KTM User Pages
07 Sep 2005 - 17:55
So this morning I ordered my copy of Not Much Just Chillin'. Here's Kay Hymowitz:
...[middle school] classmates are like the KGB with orthodonture, surveilling the halls for unusual odors, dress, language or manners...
Then there's the inevitable How We Got Here passage:
Of course, peer pressure and sullenness have been defining traits of these school years since long before middle schools were introduced in the U.S. in the 1960s. At the time, educators hoped to shape learning around new scientific findings about the nature of pre- and early adolescent thinking.
What makes me think these new scientific findings about the nature of pre- and early adolescent thinking were hokum? Could it be the fact that we are now in the midst of a movement to dump middle school in favor of elemiddle? (subscription may be required)
In a new review of 20 years of research on middle schools, Rand Corp., a nonprofit organizations in Santa Monica, Calif., concludes that states and school districts should "consider alternative structures that allow them to reduce multiple transitions across grades K-12" in order to capitalize on "continuity of schooling and introducing changes gradually." A number of districts that have recently begun converting to K-8 configurations say they have already noticed fewer disciplinary problems among students, as well as an increase in test scores. [snip] Particularly troublesome in Philadelphia was the noticeable decline in test scores after students graduated from elementary schools, which mostly went through the fifth grade. "Sixth-grade test scores were always our lowest," Mr. Vallas says. Now, an analysis of standardized test scores from 2000 to 2003 shows that reading and math scores are consistently higher for eighth-grade students enrolled in some of Philadelphia's new K-8 schools compared with those in traditional middle schools. The average reading score for K-8 students was 1218 in 2003 compared with 1146 for students in middle school. Also, Mr. Vallas says, K-8 schools have higher attendance rates and fewer incidents of student discipline than do their middle-school counterparts.
My own district has just spent a gazillion dollars building a brand new middle school next door to the high school. The two schools share a big, fancy Ikea-style cafeteria with a noise level roughly equivalent to that inside an airplane hangar. Last night Christopher was lying on the floor playing with his WWE action figures; today he'll be watching teenage boys get B-Js in the bathroom. What's the word for that? Friends with benefits? Is that it? Or have I lost my mind?
OK, I'm going to Reserve Judgment. I don't actually KNOW, for a fact, that the 6th graders will be sharing bathrooms with the high school kids.
parent info night for Carolyn
research on middle & elemiddle schools
TIMSS & middle school scores
locker woes & locker instructions
all your children are belong to us
middle school math teacher blogs
Dan K on transition to middle school
Fordham debate on middle school in DC
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