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Introduction of the Positive Behavior for Effective Schools Act

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


INTRODUCTION OF THE POSITIVE BEHAVIOR FOR EFFECTIVE SCHOOLS ACT -- (Extensions of Remarks - August 04, 2007)

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* Mr. HARE. Madam Speaker, educators and the general public cite disciplinary problems as the greatest challenge facing schools. Often schools respond to problem behavior with suspensions and expulsions, or by removing persistent troublemakers from the school. But research shows that punitive approaches to discipline do not work, and further, that they disproportionately harm students of color and students with disabilities.

* One effective approach now being adopted by education agencies around the country is schoolwide Positive Behavior Supports (PBS). Research shows that schools implementing PBS can experience anywhere from a 20 to 60 percent reduction in disciplinary problems, an improved social climate, and increases in reading and math scores on standardized tests.

* This Congress I toured Monmouth-Roseville Junior High, a PBS school in my Illinois Congressional district. I was amazed by how effectively the school decreased the number of expulsions and suspensions, and increased student attendance, classroom instructional time, and academic engagement. Even more impressive, there was an overall sense of shared responsibility for the success of the school.

* Madam Speaker, today I am proud to introduce the Positive Behavior for Effective Schools Act.

* This bill amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to provide the flexibility and technical assistance schools need to expand the use of positive behavior supports and other early intervening services to create a school climate that is highly conducive to learning, reduces discipline referrals, and improves academic outcomes. Specifically, this bill:

* Allows State and Local Education Agencies to use Title I funding to implement schoolwide PBS.

* Supports Safe and Drug Free Schools' programs that improve the whole school climate, prevent disciplinary problems, violence, illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, and that involve parents and communities in school programs and activities.

* Trains teachers in the behavioral learning of kids and in methods that improve school climate.

* Establishes an office of specialized instructional support services in the Department of Education to administer and coordinate support services in schools.

* I urge my colleagues to look at the proven results of PBS and the positive impact it has on the entire school. Not only are we finding safer school climates in schools where PBS is implemented, but we are also seeing a decrease in dropout rates, a more accurate classification ofspecial education students, improved test scores, home and family life, and more productive students who are better prepared to enter the professional world after graduation.

* Additionally, PBS assists education agencies with the challenges they face in meeting the requirements of No Child Left Behind, ultimately leading to a better educational experience for our kids. Educators, parents, mental health experts and academics all agree that positive behavior supports are good for schools, good for teachers and good for students.

* This legislation is endorsed by the Advocacy Institute; American Counseling Association; American Music Therapy Association; American Occupational Therapy Association; American Psychological Association; American School Counselor Association; The Arc of the United States; Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law; Center for Behavioral Education & Research in the UConn Neag School of Education; Children and Adults with Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders; Learning Disabilities Association of America; Illinois PBIS Network; Mental Health America; National Alliance on Mental Illness; National Association for Children's Behavioral Health; National Association of State Directors of Special Education; National Down Syndrome Congress; School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA); and United Cerebral Palsy.

* Madam Speaker, I ask for unanimous consent to enter into the RECORD a letter of support from these organizations.

* Madam Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting positive behavior in schools by cosponsoring the Positive Behavior for Effective Schools Act, and work with me to advance this important piece of legislation.

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