DC parents raise concerns about middle schools (Washington Post via Greater Greater Washington): “Middle schools are the latest hot spot in DC public education. With preschool and elementary enrollment ticking up for the first time in decades, parents and policymakers are scrutinizing the lack of attractive middle-grade options with increasing urgency [...] Without dramatic improvement in middle school quality, the long-term prospects for reform are bleak.” Back in March, we commented on a New York Times piece on the development of middle school pedagogy. Arguably, the “middle years” are neglected nationwide as much of the attention goes towards elementary school (formative years) or high school (pre-college years). Has the same been happening here?
Dismal DCPS Statistics Shared at Council Hearing (DCist): “ afternoon, D.C. Public Schools chancellor Kaya Henderson and other officials appeared in front of the DC Council’s Committee of the Whole to talk about middle school education [...] Among the figures that Henderson and DCPS officials quoted: 18.4 percent of DCPS middle schoolers have missed classes because they didn’t feel safe traveling to school; 13.9 percent of middle school students were afraid of being beaten up at some point in the last year; around 40 percent of DCPS ninth graders repeat the grade, while one in three DCPS ninth graders fail algebra.” In other words, many of the most dire problems in DC middle schools have little to do with academics. Schools need to be effective, absolutely, but they also need to feel safe and protected.