Editorial: Accelerate Middle School Student Progress

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - This school year is the year Alabama must accelerate average yearly progress with our middle school students.

Right now, more than 30% of our 7th graders are not proficient in math and more than 25% of our 8th graders are not proficient in reading. That is not acceptable.

Focusing on these students is key to lowering drop out rates, increasing graduation rates, and improving our education system. How do we do it?

Expand the reading initiative beyond kindergarten to third grade. Take it up through the middle grades. It has worked well K-3 as more than 86% of our third graders are proficient in reading.

Expand the science and math initiatives. Only half of our schools have it now. The others are being left behind.

Approve and fund the making middle grades work initiative. This initiative offers professional development for teachers, more counseling for students and intense focus on reading.

The largest class sizes statewide are in the middle school grades. We must do better with these students.

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