Community groups (including Make the Road by Walking) are calling on the New York City Department of Education to develop a plan to improve middle schools.
They argue that too often the sixth through eighth grades become pathways to failure.
The Coalition for Educational Justice plans to release a report today showing the need for a rigorous curriculum, advanced course offerings and classes of no more than 20 students each.
The report also calls for hiring a deputy chancellor that would coordinate among middle schools, high schools, colleges and the working world.
Norm Frutcher of the coalition says that middle schools are often ignored in reform efforts in the city.
But Education Department spokesman David Cantor says that the agency considers the middle school years of critical importance.
He points to efforts to carve large middle schools into smaller learning communities and $40 (M) million dollars in funding for students in those grades.