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This We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents

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Every day, millions of diverse, rapidly changing 10- to 15-year-olds make critical and complex life choices and form the attitudes, values, and dispositions that will direct their behavior as adults. They deserve an education that will enhance their healthy growth as lifelong learners, ethical and democratic citizens, and increasingly competent, self-sufficient individuals who are optimistic about the future and prepared to succeed in our ever-changing world.

This We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents, p. 3

The release of This We Believe: Keys to Educating Young Adolescents comes at a propitious time. Many major decisions about how public education will be organized and operated will be made in the months and years ahead as misguided "accountability by testing" reforms lose steam. It is critical for those of us committed to the education of young adolescents to embrace the vision of education set forth in This We Believe, fully understand its precepts, and proactively join discussions at the local, state, national, and international levels about the future of public education.

The efforts of National Middle School Association (NMSA) and its membership over the last four decades have been part of a larger, progressive, child-centered educational movement that is nearly a century old. During the first 50 years, this movement focused on the junior high school, while the focus in recent decades has been on creating and supporting more developmentally appropriate middle schools. This movement has been guided by NMSA's position paper, This We Believe.

Since 1982, each version of This We Believe has reflected both the maturation of the middle school concept, as it has been put into practice in thousands of schools, and the growth and development of NMSA. The newest edition is the best, current, and most forward-thinking expression of the enduring, timeless ideals that have been-and must continue...