The Department of Education is targeting “overage and undercredited” kids with their “Multiple Pathways” initiative and Klein trumpets the creation of yet another 200 small high schools. The just released Workforce Report points to early childhood education and a scheme to move kids after the 10th grade to college or vocational programs.
Does anyone care about the kids in middle schools? The only national debate on early adolescence, the middle school ages, is on the HBO series – The Wire!!!
For the last few years middle school structure has been debated back and forth – should we “abolish” middle schools by moving towards K-8 or is the answer creating 6-12 models?
Early adolescent years are difficult years for children. They are emotionally fragile, susceptible to fads and bullying, to the “craze” of the moment, and think of themselves as “immortal.” They oftentimes make bad choices.
Parents, and teachers wring their hands when it comes to dealing with those moody, recalcitrant evolving adults.
Too many middle schools are more concerned with “command and control” issues than education. Self-contained 6th, and sometimes 7th grade classes are created to keep the kids in their rooms!! The primary role of the school is to maintain order: education takes a back seat.
The most recent middle school State testing data is scary – kids fall further behind each year they are in a middle school.
The Department of Education mumbles and simply closes large high schools and sees small high schools as the nirvana. Unfortunately when middle schools “graduate” kids who have not met State Standards in English and Math and fail to achieve Chancellor’s Promotional Standards the high schools are doomed.
Should all “new” high schools be opened as 6-12? Frequently middle schools are burdened with proprietary programs (i.e., America’s Choice, etc.) that are mindless, and boring both to the teachers and their students.
Should the DOE create Empowerment Networks made up of middle schools? How do we support newer teachers in middle schools? Is the teacher turnover rate in middle schools as abysmal as I think it is? Should we concentrate guidance and social services in middle schools?
I read with compassion the “cries” of our newer middle school teachers who are writing on Edwize … perhaps the popularity of The Wire will force decision-makers to take a look at the world of the twelve year olds!!