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CHAPTER 2: Middle and Secondary Schools Today and Tomorrow:
Reform Efforts, Challenges and Issues, and Trends and Practices
At the completion of this chapter, your students should be able to:
- Discuss the role of NCLB and other educational reform initiatives in shaping the future of education in the country.
- Differentiate between middle school and secondary school reforms in terms of their purpose, characteristics, and goals.
- Explain why the original content area standards and the Common Core State Standards were developed and the purpose they now serve.
- Classify the types of schools according to their specialization, and comment on the popularity of Charter and K-8 schools.
- Analyze the causes and possible solutions of the two main concerns that jeopardize the future of middle and secondary schools students.
- Discuss the most popular curriculum options and the changes they aim to implement.
- Identify trending methods to test students’ capabilities and improve their learning.
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and Other Current Reforms
Middle and Secondary School Reform
Current Reform Efforts
Middle and Secondary School Reform
Middle School Reform
Secondary School Reform
The Common Core State Standards Initiative
Alternatives for Reorganizing Middle and Secondary Schools
Organizational Provisions for Student Differences
Challenges and Issues That Plague the Nation’s Middle and Secondary Schools
Struggling Students/High School Dropouts
Meaningful Curriculum Options
Response to Intervention: A Tiered Approach to Instructing All Students
Understanding by Design and Backwards Design
Key Trends Designed to Prepare Our Students for the Future
21st Century Skills
Data-Driven Decision Making
Service Learning with Global Impact
Reform initiatives: No Child Left Behind; Race to the Top
This We Believe: Essential Attributes of Successful Schools
Common Core Standards Initiative
Secondary schools: magnet schools; fundamentals schools; charter schools; for-profit schools; partnership schools; tech prep high schools; full-service schools; International
Baccalaureate schools; community learning centers
Comprehensive high schools
Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone
Understanding by Design; Backwards Design
Response to Intervention
21st Century Skills
Data-driven Decision Making
Note 2-1: Have students search for articles in local newspapers and on the Internet to uncover what your state has done to prove its commitment to reform and the raising of standards by addressing President Obama’s Race to the Top.
Note: 2-2: The Association for Middle Level Education developed 16 characteristics of successful middle schools. Have students discuss what they think of the framework presented in Figure 2.1 (pages 29-30), how they think the middle school philosophy is addressed in this well-respected position paper and whether they believe that the suggestions included in This We Believe, would provide an education for young adolescents which is developmentally responsive, challenging, empowering, and equitable.
Note 2-3: Consider this for class discussion: One of the fastest growing demographic groups in the United States is the prison population. With more than one million individuals incarcerated, the United States now has the highest prison population in the world. The relationship between incarceration and education is perhaps more than coincidental: 82% of the country’s prisoners are school dropouts. We spend roughly five times as much money to house a prisoner as we do to educate a child. What can and should be done to disrupt the school to prison pipeline?
Note 2-4: Have students brainstorm what they see as the key skills, knowledge, and dispositions they would need to enter the work force and/or pursue an education once they graduate from high school. Have them compare their lists to characteristics described in the 21st Century Skills. Have them discuss what they believe needs to be done to keep the future workforce in the United States competitive in a global market.
Note 2-5: There are critics and supporters of the standards movement in general and the Common Core State Standards Initiative specifically. Share with students what has happened in your state in the past twenty years to embrace and/or refute this trend.
Note 2-6: Additional national problems are with school leadership, especially with the diminishing availability of and retention of school principals and district superintendents. For example, at the end of the year 2000 the average tenure of superintendents in large city school districts was just slightly more than two years.
Note: Exercises that are listed with numbers in bold type are those most likely to require a school on-site visitation.
2.1 My First Micro Peer-Teaching Demonstration—MPT I (60 min. EWT) 44
SUPPLEMENTAL CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
Activity 2-1: Charter Schools
An informative exercise would be to have students collect and compare information on various charter schools in your state or region and across the United States. Students could start by investigating charter schools they are familiar with and/or charter schools in geographic areas or in states where they hope to teach. Recently on 60 Minutes, the Gulen Islamic charter schools, which often go by the name “Harmony Schools” or “Horizon Schools,” were featured. Have students research these schools and share their opinions about the claim that these institutions have powerful ties to the Turkish Islamic cleric, Fethullah Gulen. Have students investigate other “so-called” religious charter schools and the debate surrounding them.
