Amen! Educators are realizing that middle school is a bad idea (link requires WSJ subscription):
One of the longstanding rites of passage in American childhood is on the wane: middle school.
That traditional precursor to high school that usually encompasses grades six through eight can be an exciting and challenging transition for preteen kids. But as every parent knows, it also can be fraught with anxiety over the tougher academics and more-sophisticated social scene.
Now, a growing body of evidence is showing that preteen students do better when they can remain in their familiar elementary schools for longer -- with better grades and fewer disciplinary problems than their middle-school peers. As a result, many school systems are starting to do away with middle schools and are increasing the number of elementary schools that continue through the eighth grade.
The number of public K-8 schools still is relatively small -- around 5,000, according to the U.S. Department of Education. But that number represents a 17% increase since 1993-94. That compares with a 9% increase in the total number of public elementary schools, which now number about 65,000, most of which go up to grades five or six.
Where I grew up, the elementary schools were very good, the high school was very good, and the middle school was awful. No one learned anything, and there were so many fights and drug problems that it seemed like the Wild West to us at the time. It was never clear to what extent the problem was school-specific, and to what extent it was middle school in general. But exploring K-8 schools as an alternative sounds very promising to me.