Reconsidering or Rejecting SEL/Character Education, Meditation/Mindfulness/Trauma-Informed, and Restorative Justice Programs (Part II)

Reconsidering or Rejecting SEL/Character Education, Meditation/Mindfulness/Trauma-Informed, and Restorative Justice Programs (Part II)

Put on Your Hard Hat and Bring Your Lunch Pail

[CLICK HERE for the Full Version of this Blog]

Dear Colleagues,


   As the Summer gets into full swing (notwithstanding Summer School classes in districts across the country), those responsible for overseeing our students’ educational futures do not take many breaks. Even when we are on “vacation,” we typically use the time to re-think, re-load, and re-dedicate ourselves to our responsibilities.

   And as many educators think about and are planning for the coming school year, sometimes we need to “go backwards to go forward.”

   That is, as we consider the newest needs, innovations, or acquisitions, we must “do our research” to make sure our decisions are research-based, student-focused, and applicable to our students, staff, and schools.

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   In this context, and as discussed in Part I of this Blog Series, we—in education—are constantly being flooded by newly-released reports and articles, social media posts and blogs, expert and “expert” interviews and podcasts, and marketing e-mails and solicitations (some concealed in “how-to” webcasts).

   Some of this deluge has been triggered by the need to soften the impact of the Pandemic on students, staff, and schools, while some of this surge is occurring to take advantage of the billions of dollars in compensatory assistance made available by Congress to districts for the next year or more.

   In Part I of this two-part Series, we analyzed a well-researched but still murky area of education that involves teachers and how they work together in effective, efficient, and collaborative ways to attain important student outcomes—Collective Teacher Efficacy.

   Then, we discussed an emerging, but still unproven, approach being recommended for the coming school year to teach students who have significant academic skill gaps due to the pandemic—Academic Acceleration.

   In both analyses, we provided data, information, and science-to-practice examples of why we should either (a) not consider these approaches (Collective Teacher Efficacy); or (b) understand that the needs they address are far more complex, contextual, and controversial.

[CLICK HERE for Part I of this Series]

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   In this Part II, we will turn to the social, emotional, and behavioral side of the school and schooling continuum, addressing the areas of SEL and character education, meditation, mindfulness, and Trauma-Informed programs, and Restorative Justice programs and practices.

   The consistent message throughout this Series. . . to educators, related service professionals, and other support staff is to:

   Critically evaluate the recommendations, testimonials, and research of the (so-called) experts in our field—including those from the:

  • U.S. Department of Education, its funded National Technical Assistance Centers, and the State Departments of Education (that, remember, rely on federal funding);
  • Non-Profit Foundations, Corporations, Organizations, Corporations, and Think Tanks—even the Gates Foundation, Edutopia—the George Lucas Foundation, CASEL, and others—that have their own educational and social beliefs, orientations, and political agendas); and
  • Authors of curricula, products, and tests—many of whom are backed by For-Profit Publishing Companies and Conglomerates that sometimes blur science and efficacy with marketing and hyperbole.

   We, as educators, need to do our own independent evaluations to (a) validate their research and recommendations; (b) make sure that they are applicable to our students, staff, schools, and systems; and (c) ensure that they are time- and cost-effective, and that they can be implemented with fidelity, consistency, and the needed intensity and duration.

   No professional worth his or her salt would discourage or be offended when questioned as to the validity, applicability, or utility of their work.

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SEL/Character Education: It’s All About Teaching Skills and Facilitating Student Self-Management

   The Pitch. It seems that virtually anything that relates to students’ social, emotional, or behavioral functioning these days is framed as SEL—"Social-Emotional Learning”. . . . and that many districts and schools state that they are “implementing SEL,” when—in the field—there are no clear objective criteria for what a research-based SEL strategy or approach is.

   And in a lot of ways, SEL is just “character education” that is “all grown up.” Indeed, character education also had no clear criteria to define it, and it was largely unsuccessful. . . one of the reasons why it hibernated for a while.

   Critically, CASEL (the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning)—which most educators defer to when discussing SEL—has become the “go-to” source for all things SEL. And yet, few know that CASEL is basically funded by foundations and donations, it is not supervised or regulated in any way, and it pretty much creates its own rules when evaluating SEL programs or advocating for different initiatives.

