The federal Every Student Succeeds Act was an opportunity for states to rethink their education systems, including how they classify and improve school performance. But beyond accountability, ESSA plans encourage states to spotlight holistic support systems that can improve outcomes for students.
Indeed, states highlight a variety of policies and programs to improve conditions for student learning, particularly around school climate. Positive school climates correlate with a host of desirable student outcomes, including decreased absenteeism, suspension rates, and substance abuse. Schools with positive school climates have also been shown to narrow achievement gaps based on income and academic ability. There is no question, then, that states should devote resources to improving school environments.This article was originally published in The 74.