The Middle School Muddle

Lots of noise lately on eliminating middle schools. Here in Philly Mr. Vallas is being quoted in these stories because a) he's been working to reconfigure our schools, going to a mostly K-8 model; and b) well, he likes being quoted.

What did he do in Chicago with middle schools? My memory fails me on this one. I think Chicago already had gone to a K-8 model, and had very few middle schools when Vallas was there, yes?
I think most education folks would agree that reconfiguring grades -- whether it's going to a K-8 model or creating "freshmen academies" -- is a bit like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. These are measures that give the impression of "doing something" -- but  ultimately don't improve outcomes for kids throughout the district.

In this blog Link: post there links to a few of the news stories and to the Johns Hopkins study, which is cited as evidence of success for the K-8 model. (But check those report findings closely.)

Filed under: The World Outside CPS


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  • 01:38pm,

    I would guess that middle schools work in affluent areas because just about anything will work in the condition where parents are vested in how well their children do in school, where education of children occurs as much outside of the classroom as in it, where violence is not tolerated in the school because it doesn't exist in large amounts in the surrounding community etc.

  • From a parent perspective some of the middle school models don't work because you/your kids aren't at the school long enough. Two years - not enough time to even figure the school out -nevermind figure out how you want to be involved or negotiate anything.... Overall this translates into a lack of parent involvement - which could be really beneficial for those tricky middle school grades.

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