   Beyond this, many educators and others have not critically evaluated CASEL’s approaches. And many do not know that CASEL:

  • Promotes a “choose off the menu” framework that offers little science-to-practice guidance;
  • Provides an implementation blueprint that has never been objectively evaluated or scientifically proven; and
  • Has become influential largely because it has courted politicians, powerful and/or wealthy advocates, foundations, state departments of education, and celebrities over the years (see the previous Blog citation below).

   And while CASEL likes to talk about SEL’s research foundation, the fact is that most of the studies it cites were conducted by CASEL leaders, they were not well-designed, and they have significant flaws that compromise their results and conclusions.

   This is not to say that students’ social-emotional learning status is not critical to their interpersonal and prosocial functioning, and their potential for academic engagement and success.

   Instead, this is to say that:

  • Social-emotional status does not cause students to be academically successful. . . there are other factors that more directly impact their academic success.

Instead, social-emotional status only indirectly correlates to academic success. That is, students who are doing “well” in their social-emotional functioning have a higher probability of also doing well in their academic functioning. . . but this academic proficiency is not assured.

Clearly, we unfortunately all know academically brilliant students who are socially inept, emotionally a mess, and behaviorally unpredictable.

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  • To continue: Effective academic instruction, learning, practice, and proficiency is more predictive of academic success than, for example, a really good social skills program.

While a sound social skills program helps students learn and master interpersonal, social problem-solving, conflict prevention and resolution, and emotional control, communication, and coping skills. . . these students would not be academically proficient if taught with only a social skills program and no academic instruction.

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  • To finish: CASEL’s SEL model, and what it says and recommends should not be taken as “truth.”

As discussed in the Introduction of this Blog, Educators need to evaluate and validate everything recommended by CASEL. . . . just as they need to do the same for other researchers, authors, and experts (including me).

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   The Glitch. There are at least two glitches here. Both relate to CASEL’s SEL framework.

   First: On December 15, 2020, the President and CEO of CASEL Karen Niemi wrote an Opinion piece in the74 to unveil CASEL’s updated SEL definition and framework. In the piece, she stated:

We’ve updated our definition and framework to pay close attention to how SEL affirms the identities, strengths and experiences of all children, including those who have been marginalized in our education systems. CASEL has continued to highlight the importance of enhancing the social-emotional competence of all young people and adults, while putting additional emphasis on how we can all learn and work together to create caring and just schools and communities.

   While an admirable reason for change, Niemi (and CASEL) has cited no empirical research to support the change, and no explanation as to why—in its 26 years of existence—CASEL has had no multi-tiered approach to social, emotional, or behavioral learning, and no focus on the historical and ongoing disproportionality in education relative to students of color and with disabilities.

   Second: CASEL’s modified framework is still grounded by its five core social and emotional competencies — self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.

   But the reality is that (a) these competencies have never been validated in any factor analytic research; (b) the characteristics or examples that CASEL places within each competency have never been factor analytically validated; (c) these competencies are not discreet and overlap in many ways; and (d) some of these competencies do not necessarily result in student behavior.

   Relative to this latter point, we have stated many times in past Blogs:

Awareness does not necessarily result in behavior.

That is, a student can be aware that they need to make good interpersonal decisions, or stay in emotional control, or resolve a past conflict or offense, and still not have the skills or ability to translate intention into action.

   Schools need SEL initiatives that result—in developmentally appropriate and sensitive ways—in students being able to demonstrate interpersonal, social problem-solving, conflict prevention and resolution, and emotional control, communication, and coping self-management skills.

   Anything less begs the question of why we should be investing time, money, staff, resources, and effort in SEL.

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   The Switch. Critically, education needs to get beyond the self-serving framing of SEL as “baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie.”

   As well, it needs to get beyond the belief that, “SEL is what I say it is. If I say I am doing SEL in my district or school, I am.”

   Below is a link to a previous Blog that provided an extensive discussion on the fact that (a) most teachers—historically and now—receive precious little training, supervision, or feedback on classroom management and student engagement; (b) inequity and disproportionality in classrooms across the country persists; (c) classroom management skills are evaluated in most formal teacher evaluation systems (e.g., those directly related to Danielson’s framework); and (d) there is an evidence-based model of school discipline, classroom management, and student self-management that schools can adopt for the SEL initiatives.

