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Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2009
NCES 2010-012
December 2009

Indicator 12: Teachers' Reports on School Conditions

In 2007–08, a greater percentage of public school teachers than private school teachers reported that student misbehavior, student tardiness, and class cutting interfered with their teaching.

Classroom disruptions are associated with lower student achievement for the offending student, as well as for that studentís classmates (Lannie and McCurdy 2007). In the Schools and Staffing Survey, public and private school teachers were asked if student misbehavior, student tardiness, and class cutting interfered with their teaching. During the 2007–08 school year, 34 percent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching, and 32 percent reported that student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching (figure 12.1 and table 12.1). Teachers were also asked whether school rules were enforced by other teachers at their school, even for students not in their classes, and whether they were enforced by the principal. In 2007–08, 72 percent of teachers agreed or strongly agreed that other teachers at their school enforced the school rules, and 89 percent reported that the principal enforced the school rules (figure 12.2 and table 12.2).

The percentage of teachers who reported that student misbehavior, class cutting, and tardiness interfered with their teaching varied by teacher and school characteristics during 2007–08 (table 12.1). For example, a greater percentage of public school teachers than private school teachers reported that student misbehavior (36 vs. 21 percent) and student tardiness and class cutting (33 vs. 18 percent) interfered with their teaching. And a higher percentage of secondary school teachers than elementary school teachers reported that student misbehavior (39 vs. 33 percent) and student tardiness and class cutting (45 vs. 26 percent) interfered with their teaching.

A greater percentage of teachers in city schools compared to teachers in suburban, town, or rural schools reported that student misbehavior, tardiness, and class cutting interfered with their teaching in 2007–08 (figure 12.1). Forty percent of teachers in city schools, compared to 32 percent of teachers in suburban schools, 34 percent of teachers in town schools, and 31 percent of teachers in rural schools reported that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching. Thirty-eight percent of teachers in city schools reported that student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching, compared to 29 percent of teachers in suburban schools, 32 percent of teachers in town schools, and 27 percent of teachers in rural schools who reported that these occurrences interfered with their teaching.

The percentage of teachers who reported that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching fluctuated between 1987–88 and 1993–94; however, between 1993–94 and 2007–08 this percentage decreased (from 41 to 34 percent). The percentage of teachers reporting that student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching decreased between 1987–88 and 1993–94 (from 33 to 25 percent), but increased between 1993–94 and 2007–08 (from 25 to 32 percent). There were no measurable differences in the percentage of teachers reporting that student misbehavior or tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching between the two most recent survey years, 2003–04 and 2007–08.

The percentage of teachers who agreed that school rules were enforced by other teachers and by the principal varied by teacher and school characteristics. In every survey year, a higher percentage of elementary school teachers than secondary school teachers agreed that school rules were enforced by teachers and by the principal in their school (table 12.2). In 2007–08, 79 percent of elementary teachers, compared to 56 percent of secondary teachers reported that school rules were enforced by other teachers, and 89 percent of elementary school teachers, compared to 86 percent of secondary teachers, reported that school rules were enforced by the principal.

Between 1987–88 and 2007–08, the percentage of teachers who agreed that school rules were enforced by other teachers fluctuated between 65 and 72 percent, and the percentage agreeing that rules were enforced by the principal varied between 84 and 89 percent, showing no consistent trends. There were no measurable differences in the percentage of teachers reporting that school rules were enforced by other teachers or by the principal between the two most recent survey years, 2003–04 and 2007–08.

In 2007–08, the percentage of public school teachers who agreed or strongly agreed that student misbehavior and student tardiness and class cutting interfered with their teaching and that school rules are enforced by other teachers and by the principal, varied among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. For example, among these states and the District of Columbia, the percentage of teachers who reported that student misbehavior interfered with their teaching ranged from 59 percent of teachers in the District of Columbia to 29 percent of teachers in Pennsylvania (table 12.3).

This indicator has been updated to include 2007–08 data. For more information: Tables 12.1 and 12.2, appendix B for definitions of school levels and urbanicity codes, and Coopersmith (2009).

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