Policy Implications

To the extent that parents who teach ICPS skills to their children can help them prepare for school and help them learn, ICPS intervention can also be included as part of the Parent Involvement initiative that is now a focus of schools nationwide. Goal 1 of the National Education Goals 2000 includes the objective "Every parent in the United States will be a child's first teacher and devote time each day to helping such parent's preschool child learn, and parents will have access to the training and support parents need." Goal 8 from the same report states, "By the year 2000, every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children" (National Education Goals Panel, 1997), which is especially relevant for ICPS.

Although ICPS was not designed to directly improve school achievement, both parent-trained and teacher-trained children, as early as the first grade, did better on standardized achievement tests and/or grade-book levels in reading and math. Perhaps some children who are failing at school do not need more emphasis placed on academic subjects, but would be better able to focus on those subjects if they were relieved of any emotional blockage that might be interfering with their ability to concentrate. It is logical to conclude that, regardless of IQ (never found to explain the ICPS/behavior linkages), once behaviors mediated through ICPS skills do improve, children can better absorb the task-oriented demands of the classroom and subsequently do better in school.

To the extent that poor school achievement is a high-risk predictor of dropping out of school, delinquency, substance abuse, and other serious outcomes and that ICPS reduces and prevents those early high-risk behaviors, the I Can Problem Solve and Raising a Thinking Child interventions can support National Education Goal 7, that "By the year 2000, every school in the United States will be free of drugs, violence, and the unauthorized presence of firearms and alcohol and will offer a disciplined environment conducive to learning" (National Education Goals Panel, 1997).

If children can learn to think about the problems that are important to them early in life, they will be better equipped to handle the more serious issues of drug use, violent behavior, unsafe sex, and other problems that will confront them in middle school, junior high school, high school, and beyond.

Preventing Violence Juvenile Justice Bulletin   ·  April 1999