School Quality, Safe Schools: An Empirical Analysis

Richard R. Verdugo and Jeffrey M. Schneider

While the vast majority of US public schools are safe, problems exist that not only threaten the teaching and learning environment, but cause substantive problems for educators. Sensing that certain troubling student behaviors can lead to greater problems, schools have implemented many safe school programs and strategies. Unfortunately, these approaches are viewed as "add-ons" by the education community; that is, additional activities and work for them. What is needed is a framework where safe school programs and strategies are fully integrated into the schooling process. Such a framework exists, and the purpose of our paper has been to integrate the safe schools literature with the quality schools literature in developing such a framework.
After reviewing the school quality and school safety literature we extracted main concepts from both bodies of research, and led to an overriding proposition. The proposition suggests that safe school activities can be successful if they are part of the larger task of developing and sustaining quality schools.
An analysis of school quality and safety data collected by the NEA tentatively confirms our main proposition. We found that school quality is significantly related to school safety. Additional findings suggest that safety varies across schools, middle schools have more problems than either elementary or high schools, and that the effect of school quality on safety does not depend on grade level. Taken as a whole, the effect of school quality on school safety appears to be very robust.

  school safety - education community - school quality

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  Verdugo, R.R. and Schneider, J.M. (2005). School Quality, Safe Schools: An Empirical Analysis. Revista Electrónica Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 3(1).
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