   Relative to the latter point, the five interdependent components of this model are described. They include:

  • Positive School Climate and Prosocial Relationships;
  • Clear Behavioral Expectations and Student-Focused Social Skills Instruction;
  • Behavioral Accountability and Motivation;
  • Consistent Implementation Across All Other Components; and
  • Implementation Across Settings, Peers, and Students with Specialized Needs.

Available Comprehensive Blog in this Area [CLICK ON DATE TO LINK]:

October 24, 2020

Classroom Management and Students’ (Virtual) Academic Engagement and Learning: Don’t Depend on Teacher Training Programs. Districts Need to Reconceptualize their School Discipline Approaches—For Equity, Excellence, and Effectiveness

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Meditation/Mindfulness/Trauma-Informed Programs: Just Don’t Do It

   The Pitch. While there are always students with multi-tiered social, emotional, and behavioral needs, these needs have increased and become more complex due to the Pandemic. And while these needs are legitimate and can impact students’ social and academic functioning, engagement, and learning (see the SEL section above), some in the popular press and across different social media channels have inappropriately labeled and inaccurately “quantified” these needs.

   For example, as a school psychologist, I know that more students are experiencing stress than clinical trauma. And yet, the press has labeled most pandemic-related emotionality as “trauma”— pathologizing what, for some students, are natural reactions to a significant and challenging life event.

   Others have talked about how many students will or have had “significant” emotional reactions to Pandemic-related events in large, global, and vague terms. Critically, most of these accounts have predicted sensationally high numbers of involved students—in the absence of hard, objective data.

   And in some places with some student groups, these high numbers may be true.

   But in the end, every community and school district will need to validate and quantify how many of its own students are having different intensities of emotional responses. . . before, during, and because of Pandemic-related events. With those data, differential service, support, strategy, and intervention decisions can be made.

   Until these data are collected, it makes no sense for communities or districts to adopt compensatory or clinically-focused programs or practices. Indeed, if they take the lead of others— especially in the popular press, the likely result will be that they choose approaches that do not directly and effectively meet the needs of their students.

   In this context, we want to encourage districts and schools to question and potentially reject three approaches that have been popularized in the press: meditation, mindfulness, and Trauma-Informed Programs.

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   Just like SEL now, a few years ago, you couldn’t read an education news flash without tripping over some school testimonial about teaching students either meditation and/or mindfulness. And while these stories—replete with their unproven and subjective assertions—have diminished, they still persist.

   The concern here is that, given renewed attention in the media and the availability of federal money to address Pandemic-related social, emotional, and behavioral needs, educators will reconsider these two related practices.

   This concern extends to Trauma-Informed Programs.

   Largely due to research and accounts discussing students' Adverse Childhood Experiences (the ACEs) and additional promotion from a handful of technical assistance centers funded either by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and/or the U.S. Department of Education, many districts and schools have literally bought into Trauma-Informed Programs.

   Unfortunately, while well-intentioned, these districts and schools have simply not read the research.

   And the most-likely result is a loss of time, money, staff involvement, and other resources. . . in addition to not providing or delaying the student support needed and, potentially, making some students worse off.

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   The Glitch. The “bottom line” here is that there is virtually no well-designed, objective, comparative research support for meditation, mindfulness, or Trauma-Informed Programs in the schools.

   Over the past few years, our Blogs have continuously reviewed the emerging and existing research in these three areas. . . we have analyzed it (and the “pretend” research), critiqued it, and reported it.

   Moreover, we have discussed the science-to-practice reasons why it is unlikely that any large-scale, high-impact research in these areas will ever occur.

   Critically, as it relates to trauma, we do not dispute the significant impact of trauma—both emotionally and neurologically on a small number of students. Nor do we question the clinical practices that are needed when students are truly traumatized.

   [PLEASE NOTE: I have been clinically trained in trauma-related practices and therapies.]

   However, we do dispute those who claim that Trauma-Informed programs are effective in the schools. The research—involving an analysis of over 7,000 published studies—just does not support these claims.

   As alluded to in the title of this Blog, education needs to get off these three bandwagons, and get on the bus. We need to pack our hard-hats and lunch-pails, and do the hard work needed to evaluate individual students and their needs, and match up the research-based highest-probability-of-success multi-tiered services, supports, strategies, and interventions that they need.

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   The Switch. Below, we provide links to two of our most-recent Blogs discussing these three areas. In addition to reviewing the research alluded to above, we also discuss the limitations of the ACEs research, the neurology of emotional self-regulation and self-management, and the trauma-focused therapies that are available.

