There is widespread evidence that a mismatch exists between what middle level schools offer and what 10 to 14 year olds need. More and more of these “early adolescents” are experimenting with drugs and alcohol, becoming pregnant, and dropping out. These issues and the increased incidents of violence at this age cause many parents to view with anxiety their children's transition from the relatively safe elementary school to the unknown, often maligned middle or junior high school. Prospective teachers most often choose not to work in the middle grades because they don’t think they can work with “those kids”. Who are these 10 to 14 year old kids that are caught in the middle, no longer children, but not yet adults? Providing educational programs that best serve their needs is the challenge of middle level education today

Note on the Author

Charles Robinson is a professor in the Department of Secondary Education and Professional Programs.

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