One of Mark’s recent posts discussed the struggle to balance the time and energy we invest in students-especially failing students versus average or high performing students. It left me asking, “And why is tracking such a bad thing?”
In our current “untracked” system (in quotes because we all know there is a shadow tracking system) everyone is getting a raw deal: the low achievers/SPED/ELL don’t get the full extent of the support they need, the high achievers don’t get the challenge they need, and the average Joes & Janes often just end up waiting out the clock. How is that equitable? It’s no news everyone learns differently, our students come to us with a whole spectrum of ability, background knowledge and baggage. So why this dysfunctional marriage to inclusive classrooms?
Wouldn’t tracks that actually addressed specific needs be the more equitable route? We do not have a homogenous society. A homogenous education is not going to create said society or in any way “level the playing field”. If anything it highlights and perpetuates our disparity. Hand-in-hand with social promotion…another issue….
Tracking does not have to mean differing qualities of education. The buzzword for years has been “Differentiated Instruction”. Why can’t tracking be that-taken to the next level? There are examples of other systems using tracking to offer high quality, rigorous education to best develop students abilities. