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Taking Middle Schoolers Out of the Middle
New York Times ^ | 23 January 2007 | Elissa Gootman

Posted on 01/23/2007 7:01:50 AM PST by shrinkermd

...The schools share the premise that the way to reverse years of abysmal middle school performance is to get rid of middle schools entirely. But they represent opposite poles in the sharp debate over whether 11- through 13-year-olds are better off pushed toward adulthood or coddled a little longer.

Should the nurturing cocoon of elementary school be extended for another three years, shielding 11-year-olds from the abrupt transition to a new school, with new students and teachers, at one of the most volatile times in their lives?

Paul Vallas, chief executive of the Philadelphia school system, thinks so, and he has closed 17 traditional middle schools since 2002, while converting some three dozen elementary schools into K-8s. “The fifth to sixth grade transition is just too traumatic,” he said. “At a time when children are undergoing emotional, physical, social changes, and when they need stability and consistency, suddenly they’re thrust into this alien environment.”

Others argue that 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds thrive in the presence of older role models and reminders of concrete goals, like playing varsity sports and getting into college.

“Kids are forward-looking — they don’t get nostalgic for second grade when they’re in third grade,” said Larry Woodbridge, principal of the Secondary School for Law in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where the award-winning high school debate team will teach a middle school social studies unit this spring.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Unclassified
KEYWORDS: end; middle; school
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I agree with an expert late in the article who believes what is needed is smaller class size and teachers better trained in the subject matter they teach.
1 posted on 01/23/2007 7:01:52 AM PST by shrinkermd
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To: shrinkermd
teachers better trained in the subject matter they teach

This would solve a lot of the problems in public schools. Abolish the Federal Department of School Board and you'd solve quite a bit more. Throw in decent parents who help their kids with their homework, and you're well on the way to creating a productive and smart generation.

If you want to go the rest of the way, kill off or imprison anyone who has ever appeared on E! Entertainment Television.

2 posted on 01/23/2007 7:06:11 AM PST by SittinYonder (Ic ■Št gehate, ■Št ic heonon nelle fleon fotes trym, ac wille fur­or gan)
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To: Clintonfatigued; DaveLoneRanger; 2Jedismom; Aggie Mama; agrace; Antoninus; arbooz; bboop; blu; ...

ANOTHER REASON TO HOMESCHOOL

This ping list is for the "other" articles of interest to homeschoolers about education and public school. If you want on/off this list, please freepmail me. The main Homeschool Ping List by DaveLoneRanger handles the homeschool-specific articles.
3 posted on 01/23/2007 7:07:34 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: shrinkermd

There's virtually nothing that can make this stage of life easier; it just comes with the territory.

I hated those years in school, they were the worst in my life.


4 posted on 01/23/2007 7:09:31 AM PST by metmom (Welfare was never meant to be a career choice.)
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To: shrinkermd

Class size doesn't matter as much as class makeup. They need to put the smart kids with the smart kids. That way, you aren't dragging down the achievers with the underachievers. Don't place ceilings on achievement. Put the bad kids with the bad kids so they don't drag down the other kids.


5 posted on 01/23/2007 7:16:10 AM PST by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: SittinYonder

>>If you want to go the rest of the way, kill off or imprison anyone who has ever appeared on E! Entertainment Television.<<

Truer words never have been spoken!


6 posted on 01/23/2007 7:16:43 AM PST by netmilsmom (To attack one section of Christianity in this day and age, is to waste time.)
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To: shrinkermd

Absolutely

Teachers are needed that actually want to teach, not having it as a fall-back. Although Mr. Holland's Opus shows that some people may not initially have the desire to teach.


7 posted on 01/23/2007 7:17:55 AM PST by wastedyears ("Gun control is hitting your target accurately." - Richard Marcinko)
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To: shrinkermd
Let them all apprentice for locksmiths and plumbers and carpenters and butchers and whatever else. Then give them the choice to go back to high school or learn and earn their trade.

TS
Semi-joking, i think.

8 posted on 01/23/2007 7:20:06 AM PST by Tanniker Smith (I didn't know she was a liberal when I married her.)
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To: shrinkermd

13-year olds should not be on a campus with 1st and 2nd graders. The physical size difference is very intimidating for the little ones.


