"The middle school years are critical for students in reaching conclusions regarding their own skills and aptitudes,"
Yes educators should make things understandable, yes we should make learning fun but there is a whole big nasty world of hungry people who would kill for the chance to "reach conclusions about their own skills...".
Where are the parents or schools telling students that engineering, maths and science can make the difference between having a job and not? Because at the end of the day those students need to get the cold hard fact: Do something useful and get paid, or hope somebody else will just give you a living. Presumably they don't expect to be hungry no matter what happens.
N.B. please reread the "Yes educators should make things understandable, yes we should make learning fun" line before replying.