Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Middle School Hell

The New York Times calls them the "critical years":

Driven by newly documented slumps in learning, by crime rates and by high dropout rates in high school, educators across New York and the nation are struggling to rethink middle school and how best to teach adolescents at a transitional juncture of self-discovery and hormonal change.

The difficulty of educating this age group is felt even in many wealthy suburban school districts. But it is particularly intense in cities, where the problems that are compounded in middle school are more acute to begin with and where the search for solutions is most urgent.

I've been nominally planning to pull my kids out of school once they hit middle school. Their elementary school is safe and adequately educational. The things I hear about middle school make me cringe. And of course, my memory of middle school is fright-inducing itself.

Parents of teens, do you recommend this change? And what about putting them back in public schools in High School? Our district has many opportunities for High Schoolers.

H/T Ann Althouse


Chalmers said...

Middle School definitely blew the big one for me, even before we moved.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't know, I'm not a parent. And I never experienced middle school myself, because in my district it was simply grades 7-8 in a grade school. There was a middle school or junior high in the district and I did feel terribly deprived of this experience. My grades 7-8 had no distinct teen culture, and so I eagerly anticipated all that at high school.

Maybe that's the answer. Abolish it!

Dr. Melissa said...

anon 2:34,

Abolishing middle school is an excellent idea. Why not keep kids together until 8th grade?

Then they are only the "little kid" once again--as 9th graders, but by then, a lot of the hormones have changed.

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miraclekid_777 said...

I believe that, even though middle school sucks, it teaches a lot of things. You have to raise your children right before they get there (so they don't do something really stupid), and give them lots of support while they struggle through it. I think that you if take them out, they are missing out on life lessons, and a growing experience.
Middle school was an extremely bad few years for me, too (more so than most, actually. my father and sister passed away, and my mother was insane.) HOWEVER, I learned a lot from it. See, until you get to middle school, you don't really have consequences for your actions. You just get a swat on the hand. Once you get there, you learn how people really work.
Middle school also has some GOOD things. You learn about yourself, what you like, what you don't like. Middle schoolers don't have in depth perception of this, but it faintly begins to take shape. (You learn to like math/science/history, whether or not you like computers, drama, singing, etc...)
Pulling kids out of middle school (unless they have some really bad issues) is a bad, bad idea. Don't stunt their mental growth.