Illinois Teachers call for Systems and Supports to Successfully Implement School Discipline Reform Under SB100

Illinois Teachers call for Systems and Supports to Successfully Implement School Discipline Reform Under SB100
In New Brief, Teach Plus Policy Fellows Access Challenges to Instituting Restorative Practices in Schools; Highlight Professional Development, Support, and Funding Needs 

Chicago, IL—What do Illinois’ teachers think about the implementation of Senate Bill 100 (SB100), passed in 2015 to create more effective student discipline practices?  In a newly-released policy brief, From Zero to SB100: Teachers’ Views on Implementation of School Discipline Reform, Teach Plus Illinois Teaching Policy Fellows examine how SB100 is being implemented in schools and districts across the state, and provide a series of recommendations on what is needed to make a long-term and sustained change to restorative approaches in Illinois’ school disciplinary systems.  This Fellows will share their findings at the “SB100: Where Are We Now” conference at Loyola University on March 22.

To research the issue Teach Plus Fellows, all of whom teach in district and charter public schools in Illinois, conducted a statewide survey of 392 K-12 teachers between May 23rd and June 28th, 2017.  Key findings are:

  1. Over 84 percent of teachers indicated that the zero-tolerance policies were eliminated and suspensions were limited, as required by SB100.
  2. Districts provided limited and unsatisfactory training to help schools and teachers implement SB100.
  3. Districts abolished zero-tolerance policies and limited suspensions but often did not replace them with anything else.
  4. Teachers believe that student behavior and school culture and climate have deteriorated since the implementation of SB100 because, quite frequently, nothing replaced the disciplinary consequences that were removed.

“While the passage of SB100 was a good thing, my school did not offer an alternative discipline policy, nor did it provide training on developmentally-appropriate disciplinary methods that would serve students and guide teachers as they address students’ behavior and struggle to meet their needs,” said LaTia Taylor, a kindergarten teacher at Hendricks Elementary in Chicago Public Schools and one of the brief’s lead authors.

Teach Plus Fellows recommend the following to successfully implement SB100’s provisions:

  1. Provide thorough, mandatory professional development on SB100 and corresponding school discipline protocols.
  2. Implement disciplinary protocols that are informed by restorative justice and trauma-informed practices.
  3. Ensure systemic and ongoing support, accountability, and consistency for teachers as they implement new discipline protocols.
  4. Allocate adequate funding and hold districts accountable for SB100 implementation.

“Educators in our state are calling out both the lack of training to help with SB100’s implementation and the need for restorative practices to replaces the exclusionary ones limited by the law,” said Josh Kaufmann, Teach Plus Illinois Executive Director.  “It is clear that if we are to successfully change how we approach disciplinary measures for our students and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, we need a strong, cohesive effort aimed at supporting our educators at the school, district, and state level.”  
About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success.  Since 2009, Teach Plus has trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students.