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The bigger school questions

June 25, 2008

Re "Middle school -- smart, not small," Opinion, June 21

Creating small middle schools or eliminating them in favor of K-8 schools can only lay the groundwork for improvement. But structural changes need to be directly linked to changes in classroom practice or they lead nowhere.

Adjustments such as reassigning multi-age classrooms and mandating reduced class size have amounted to technical tinkering.

Only when we determine how to expand our country's teacher corps; support, coach and compensate outstanding beginning teachers so they do not drop out; and institutionalize an educational practice that builds on the full breadth of children's capacities will we see improvement in the disturbing behavior and academic performance that Jaana Juvonen reports.

Rabbi Laurence


Los Angeles

The writer is headmaster of the Sinai Akiba Academy.

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