Activity 2-2: Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone
Geoffrey Canada’s approach to ending poverty in the U.S. has gained a lot of success. In fact, many schools and districts are basing their school reform efforts on his model. Have students examine Dr. Canada’s philosophy and the school’s expectations,
community/parental involvement, and the plethora of services which are provided to students throughout their education. Have students research schools that have adopted the Harlem Children’s Zone’s philosophy. What elements have they adopted? How successful have they been?
Activity 2-3: K-8 Schools
Have students share the various grade configurations they are familiar with. Then have them brainstorm and prepare 3-5 questions covering the pros and cons of K-8 schools. Next, ask students to, conduct informal interviews with students, teachers, administrators, and parents who are somehow connected to a k-8 school. Have students compile and share their findings. Next have students discuss the key differences between the feedback they obtained from supporters and critics of K-8 schools. Ask the students to share whether they would prefer to teach in a K-8, middle school, or junior high school and support their choice.
Activity 2-4: Adolescent Illiteracy
Have students brainstorm different definitions of illiteracy. Have them guess how many adults (i.e. high school graduates) and how many adolescents are illiterate. Provide students with statistics on literacy rates around the world. Ask them to hypothesize why the illiteracy rate is so high in this country. Also, ask students to share their opinions concerning why all middle and secondary teachers should or should not teach literacy skills. Have students complete Activity 2.4 (page 39).
Activity 2-5: Blackboard Jungle
The cliché that “history repeats itself” certainly applies to the educational context. Have students watch the classic film Blackboard Jungle (1955), a social commentary of the times which follows an idealistic teacher during his first year at an inner-city. Before viewing Blackboard Jungle, have the students brainstorm problems they think teachers face and issues our education system is confronted with today. While students watch the film, ask them to note common themes in the film that seem to have recurred consistently throughout America’s educational history, from its beginnings to the present. Also, have the students comment on any inconsistencies they observed. How do the scenes in the film mirror the growing pains and the progress that accompanied the expansion of American education? Next, ask the students to try to predict what issues American educators will continue to face in the 21st century. You can also have students check out movie reviews and critiques on Blackboard Jungle by searching the Internet.
Activity 2-6: MySpace
In Costa Mesa, California, a middle school student faced expulsion because he allegedly posted threats on the Internet against one of his classmates. In March of 2006, two teen girls, students at Genoa Area High School in Ottawa, were charged with posting numerous death threats on Myspace.com. Unfortunately, these are not isolated cases and many adolescents across the U.S. and Canada have posted vicious threats on MySpace and been caught. Some have been disciplined and others have had criminal charges filed against them. Have your students peruse local newspapers and the Internet to uncover recent accounts where adolescents are charged with posting threats on the Internet. Have students explore answers to the following questions and/or use these questions to have a classroom discussion/debate. What can educators do to make sure adolescents understand that making threats of violence over the Internet is inappropriate? What should the consequences be for adolescents who post violent threats; i.e., what disciplinary action should be taken? What role do school administrators have when classmates are threatening each other over the Internet? Does it matter if the students are posting their messages from their home or school computers?
Activity 2-7: No Child Left Behind (NCLB )
Stakeholders have both positively and negatively critiqued the 2001 No Child Left Behind
(NCLB) legislation and the federal government’s role in K-12 education. Although many would agree with the overall intent of the law, many teachers, students, administrators, teacher candidates, cooperating teachers, parents, etc. have a strong opinion about NCLB’s focus on standards, testing, accountability, and teacher quality. Have students interview classroom teachers, administrators, teacher educators, secondary students, and parents in the local community to explore several perspectives. Students could brainstorm questions and develop an interview protocol they could use to elicit responses. Have students share their findings in a written report and class discussion.
Activity 2 -8: Challenge Day – Diversity Experiment
A major goal of educators is to create a welcoming classroom climate where all students feel safe and can reach their academic and social potential. Students stick to their cliques in our secondary schools and many students are the victims of bullying. Consequently, students in our schools often feel isolated and disconnected. The Challenge Day Program helps students form bonds and build community. Challenge Day activities invite students to share their stories, their feelings, their secrets, and their fears in an effort to break down barriers. One activity asks students to complete the following: “If you really knew me, you would know that …”. Although the beginning responses can be quite superficial, after trust is built up, students begin to share many painful secrets. Have students investigate how Monroe High School in Michigan accepted a Challenge to address the racial tension among their students.
