Beavercreek Transition to Middle Schools

Unanswered Questions

  1. What are the costs and benefits associated with proposed changes? Can we expect parent and taxpayer support, or will we be unable to finish what we start?
  2. How will results in the middle schools be measured? How will we know if the middle schools are effective?
  3. The "child centered" middle school philosophy is being adopted in response to the district's strategic goal of a "cutting edge" curriculum. Given that Rugg's book, The Child-Centered School was published in 1928, in what sense can adopting his philosophies be called "cutting edge?"
  4. In the March, 1991 issue of Educational Leadership, Susan Allan writes in a special feature on grouping that opposition to ability grouping is based on "misrepresentations of the [research] findings," and "clearly is inappropriate" application of the findings. What is the basis for the administration's recommendations to reduce ability grouping in the middle schools?
  5. We've been told that the needs of all students will be met by "differentiated instruction" in heterogeneously grouped classrooms. However, Carol Ann Tomlinson's work shows that differentiated instruction is insufficiently used to meet the needs of high ability students by both new and experienced teachers. How will these students be challenged?
  6. In Successful School Restructuring, the authors note that preoccupation with "schools within schools, flexible scheduling with longer classes, teacher teaming, and reduction of-tracking and ability grouping" often diverts attention from student learning. The authors ask "How is the new structural tool or practice likely to improve our school's human and social resources to increase student learning?" They conclude "policymakers should concentrate first on the principles of intellectural quality," and only secondarily on structural changes. How are we using the findings of this five-year study?
  7. In a September, 1996 article from Education Week, Stanley Pogrow lists "the middle school movement" among reforms "based on myths about human behavior" which will "inevitably flop" making "the profession look stupid." Have we realisticly evaluated our chances for success?
  8. According to Georgia's State Superintendent of Schools, Linda Schrenko, "middle schools work well in some settings and junior high schools work well in others. Ultimately, parents need to be able to make the choice." Have parents in Beavercreek been given the information appropriate to make an informed choice? Or are parents in Beavercreek less informed or less competent than parents in Georgia?
  9. The Stanford University Accelerated Schools Project (cited by Paul George as a "promising direction for middle schools") requires "buy-in" from 90 percent of full-time staff. Will Beavercreek teachers have the opportunity to anonymously express their professional opinions of the soundness of the proposed changes?
  10. Speaking on "The Paradigm Shift in the Nature of Teaching in the Public School," Professor Michael Andrew observed, "Personally, I think we may be selling teachers down the river with the new paradigm. We are setting them up for a nearly impossible task ..." Have Beavercreek teachers had the opportunity for informed consent regarding the administration's proposals?

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