   In these discussions, we also address why districts and schools need to adopt well-established cognitive-behavioral strategies instead of meditation and mindfulness. . . and stress-prevention and reduction strategies and practices instead of Trauma-Informed Programs.

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Available Comprehensive Blogs in this Area [CLICK ON DATES TO LINK]:

January 11, 2020

Trauma-Informed Schools: New Research Study Says “There’s No Research.” Schools “Hitch-Up” to Another Bandwagon that is Wasting Time and Delaying Recommended Scientifically-Proven Services (Part I)

January 25, 2020

Mindfulness & Meditation Will NOT Change Students’ Emotional Volatility or Immediate Reactions to Trauma.The Neurological Science Does Not Add Up—Another Fad & More Wasted Time in Pursuit of a Silver Bullet (Part II)

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Restorative Justice Programs: The Programs Have Never Been Validated, and Do Not Understand Behavioral Science

   The Pitch. A few weeks ago, I was catching up with an esteemed school psychology colleague who works in a large geographically- and demographically-complex school district in a Mid-Atlantic state.

   He was telling me that he needed to go to a district-sponsored training on Restorative Practices because they were being adopted district-wide this coming year.

   My response was: “Why? You know that the research and practice does not support Restorative Practices as a stand-alone process relative to school discipline and—especially—decreasing the disproportionate disciplinary referrals and placements of students of color and/or with disabilities.”

   He said, “I know. They never asked the school psychologists about this. I need to know what they (the Restorative Practices trainers) are saying so that I can off-set it in my schools.”

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   This—in a nutshell—is the issue and the dilemma.

   Advocated by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education, respectfully, and their technical assistance centers (most specifically, the National Center for Restorative Justice, and the National TA Center for Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports—PBIS), many state departments of education, and countless others who do not know (or mis-state or misinterpret) the research and practice, Restorative Justice Programs and many of their practices simply do not provide the student, staff, and school outcomes they claim.

   In fact, on the strength of the groups above, a cottage industry of innumerable Restorative Justice organizations and companies (many with “official-sounding” names) have sold their untested, unsound, and unvalidated approaches to unsuspecting schools.

   And so, once again, our caution flag is out.

   We understand that racial and special education-related disproportionality needs to be addressed. But this is not the way to do it.

   Look at the research. Look at the practice. And look for the established, evidence-based and field-tested ways that can get the job done. . . but that often are not cited or advocated by the U.S. Department of Education because it goes “all in” only on the frameworks that it funds.

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   The Glitch. While more-detailed discussions are cited below, let’s look at three areas that hopefully will dissuade educators from this bandwagon.

   First, the most comprehensive and sound research-to-practice study of a Restorative Practice Program in the Pittsburgh (PA) School District—involving 22 randomly-selected schools compared with 22 non-participating Control schools—found that, in the Restorative Practices schools: (a) alternative school placements decreased; (b) students were less likely to be suspended multiple times; (c) disparities in suspension rates between African-American (vs. Caucasian), and low-income (vs. higher-income) students, respectively, decreased; and (d) suspension rates for female students declined.

   The problem?

The problem is that the study’s more in-depth analyses (that were largely unreported in the popular press) revealed that:

  • While suspension rates in the Restorative Practices schools declined by 36% during the two-year study, suspension rates in the Control schools also declined 18% during the same time period.
  • The overall suspension results were driven by lower rates in the Restorative Practices elementary schools.
  • Fewer suspensions were not found in the Restorative Practices Middle schools (Grades 6 to 8).
  • Fewer suspensions were not found for male students or students with disabilities.
  • There were no reductions in student arrests, or for incidents of violence or weapons violations.
  • In the Restorative Practices Middle schools, academic outcomes actually worsened when compared with the Control schools.
  • Survey results from staff in the Restorative Practices schools indicated that they did not think the IIRP program was affecting student behavior. They did, however, report that their relationships with students had improved because of program involvement.

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   Second, in the July 27, 2019 report, Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies and Connections to the School-to-Prison Pipeline for Students of Color and with Disabilities, compiled and published by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Report, Commissioner and lawyer Peter N. Krisanow stated:

Restorative practices, as they are typically called in a school or community setting, include many specific program types and do not have one specific definition in the literature; they are broadly seen as a nonpunitive approach to handling conflict (Fronius et al., 2016). When we talk about ‘restorative justice,’ as we see here, we are not talking about a clearly defined set of practices. We are talking about fuzzy muffles. Telling children to reflect upon the harm they have caused to others may be effective for children who are predisposed to empathize with others or to care about disappointing their teachers. But not all children care about the effects of their actions on others, or indeed, may be pleased that the harm they caused had its intended effect.

