As I posted here in 2005, I've thought middle school was a terrible idea since the time I was old enough to attend one. I wondered at that time why it was supposed to be a good idea to move kids who were going through major developmental changes into a completely new, bigger environment with multiple teachers (including, at my school, mean P.E. jock teachers) and twice as many students. I don't think it's overdramatizing to say that 7th grade was the worst year of my life, though my grades were fine. I very badly wanted to be back at the elementary school where I'd been quite happy.
As I've talked to friends over the years, I've discovered most of them have the same bad memories of junior high school or middle school. Middle school is simply Not a Good Thing.
My oldest daughter attended my own old junior high school, and if anything, the experience had gotten worse by the time she was there. Our second-oldest child is avoiding the junior high experience entirely, schooling at home. Junior high is a concept that needs to be done away with.
Maggie Gallagher has more on this topic in her new column, including the pervasive junior high or middle school problem of "peer-generated torture" -- something our daughter experienced.
Fortunately there seems to be a growing trend in education away from junior high or middle school, toward K-8 schools. Keeping children who are going through big changes in other areas of their lives in a familiar environment, with a single teacher, seems to eradicate many of the problems students experience at middle schools. I'll be most interested to follow changes in this area of education.