Have students investigate what other programs exist that address divisive issues in schools. Have students check out the following Web sites:
Challenge Day: Teen Files – Surviving High School https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aKmMGsRvDA
Activity 2 -9: We Day
Inspirational teen, Craig Kielberger founded the Free the Children Charity back in 1995 when he was a young adolescent. Since 2007, Kielberger and his brother Marc have assembled young people across Canada the United States and the United Kingdom to work together to raise millions of dollars for a variety of charities. Check out the wonderful youth empowerment program known as We Day to read about all of the local and global initiatives and how to be involved in the year-long service learning program and learn how to become a We School.
Activity 2 -10: Think It Up — Innovative Philanthropy in Education
DonorsChoose.org is a revolutionary online charity developed by educator and entrepreneur Charles Best where everyone can help public school teachers across the United States by supporting a variety of projects and helping students in need. Not only do you have choice in what project you support at DonorsChoose, but you also get the transparency and feedback big donors receive. Find out how Best went from teaching in his own classroom in the Bronx to impacting more than 6.6 million students in America and explore how with Think It Up, students and teachers can design projects that draw on students’ passions and help support their pursuit of their educational goals.
Think It Up: New Site to Fund Student Passion Projects, Receives $10 million pledge from Staples
Activity 2 -11: Higher Education Priorities
The purpose of education has been and continues to be debated. In a recent speech in August
2015 titled “A New Focus on Outcomes in Higher Education,” Secretary of Education Arne
Duncan highlighted the Administration’s priorities for colleges and universities across the United States. He emphasized the following three prime issues: 1). colleges being held accountable not just for providing access but for guaranteeing student success, 2). degrees that result in quality jobs, not just any jobs, and 3). reigning in the uncontrolled costs and astronomical student debt. Have students explore these websites for post-high school planning for themselves and their future students.
EDX.ORG CHEGG.COM CAPPEX.COM PARCHMENT.COM
SUPPLEMENTAL READINGS AND MATERIALS
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academic achievement, and intention to drop out of high school: A longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Research, 104 (4), 241-252.
Bottoms, G. (2003). Closing the achievement gap: A “high schools that work” design for challenged schools. Atlanta, GA: Southern Regional Education Board.
Burns, M.K., & Ysseldyke, J.E. (2005). Comparison of existing response-to-intervention models
to identify and answer implementation questions. California School Psychologist, 10, 9– 20.
Callahan, R. (2005). Tracking and high school English learners: Limiting opportunities to learn.
American Educational Research Journal, 42(2), 305-328.
Carmichael, S. B., Martino, G., Porter-Magee, K. (2010). The state of state standards – and the
Common Core in 2010. Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
Chall, J. S. (2000). The Academic Achievement Challenge: What Really Works in the Classroom? New York: Guilford Press.
Christ, T.J., Burns, M.K., & Ysseldyke, J.E. (2005). Conceptual confusion within responseto-
intervention vernacular: clarifying meaningful differences. NASP Communiqué, 34(3) 6–8. Conner, E. & McKee, J. (2008). Drop–out challenges: Pathways to success. PrincipalLeadership, 9(3), 38-43.
Dirksen, D. J. (2011). Hitting the reset button using formative assessment to guide instruction,
Phi Delta Kappan, 92(7), 26-31.
Easton, L. B. & Soguero, M. (2011). Challenging assumptions: Helping struggling students succeed, Phi Delta Kappan, 92(5), 27-33.
George, P. S. (December 2000/January 2001). The evolution of middle schools,” Educational
Leadership, 58 (4), 40-44.
Griffiths, A-J., Parson, L.B., Burns, M.K., VanDerHeyden, A., & Tilly, W.D., III. (2007). Response to Intervention: research for practice. Alexandria, VA: National Association of State Directors of Special Education.
Hopkins, G. R. (December 2000). How important are intergenerational programs in today’s schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 82(4), 317-319.
Hopping, L. (December 2000). Multi-age teaming: A real-life approach to the middle school.
Phi Delta Kappan, 82(4), 270-272, 292.
Hoover, J.J., Baca, L., Wexler-Love, E., and Saenz, L. (2008). National implementation of response to intervention (RTI): research summary. Boulder, CO: University of Colorado, Special Education Leadership and Quality Teacher Initiative. Retrieved December 12,
2008, from www.nasdse.org/Portals/0/ NationalImplementationofRTI-ResearchSummary.pdf. Jackson, A. W. & Davis, G. A. (2000). Turning Points 2000. NY: Teachers College Press.
