This report represents federal, state, and local policy recommendations for creating a positive school environment. To read each of the reports in All4Ed’s series on how equitable and effective school discipline policies, equitable access to rigorous and engaging course work, and access to effective teaching work together to create a positive school climate, check out the full Climate Change series, available below.
Too frequently, education reform takes a siloed view that focuses on an individual issue instead of a broader and more comprehensive perspective. For example, students’ lack of access to challenging and rigorous course work and their lack of access to experienced, engaging, and effective teachers are often discussed as separate issues rather than within the wider context of school climate. School climate—the totality of factors that affect a learning environment—is talked about less often than individual factors, despite research showing that a school’s climate, whether positive, negative, or somewhere in between, is connected to the level of students’ engagement in their course work and, consequently, to their success.
Instead of responding to issues in isolation, school administrators, policymakers, and legislators should examine how these multiple issues fit together and affect schools and districts, as well as the broader education system. Failing to take a more comprehensive approach toward the goals of reforming education and improving school climate will result in limited, if any, success in achieving these goals. In this report, All4Ed offers federal, state, and local policy recommendations to create a positive school climate.