Letter: Switch middle schools back to junior highs
I am very concerned about the huge dropout rate in America’s urban school districts. Based upon the research that I have done, the high school dropout rate can be traced directly to America’s urban school district’s abandoning the traditional junior high system of 7-8-9th grades and transforming to the middles school system of 6-7-8th grades.
Most ninth graders are unprepared academically, mentally and physically for the rigors of high school and as a result drop out of school.
Tacoma School District is an example of the middle school failure.
In the 2006-2007 school year there were 3059 9th graders attending Tacoma schools, four years later, 2009-2010 there were 1587 12th graders attending Tacoma schools. Over a four year period, 1, 472 students dropped out of Tacoma schools.
In the 2007-2008 school year there were 3040 9th graders attending Tacoma schools, four years later, 2010-2011 there were 1710 12th graders attending Tacoma schools. Over a four year period, 1,330 students dropped out of Tacoma schools.
This scenario is nationwide. The middle school conversion in the 1980s has turned our high schools into dropout factories.
Here is a thought; we can wipe out 1/3 of the dropout rate in one year. By returning to the junior high system of 7-8-9th grades, every ninth grade student automatically goes to 10th grade. It is that simple.
Graduating from Central Washington University with my teacher’s degree, I have worked with students on parole and probation for twenty-five years. If the junior high system were in place, I believe most of our court- connected students would still be in school and not in prison.