Jukes, I., McCain, T. & Crockett, L. (2010). Education and the role of the educator in the future,
Phi Delta Kappan, 92(4), 15-21.
Koopman, B. L. (2010). “From Socrates to Wikis: Using online forums to deepen discussions,
Phi Delta Kappan, 92 (4), p. 24-27
Exceptionality,18 (1), 6-17.
Larson, L. C. & Miller, T. N. (2011). 21st Century Skills: Prepare Students for the future. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 47 (3), 121-123.
Levin, H. M. & Rouse, C. E. (Jan. 25, 2012). The true cost of high school dropouts. The New
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MacIver, M. A. & Groginsky, S. (2011). Working statewide to boost graduation rates, Phi Delta
Kappan, 92 (5), 16-20.
McElroy, C. (December , 2000). Middle school programs that work. Phi Delta Kappan, 82
(4), 277-279, 292 .
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Montana Office of Public Instruction. (2009). Montana response to intervention: RTI framework.
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Wood, J. (July 1, 2013). Common Core State Standards – What’s the controversy? Teach. Learn.
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CHAPTER 2 EXAMINATION QUESTIONS
I. Multiple Choice
- A school that specializes in emphasizing a particular area of the curriculum, such as science and technology or the visual and performing arts, is called a(n) ____ school. (a) charter
- A public school that operates as an autonomous educational entity under a contract that is negotiated between its organizers and a sponsor who oversees the provisions of the contract is called a(n) _____ school.
- International Baccalaureate
- The first step of the authors’ five-step model for teaching is
- diagnostic assessment
- guiding student learning
- planning the units and lessons
- ongoing assessment of student learning
- Which of the following is experiencing today a decreased emphasis in middle and secondary schools when compared to practice of the last half of the 20th century?
- ability grouping and curriculum tracking
- using the World Wide Web as a communication tool and learning resource
- integrating the curriculum and introducing reading, writing, and thinking across the curriculum
- holding high expectations for all students while providing curriculum options with multiple pathways for academic success
- Which of the following is a major problem for the nation’s schools?
- many are too large, housing too many students
- controversy over the concept of a national curriculum with national assessments
- a demand for test scores and statistics that can be used to compare and judge schools
- the education of students who may be too overwhelmed by personal problems to focus on learning and to succeed in school
- all of these are problems that plague the nation’s schools
- In the five-step model for teaching, which step(s) are analogous to the preactive phase of decision making and thought processing?
- first step
- first two steps
- third step
- fourth step
- fifth and first steps
- Which one of the four decision-making and thought-processing phases of instruction occurs at the time the lesson is being taught?
- none of the above
- _________ is a school with a curriculum that is designed for specialization, such as for humanities and international studies, performing and visual arts, or science and technology.
(a.) A charter school
- A magnet school
- An exemplary school
- A fundamentals school
- An International Baccalaureate School
- _________ assessment is a synonym for preassessment.
- You need a large repertoire of teaching strategies so that you can (a) cover the subject matter.
- impress the school principal.
- score well on the national teacher examination.
- adapt the best and most appropriate teaching methods to specific teaching/learning situations.
II. True-False with optional explanation
- A charter school is a school that specializes in a particular area of the curriculum, such as science and technology or the visual and performing arts.
- It is possible for a school to be both a magnet school and a charter school.
- Today’s concept of schooling is to assume that there is no student in a public school who cannot learn given the proper environment, opportunity, and encouragement.
- To be most effective, a teacher must believe that all students can learn.
- Academic learning is the only important consequence of formal schooling.
- It is possible in the United States for a child to complete his or her public school education without ever having had at an ethnic minority teacher.
- That during the years of public education there will be a certain number of educational
“casualties” is an acceptable and viable assumption.
- For a school to be most effective, the adults of that school must believe that all students can learn.
- List five major problems in public education today. Select one and discuss its possible causes and resolutions.
- Express your opinion on the following statement: It is not important that a child might complete his or her public education without ever having had an ethnic minority teacher.
- Describe current efforts to design middle and secondary schools to better meet the needs of all students.
- Explain why you agree or disagree that being a public teacher is more of a challenge today than ever before in U.S. history. Chapter 2 Key
I Multiple Choice
- b b
- a d
- a b
- a d
- e b
- Answers will vary but should demonstrate knowledge, critical thinking, and skillful written expression.
- Answers may vary but should express the importance of role models for young people.
- See text pages 33-37.
- Answers will vary but should represent knowledge, critical thinking, and skillful written expression.