Date: May, 2008
Author(s): United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Summary: This report examines the state of middle schools in L.A. County and the importance of middle grades on higher education, youth development, and eventual workforce readiness. This report contains a discussion on the importance middle grades play in young adulthood, the state of our middle schools (demographics, school capacities and academic achievement), the relationship between middle grades and higher education (high school graduation and college attendance), and more. Policy recommendations to improve schools and advance a nurturing learning environment for middle school students are also provided.
- There are approximately 400,000 middle school students in L.A. County, with a majority of students from minority and under-represented communities (73% are Latino or African-American, and at least 66% are in the free and reduced meal programs).
- For every 100 entering 9th grade students in L.A. County in 2002, only 57 actually graduated after four years.
- About 7 in 10 middle schools serving low income populations are failing federal education standards.
- Schools with 90% minority enrollment (Latino or African American) face extreme shortages of qualified teachers, employing only 45% of the qualified instructors that they need in math and science.
- Almost half of all students do not feel safe at school; 48% of 7th graders report being harassed, pushed or shoved at least one time.