In the last several months, WILL has argued that currently popular systems of discipline in American public schools are problematic from the standpoint of promoting a good learning environment. Perhaps in reaction to the overzealousness of the “Zero Tolerance” policies of the late '90s and early 2000s, many school systems have gone the opposite direction, promoting “feel good” discipline policies that result in worsened academic outcomes and reports of unsafe conditions for teachers and students.continue at The Cap Times
But, like in many other contexts, private schools may offer an alternative solution on school discipline. A new study by the Thomas Fordham Institute examines student behavior in Catholic schools compared to other private and public schools. They argue that Catholic schools, far more so than other schools, focus on the notion of self-discipline. Self-discipline, in general, is an intrinsic motivation to engage in positive behavior. In the context of the classroom, this can be exhibited by properly dealing with anger, or avoiding impulsive behavior without the teacher having to intervene. It is a regular point of emphasis for Catholic schools around the country. Indeed, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee lists “self-discipline” as one of the core meanings of a Catholic education. But does this emphasis manifest in better behavioral outcomes?