chapter  8
18 Pages

Moving Through Elementary, Middle, and High Schools: The Primary to Secondary Shifts in the United States


In the United States, public school confi gurations vary signifi cantly based on a variety of factors. From the genesis of a one-room school house where all students are educated together, primary and secondary schools emerged. Around the turn of the century, junior highs (age 11-14) were created and the contemporary shift in the last 30 years is the move to the developmentally responsive middle school concept (age 10-13). The ideal school confi guration has been a recurrent question that still lacks conclusive research evidence, and seemingly is infl uenced by geography, enrollment, fi nancial considerations, and district consolidation among other factors, more so than what is best for students. While many diverse confi gurations still exist (e.g., K-12 schools, single grade schools, K-8) and shifts in confi gurations seem to ebb and fl ow, the predominant structure in the US today includes the elementary, middle, and high school.