From the Guest Editor

By Kommer, David | American Secondary Education, Summer 2006 | Go to article overview

From the Guest Editor


Kommer, David, American Secondary Education


The theme of this issue of American secondary Education is Reexamining and Renewing Middle Level Education. Middle level reform has a history of over four decades of accomplishment, but the current challenges facing middle level students and educators require taking another hard look. Early leaders of the middle school movement were instrumental in defining a course of action for middle level educators. They established the National Middle School Association, which now has over 55 affiliates around the world helping young adolescents become successful people. Many of the students in those early middle schools are now teachers in today's middle schools.

In 1989, Turning Points, the report of the Carnegie Commission on Adolescent Development was published. It became a call to greater action on a national level to transform the way young adolescents were being taught. That publication was revisited in 2000 and continues to help guide reform efforts. But all is not smooth in this ongoing effort. The initial No Child Left Behind did leave middle school students behind. Some city districts have discontinued middle schools, and the movement has been criticized by many for placing concern for the psychological development of students above concern for rigor. Some middle level schools still have not embraced central concepts of middle school education such as advisory programs and interdisciplinary instruction -- even when they have the "middle school" name above their doors.

This issue of ASE hopes to raise some questions, give some answers, point out new directions, and keep the movement fresh. As guest editor, I want to personally thank each and every one of the authors for making a contribution toward reexamining and renewing middle level education.

Tom Erb is in a unique position to see the field of middle level education from a comprehensive point of view. As the editor of NMSA's Middle School Journal, he is knowledgeable about both the achievements of middle level education and about its critics. In this issue, he cites solid research studies to reaffirm the success of the middle school movement and to refute attacks such as those by Cheri Yecke, Florida's new Chancellor of Education. …

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