The alarming statistics: more than half of 8th graders fail to meet standards in reading, math, and science. In mathematics, 4th graders start in the middle of the pack on International tests, but then drop to the lower third by the 8th grade. American middle school students also report the highest rates of emotional and physical problems.
As seen in many other 'National Reports', parental support seems to reduce the likelihood that kid had problems in school, but what was different about this report was that the researchers made specific recommendations that schools become more involved in parent education. One excerpt: "...although middle school principals perceive the lack of parental involvement to be a problem...middle schools do little to actively encourage it. We found that fewer than one-half of middle schools offer any workshops and courses for parents, and only a little more than one-third of public middle schools require teachers to provide suggestions for activities that parents can do at home with their children. Yet the middle school years are likely to be when parents would most welcome workshops on developmental changes and the implications of such changes for parent-child relationships, emerging risky behaviors, and academic performance..."
Time: Is Middle School Bad For Kids?
Rand Report of U.S. Middle School Students pdf