Kirsanow went on to describe the concerns with the Restorative Practice Program studied in the Pittsburgh Public Schools (noted above), and he documented similar concerns about restorative practice programs in the Baltimore and Minneapolis City School Districts.

   He concluded:

The best that can be said for ‘restorative practices’ and reducing suspensions is that in some school districts, students who would otherwise have been suspended are in school for more days. This is a paltry return for the price of increased classroom violence and disrupting the education of students who are there to learn.

   Parenthetically, this same U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Report also discussed a situation in the Washington, D.C. Public Schools where the Washington Post reported that some published “successes” regarding the D.C. schools’ restorative justice practices were grossly overstated.

   More specifically, the Washington Post investigation found that:

at least seven of the city’s 18 high schools had removed disruptive students from schools, but not recorded it as a suspension. In several cases, students who had been barred from entering the school were marked as present, others were marked as attending an “in-school activity,” or absent without an excuse. Dunbar High School had the most underreported suspensions compared to any other high school in January 2017, according to Washington Post investigators. In data obtained by reporters, only 7 percent of the days that students were kept out of school for misbehavior were actually correctly reported as suspensions.

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   The third glitch simply involves science and common sense.

   Not to over-simplify, but a foundational premise of Restorative Practices is that—when students commit a rude, crude, or anti-social act—they should be given the opportunity to restore, repair, remediate, re-pay, and/or apologize for their transgression with the party(ies) and in the settings involved. It is encouraged that these restorative acts take the place of an administrative or disciplinary response such as a detention or suspension.

   Expanding on this, the WestEd Justice & Prevention Research Center updated its March 2019 report on Restorative Justice in US Schools, stating:

In the school setting, RJ (Restorative Justice) often serves as an alternative to traditional discipline, particularly exclusionary disciplinary actions such as suspension or expulsion. RJ proponents often turn to restorative practices out of concern that exclusionary disciplinary actions may be associated with harmful consequences for children (e.g., Losen, 2014). More recently, it has also been embraced as a preventative intervention for building an interconnected school community and healthy school climate in which punishable transgressions are less common (e.g., Brown, 2017).

Schools have adopted a variety of programs and approaches under the RJ umbrella. These programs range from informal restorative dialogue techniques between teachers and students to formal restorative conferencing that involves students, staff, and often community members, including family. In California, districts that received federal Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) funding were encouraged to use their grants to implement RJ practices to improve school climate and reduce reliance on punitive responses to student misbehavior like bullying, vandalism, and harassment (Health and Human Development Program, 2012). The most common RJ practice noted in the literature and in interviews with experts and practitioners in the field (Guckenburg, Hurley, Persson, Fronius, & Petrosino, 2015) is the practice of holding restorative circles.

   Here’s the point: From a behavioral science perspective, restorative practices are meant to act consequentially, interpersonally, and motivationally with an expectation that students’ inappropriate behavior will change in the future.

   The consequential premise is that the offending student views the (required) act of restoring, repairing, remediating, repaying, and/or apologizing for their transgression as so significant (aversive) that they never want to be in that position again (and, hence, will not re-commit the offending act).

   The interpersonal premise rests with the belief that, if the offending student interacts personally to apologize to the offended party or victim, that that interaction will establish a (positive) relationship and level of accountability such that no future offenses will occur.

   And, the motivational premise integrates the two premises above—expecting that the combination of (a) negative consequences for inappropriate acts, and/or (b) positive outcomes when developing personal, empathetic relationships with people will result, once again, in future prosocial student interactions.

   But here’s the kicker that disrupts this thinking:

   If the offending student has not learned and mastered the interpersonal, social problem-solving, conflict prevention and resolution, or emotional control, communication, or coping skills and abilities, then the restorative practice and experience will not result in changed behavior.

   That is, regardless of the student’s remediation or apology, she or he will probably commit the same offense in the future, because there is no prosocial skill alternative.

   Said a different way: You can’t motivate a student out of a skill deficit.

