Public officials and educators have focused on the need for all high school students to graduate prepared for college or a career. Although the discussion has been intense over the past year about turning around the country's lowest-performing high schools, or dropout factories, no comparable buzz surrounds low-performing middle schools.
That's because we've solved the middle school problem over the past decade. With aligned standards, tests and curricula, we can raise the reading and math scores of middle school students to an acceptable level, or, if we want to go further, hire a middle school CMO and max out the scale.
The new "college and career ready" standards will properly align down high school to be more like extended middle school, and then early college, AP, dual-enrollment, etc. becomes the new high school.