23 September 2011

New York Leaps into the Middle School Trap : Education Next

New York Leaps into the Middle School Trap : Education Next

"In the specific year when students move to a middle school (or to a junior high), their academic achievement, as measured by standardized tests, falls substantially in both math and English relative to that of their counterparts who continue to attend a K–8 elementary school. What’s more, their achievement continues to decline throughout middle school. This negative effect persists at least through 8th grade, the highest grade for which we could obtain test scores."

04 September 2011

Developing Responsible Citizens

Peter Levine makes the case in this article that smaller schools will do a better job of helping develop more responsible youth. He says, "If we hope to create effective, committed, and responsible citizens, huge schools have several marked disadvantages." He further says, "In a huge high school, there is little chance that any adult will try to steer a student who is on a mediocre track onto a more challenging one."

To increase "civics" in our youth, more civics classes are not the answer. We need smaller schools where the youth will find adults who are more likely to know and guide them. We also need smaller school districts and other local governments, where the youth are more likely to know someone who is an elected leader, someone who is actively participating in government. They are more likely to learn about government that way than attending many "civics" classes.