   If, for example, a student has not mastered long division, and she gets a 40% on her Long Division Unit Exam. . . while she may be motivated to do better due to the low grade, she likely will do no better on the next test because she has not learned or mastered long division skills.

   Motivation will not change her next test score; instruction and learning will.

   If students are committing anti-social acts because they have not learned and mastered emotional control, communication, and coping. . . a restorative practice will not change their skill deficits.

   Restorative Justice and Practice Programs simply do not account for basic behavioral science.

   They also do not account for the complexities embedded in motivation.

   For example, if there are competing motivations for an individual student, she or he will demonstrate the behavior that is most strongly reinforced.

   That is, even when some students have prosocial skills, they will likely demonstrate anti-social skills if, for example, the admiration and acceptance of the peer group, clique (think “Mean Girls”), or gang they are in are more powerful than needing to apologize to a victim.

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   The Switch. Restorative Justice or Practice Programs do not have the research or track record to be seriously considered as a viable whole-school discipline, classroom management, or student self-management option for a district or school.

   Nonetheless, when connected to the right root cause analysis that explains a specific student’s inappropriate behavior and circumstances, some individual restorative strategies may have the potential to successfully contribute to that student’s behavior change plan.

   As noted in the Pittsburgh study, even if Restorative Programs could be successful, they are expensive, complex, require substantial implementation training and time, and they are hard to sustain.

   Below are links to two previous Blogs that expand the discussion above and detail the Pittsburgh study and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Report. We hope that you will read it.

Available Comprehensive Blog in this Area [CLICK ON DATE TO LINK]:

July 27, 2019

An Open Letter to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Regarding Its Report, "Beyond Suspensions: Examining School Discipline Policies." Begin with the End in Mind: It’s about Root Causes and Intervention—Not About Policies or Positions

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January 26, 2019

New Rand Corporation Study Finds Restorative Practices Produce Mixed and Underwhelming Results: But Some Publications are “Spinning” the Outcomes and Twisting these Results

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   While educators never really get a true “break” in our 24/7 business world, the Summer is about as close as it gets.

   And I appreciate your spending a few moments with me to read this Blog Series.

   The “ultimate goal” of this Series is to provide you with the research and information needed to make the best decisions for your students, staff and colleagues, and school(s) or district.

   There are a lot of needs in our field—especially including the last 16 months or more of the Pandemic. And there are a lot of people trying to do good work to meet those needs.

   But some ideas, strategies, programs, or frameworks—regardless of the publicity, marketing, and testimonials—are just not ready for prime-time.

   And if they are implemented, there is a high probability that, not only will they not work, but they will consume significant amounts of (wasted) time, money, staff commitment, and other resources. More important, their failures may delay needed services and supports to students, or even compound these students’ challenges.

   These ideas, strategies, programs, or frameworks are not ready for full-scale implementation, because they do not have the objective large-scale evaluation data or the practical efficacy to accomplish the student, staff, or school outcomes needed.

   As discussed in this Series, there are critical concerns with a number of “high profile” programs and frameworks—even some that are being used across the country. . . but without the data, efficacy, or outcomes noted.

   In Part I of this Series, we analyzed a well-researched but still murky area of education that involves teachers and how they work together in effective, efficient, and collaborative ways to attain important student outcomes—Collective Teacher Efficacy.

   Then, we discussed an emerging, but still unproven approach being recommended for the coming school year to teach students who have significant academic skill gaps due to the pandemic—Academic Acceleration.

   In this Part II, we turned to the social, emotional, and behavioral side of the school and schooling continuum, addressing the areas of SEL and character education, meditation and mindfulness, Trauma-Informed programs, and Restorative Justice programs and practices.

   The consistent message throughout this Series is that educators need to do their own independent evaluations to (a) validate their research and recommendations; (b) make sure that they are applicable to their students, staff, schools, and systems; and (c) ensure that their decisions are time- and cost-effective, and that they can be implemented with fidelity, consistency, and the needed intensity and duration.

   We hope that this Series will assist in this journey.

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   As always, we hope that we have added research-to-practice value as you prepare for the new school year.

   At the same time, we also hope that you will take some time this Summer to personally “recharge your batteries,” so that you can implement your plans this Fall with enthusiasm, focus, intent, and success.

   Please feel free to contact me with your questions or reactions at any time. And please remember my standing offer for a free, one-hour consultation to discuss these or related issues with you and your team.



[CLICK HERE for the Blog Version of this Discussion]