The way the system is now, of the four grade levels middle school has only two grades 7th and 8th grades. On the elementary level, primary grades are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades and the secondary level there is 4th, 5th and 6th grades. Then high school there is 9th thru 12th grades. The problem I see
with this grouping is that too many 9th grades haven’t been given that extra year needed to mature for what is expected of them on the high school level.
During 9th grade on a junior high level, they are treated like seniors and they serve as role models for the 7th graders. They leave junior high more focused. Records should supported the higher achievements made by 9th graders back then, especially at Elena.
I feel downfalls were the high retention rate which caused over-crowding and then social promotion. To have dysfunctional 17, 18 and even 19 year olds in class with 12 and 13 year olds presented many challenges.
Looking at the bottom-line, I believe federal funding for the high schools played a major role for the change. This also provides the administration away to filter out those over aged problematic students. It is much easier dropping a student from high school than from junior high.
To me, the educational system today is retarding our children. These students are exposed to and have master technical things that some educators are still trying to learn. The grading has been watered down, and there is no need to repeat the same stuff over in junior high. Junior high school is where every student should be learning about trades. The higher academics can still be taught through practical hands on lessons. Students should be introduced to the open classroom philosophy, learning how they can fit into this community and world economy.
To take it a step further, junior high is where, for some classes, the boys and girls should be separated. For one there are too many distractions on this level and there are things that needed to be said to both groups separately.
Now, by high school 9th graders are mature and ambitious. College bound students would be prepared for their goals, with a trade background to help supplement their tuition fees. The vocational students should graduate with a diploma and a business license in their trade.
In my humble opinion,
Ivan Butcher II, St. Croix