Some parents say New York City’s middle schools for too long have failed to prepare our students for high school, yielding low test scores. Now they are calling for major middle school reforms.
Parents in the Coalition for Educational Justice, say there is a middle school crisis in New York City. (Make the Road by Walking is a founding member of the Coalition.)
T. Thaddeus Brown, parent-activist: "We need smaller class sizes, we need social and academic support systems in the schools."
Recent state test scores suggest there is a crisis: In English, more than 60 percent of third graders perform at or above grade level, but by eighth grade, fewer than 37 percent meet standards.
In math, 75 percent of third graders are proficient, but only about 39 percent of eighth graders make the grade.
They marched beneath the pedestrian bridge that crosses West Street toward the elite, Stuyvesant High School.
Victoria Bousquet, parent-activist: "This bridge, for many years, has been closed to a lot of our students because they aren’t qualified to take those specialized high school exams … entrance exams … and make it into schools like this one."
As even these activists point out, there are middle schools in the city working hard to make the best of the resources that they have.
The Department of Education says the city’s 8th grade test scores are up over the past four years and it continues to work to increase middle school student achievement, including a recent 40 million dollar initiative for struggling middle schools. But activist parents say they want results.
Zakiyah Ansari, parent-activist: "Every year we teach children to…not be able to pass and then…once they get into high school, I think that contributes to our low graduation rate because they’re not ready for high school.