gathered opinions about the public schools. The percentage giving the schools an "A" rating declined from 18% to 6% between 1974 and 1983 (Gallup, 1974, 1984). In a recent survey of America's teenagers, only 9% gave the schools an "A" rating (Bahner, 1980, p. 106). Lack of discipline tops the list of the problems adults see facing schools, and class disturbances and theft are reported by teenagers to be "very big" or "fairly big" problems in their schools (Bahner, 1980, p. 107). These public perceptions are fostered by and reflected in national media attention ("City Schools in Crisis," 1977; "Help! Teacher Can't Teach!" 1980; "High Schools under Fire," 1977). Public concern is also reflected in Congressional hearings where testimony creates the image of grave disorder within our schools (U.s. Senate, Committee on the Judiciary, 1975, 1976b; U.s. House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Elementary, Secondary, and Vocational Education, 1980). The public has given the schools low marks, and the Senate Judiciary Committee (1975) gave the schools an" A" in violence and vandalism. In short, parents, students, and public officials are alarmed at what they see as a rising tide of violence and disorder in the schools and are concerned about how much learning can occur in a disruptive environ ment, and about the safety of teachers and students.
Table of Contents1. The Problem of School Disorder.- How Much Violence Is There?.- Teacher Victimization.- Student Victimization.- The Imperative to Do Better.- Previous Research and Advice.- Early Forerunners.- The NIE Safe School Study Report.- 2. Scope of the Research.- An Organizational Perspective.- What Organizational Characteristics Are Important?.- Speculations about Origins of School Disorder.- The Approach to the Research.- 3. Overview of the Data, Plan, and Methods.- Data.- Plan.- School Disorder.- Methods-General Overview.- Level of Analysis.- Special Problems Associated with Aggregated Data.- Use of Rates in Aggregate Data.- Alternative Measurement and Causal Models.- 4. The Measurment of School Disorder.- Technical Note on the Measurement of Victimization.- Analyses.- Student Interview Measures.- Student- and Teacher-Questionnaire Measures.- Reliabilities.- Construct Validity.- 5. The Community Context.- Research Traditions in Social Ecology.- Critiques of the Ecological Traditions.- Implications.- The Development of Community Measures.- 6. Demographic and Social Composition.- Comments and Cautions.- Strength of Association.- 7. School Size, Staffing, and Resources.- 8. School Climate and Administration.- Principal and Teacher Attitudes.- School Governance and Sanctioning Practices.- School Social and Educational Climate.- Social Climate and School Disruption.- 9. School Security and Disruption.- 10. School Contributions to School Disorder.- Teacher Victimizations.- Student Victimizations.- Influences Beyond the School’s Control.- Limitations.- 11. Alternative Models of School Disorder.- Measurement Models.- Combining Structural and Measurement Models.- Models of Teacher Victimization.- Models of Student Victimization.- The Need for Better Measures.- Implications of the Models.- 12. Advice for Policymakers.- Promising Strategies.- School Size and Resources.- The Organization of Instruction.- School Climate and Disciplinary Practices.- Community Influences and Social Policy.- Some Negative Results.- Schools Can Make a Big Difference.- Learning to Do Better.- A Policymaker’s Guide.- 13. Some Speculations and Extensions.- We Have Chronic Problems of Discipline in Some Schools-Not an Acute National Crisis.- Is Disorder Increasing?.- Are Educators’ Hands Tied?.- Should We Establish Policies to Remove Troublemakers from Schools?.- Ordinary Controls.- Holding Schools Accountable for Safe Environments.- School System Self-Monitoring.- Monitoring Imposed by the Courts.- Broadening the Scope of Educational Assessment.- Will Creating More Orderly Schools Cost Money?.- Appendix A: Student and Teacher Questionnaires.- Appendix B: Item Content of the Scales.- References.- Author Index.