Why We Need Humane Education: Study Shows Bullying Affects Student Test Scores

This study epitomizes the category of "painfully obvious," but it is additional quantitative evidence for educators and parents to use in lobbying for humane education in schools.

Researchers in Virginia, including Dewey Cornell, a clinical psychologist and professor of education at the University of Virginia, conducted a study about the influence of bullying on student test performance. As you can imagine, they discovered that schools that reported higher levels of bullying had lower passing rates on three different standardized tests.

For part of the study, researchers surveyed more than 7,300 ninth grade students and more than 3,000 teachers; the survey defined bullying as "the use of one's strength or popularity to injure, threaten or embarrass another person on purpose."

Cornell said, "This research underscores the importance of treating bullying as a schoolwide problem rather than just an individual problem."

He also said, "We have always had bullying in our schools. What has changed is we have become more aware of bullying due to a series of high-profile tragic cases involving school shootings and suicides. Our society does not permit harassment and abuse of adults in the workplace, and the same protections should be afforded to children in school."

I don't know where Dr. Cornell has been hanging out that he thinks our society doesn't permit "harassment and abuse of adults in the workplace," but the more important issue is that bullying is a systemic problem that will only be solved by working to transform our culture (both in school and out) to one that promotes and supports love, compassion, justice, cooperation, and kindness. Bringing the lens, knowledge, and tools of humane education into the classroom, while working to cultivate better systems in the larger community, is an important part of the solution.

Note: If you're looking for specific anti-bullying resources, check out our Banishing Bullying post from last year.

~ Marsha

(h/t to Doctors Lounge and UPI)

Image courtesy of beboehmer via Creative Commons.

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