Common sense tells us that students thrive when they're able to learn in a climate where they feel safe from things like bullying and harassment, allowing them to focus on class and the material being taught. Unfortunately, not every student has access to a classroom environment with suitable conditions for learning.
My wife, Carolyn, teaches here in Iowa. I know from her experience that even great schools have their share of bullying and classroom management challenges. With school budgets perennially tight, there's too often a shortage of funding to focus on improving the learning environment.
That's why Senator Tom Harkin and I have worked to develop the Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students Act, legislation that will help our students thrive in the classroom and beyond.
This bill takes a comprehensive approach to overcoming some of the factors that impede student achievement both inside and outside of the classroom. It's designed to give our local schools additional resources they wouldn't otherwise have to develop and implement programs aimed at encouraging positive learning conditions, and then help monitor the effectiveness of those programs.
By awarding grants to schools seeking to increase opportunities for physical activity, good nutrition and healthy living and the prevention of bullying, harassment and violence, schools will be better able to foster supportive learning environments.
Additionally, the bill provides resources to schools to measure the success of their efforts by using data-driven, evidence-based metrics. Schools can then analyze their efforts and share their successes and failures with others.
Under this program, local school districts would be given the freedom to develop programs that best help their students and encourage a healthy learning environment. Keeping it local means parents, teachers, counselors and other education professionals make decisions that are best for their schools and their circumstances, not some one-size-fits-all policy.
An education is much more than what comes from a textbook. By providing educators more support to improve the conditions for learning in schools, teachers be better equipped to focus on providing our children with the well-rounded education they need to be competitive in the global economy.