Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Middle School Critique: A Distortion of Reality

March 06, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Regarding Cheri Pierson Yecke’s Feb. 1, 2006, Commentary, “Mayhem in the Middle”:

It is simply untrue that schools employing the middle school concept treat “nonacademic endeavors, such as identity development and social-skills training, as the priority.” Rather, schools built on the middle school concept recognize and understand what research shows: For this age group, academic achievement is strengthened when appropriate attention is paid not just to academic needs, but also to emotional and social as well as athletic and physical needs. Research also shows that the developmental needs of young adolescents are distinct from those of both elementary-age children and high school students.

Most responsible educators no doubt would agree that middle-grades education should not focus exclusively on personal adjustment, and would, along with Ms. Yecke, support “rigorous academic standards, a coherent curriculum, high expectations, effective instruction, strong leadership, results-based accountability, and sound discipline.” In fact, there is enormous overlap between her words and the middle school concept as described in the National Middle School Association’s position paper “This We Believe: Successful Schools for Young Adolescents.”

Ms. Yecke paints an inaccurate picture of the middle school concept, then uses it to set up an artificial opposition between her goals for students and the goals of those who adhere to the concept. Such distortion is unworthy of someone in so important an educational position, and I trust she will take steps to correct it.

Bill Ivey

Middle School Dean

Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Greenfield, Mass.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 19, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 12, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read