Cover image for The war against excellence : the rising tide of mediocrity in America's middle schools
The war against excellence : the rising tide of mediocrity in America's middle schools
Yecke, Cheri Pierson, 1955-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Praeger, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxi, 267 pages ; 25 cm
Introduction -- The growth of the middle school movement -- Middle school curriculum -- Ability grouping -- Cooperative learning -- Peer tutoring -- Analysis of beliefs and driving convictions -- Activist implementation --- Ethical considerations -- Implictions for the twenty-first century.
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Item Holds
LC3993.9 .Y43 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Radical activists do not see the American middle school as an organization to impart academic knowledge, but as an instrument through which they can force social change. Yecke, an experienced teacher and administrator, shows how these activists have implemented their plans and endangered the education of all middle school children--especially those who are gifted.

In 1983 A Nation at Risk declared, If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. How did American educators respond? In their quest to establish a more egalitarian society, middle school activists and social reformers made it clear that the middle school was not just a new educational organization, but a means promoting social egalitarianism by coercing gifted students to be like everyone else. This was nothing less than a declaration of war against gifted children.

Yecke shows that the inadequacies of our systems of research and education pose a greater threat to U.S. national security over the next quarter century than any potential conventional war that we might imagine. The achievement of students in other nations now regularly surpasses that of American students, and it will be impossible to reverse this trend within the confines of the contemporary middle school concept. Yecke asserts that it is time for the American public to reject the radical middle school movement before too much damage is done.

Author Notes

Cheri Pierson Yecke is Director of Teacher Quality and Public School Choice, U.S. Department of Education.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Yecke, director of Teacher Quality and Public School Choice, US Department of Education, the mother of two academically gifted daughters, and a former middle school teacher, rails against the "prescriptive confines" of the contemporary middle school. The volume, which reads like a dissertation, begins with an in-depth chronicle of the history of the middle school from its genesis to its contemporary state, which Yecke terms "an activist movement designed to force radical social change." Yecke expresses concern that current middle schools promote social egalitarianism, to the detriment of gifted students. She covers no new ground but does provide extensive citations that might be useful to scholars of the contemporary middle school movement. Her final chapter suggests some interesting implications for middle schools in the 21st century. ^BSumming Up: Not recommended. A. W. Petersen Buena Vista University

Table of Contents

William J. Bennett
Forewordp. xiii
Prefacep. xv
Prologuep. xix
1. Introductionp. 1
2. The Growth of the Middle School Movementp. 19
3. Middle School Curriculump. 51
4. Ability Groupingp. 71
5. Cooperative Learningp. 115
6. Peer Tutoringp. 143
7. Analysis of Beliefs and Driving Convictionsp. 151
8. Activist Implementationp. 183
9. Ethical Considerationsp. 205
10. Implications for the Twenty-First Centuryp. 213
Appendicesp. 247
Selected Bibliographyp. 257
Indexp. 261