March 2009 Your Turn

Middle schools could use some improvement, but they are a necessary bridge between elementary school and high school, Your Turn readers said.

Twenty-seven percent of respondents said middle schools are doing a good job of educating their students. Another 40 percent said middle schools may have problems, but these are no greater than the problems facing elementary schools and secondary schools. Thirteen percent said middle schools are doing a poor job, and 20 percent answered “none of the above.”

The prevailing opinion was summed up by Arizona board member Shawn Watt.

“Having experienced middle school as a child, parent, and board member, I may be a little biased, but I see the middle school environment, when structured effectively, as a critical step in the educational and emotional maturation of children on the path to high school and beyond,” Watt wrote. “I firmly believe that not having this middle step in the process creates a more daunting challenge for children and families when adjusting to the culture shock of high school.”

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