A report from the New York City Coalition for Educational Justice (Make the Road by Walking is a member) says that many city middle schools are "pathways to failure." Ouch. The group also has some damning statistics: Though 50% of white students can read at eighth grade levels, only 25% of Hispanic and African-American students can (and only 22% of eighth grade students at high poverty schools can read at eighth grade levels).
From the Sun: Accelerated math courses are offered at 57% of high-performing schools, which have higher proportions of white students and lower proportions of high-poverty students, and only 17% of low-performing schools, which tend to have more minority and highpoverty students. Among teachers at the low-performing middle schools, 25% weren’t highly qualified under No Child Left Behind requirements, compared to 17% at high-performing schools.
The group has specific recommendations for the Department of Education to revamp its system: Having better qualified teachers; new mentoring programs; a new deputy chancellor to oversee all levels of schools; and "incentive strategies" to recruit and retain middle school teachers.
The Department of Education says that it does consider middle school education important and that it’s working to improve performance.