9 posted on 01/23/2007 7:38:14 AM PST by BigBobber
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To: shrinkermd
Should the nurturing cocoon of elementary school be extended for another three years, shielding 11-year-olds from the abrupt transition to a new school, with new students and teachers, at one of the most volatile times in their lives?

I have an idea. How about letting parents make that decision? After all, parents are their children's natural guardians and educators.

Give them vouchers and let them make the decision. Leave the bureaucrats out of it. Are we a free country or what?

10 posted on 01/23/2007 7:41:16 AM PST by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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To: AppyPappy

I agree that class size isn't as important as it's assumed to be. Small is better, but not necessary. And I've even seen different achievement levels work in one classroom, although I think your overall point is a good one. I sat in one class where the high achievers were given an opportunity to learn the subject material quickly and take a test near the beginning of a unit (this was an 8th English Grammar class, so some students were able to do this). They were then placed at the back of the class at a row of computers where they could work somewhat on their own with some teacher supervision on other, related projects. It was fascinating to see this operate. I think it also gives slower students something to work toward. But the teacher has to be very skilled to pull this off. And this teacher was.


11 posted on 01/23/2007 7:43:46 AM PST by twigs
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To: BigBobber
13-year olds should not be on a campus with 1st and 2nd graders. The physical size difference is very intimidating for the little ones.

It depends on the school. Our kids go to a parochial K-8 school. The older kids are role models to the younger kids. The upper grades are given jobs to help to teach them caring interaction with the younger ones (collecting their lunch money, leading them to their classrooms in the morning, helping them with Christmas art projects, etc.). Our 1st and 2nd graders are not intimidated by them.

12 posted on 01/23/2007 7:50:49 AM PST by NewsJunqui
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To: twigs

The smart kids generally care about school and competitive. You don't want the other kids badmouthing their efforts and you want them to get bored.

High school does this with AP classes. Our middle school has "smart classes" and it works really well.


13 posted on 01/23/2007 7:51:18 AM PST by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: NewsJunqui

I think that's the best way to do school. It works in a parochial setting, but I'm not sure it would in a public school, at least not without very careful screening of the kids who will be allowed to help the younger ones.


14 posted on 01/23/2007 7:57:01 AM PST by twigs
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To: shrinkermd

Middle schools are some of the absolutely stupidiest educational concepts every unleashed.

k-8 and then 9-12, period.

To put 6-8 in their own little nonsensical world is idiotic.

Just at a time when they should be stepping up to play a leadership role and mentoring role to younger students, we put them in a world where its just a bunch of confused kids just like themselves every day.

No incentive to "grow up", no one "looking up" to them.. .no new responsibilities to undertake... etc etc etc.

Foolishness


15 posted on 01/23/2007 8:05:43 AM PST by HamiltonJay
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To: HamiltonJay
Middle schools are some of the absolutely stupidiest educational concepts every unleashed.

But middle schools have an important function -- increasing the number of administrators and support personnel by 50%.

16 posted on 01/23/2007 8:17:16 AM PST by omega4412 (Multiculturalism kills. 9/11, Beslan, Madrid, London)
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To: shrinkermd

What goes around comes around.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Bring back Junior High School.

Homeschooling BUMP!!!


17 posted on 01/23/2007 8:26:24 AM PST by upchuck (Wanted: Conservatives to go read this: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1771175/posts)
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To: shrinkermd

YEP....Bill Gates is TRYING to get school districts to have SMALLER schools also....instead of the gigantic ones they have built.....but they are fighting him. Interesting tidbid some may not know.....Seattle School District LOST its funding from the GATES Foundation because they failed to live up to the requirements! (Last year or the year before....can't remember.)


18 posted on 01/23/2007 8:31:45 AM PST by goodnesswins (We need to cure Academentia)
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To: Aquinasfan
Are we a free country or what?

"What."

19 posted on 01/23/2007 8:43:14 AM PST by Tax-chick ("You're not very subtle, but you are effective.")
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To: Tax-chick
"What."

That's what! ;-)

20 posted on 01/23/2007 10:54:27 AM PST by Aquinasfan (When you find "Sola Scriptura" in the Bible, let me know)
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