"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Hand-Wringing at Middle School

The reformers who brought you the current orgy of testing in schools are considering what to do about increasing evidence of disengagement and dropping out in middle schools. In L. A. they are experimenting with "intense counseling" as a possible cure. With or without the water board, I wonder.

This clip captures the irony of ironies for the mess in the middle:

Middle schools, sometimes called intermediate schools, were created starting in the 1960s, after educators determined that seventh-through-ninth-grade junior high schools were excessively rigid and unattuned to adolescents’ personal development. But now, a battery of standardized tests, some required under the No Child Left Behind law, are starkly illustrating that many of these sixth-through-eighth-grade schools are failing, also.

How do we know that middle schools are "excessively rigid and unattuned to adolescents' personal development?" We administer a battery of excessively rigid and unattuned instruments, silly--like the ones that have destroyed the natural intellectual curiosity that once accompanied childhood.

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:11 PM

    I just stumbled across your blog while doing some research about NCLB and school choicen (I'm doing an M.Ed.) Great blog!

    Danielle

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  2. Middle school students don't care about testing nearly as much as their teachers do. They are too busy doing their own thing. As a group, they are still enjoying childhood while striving to be treated like adults. I loved your last paragraph.

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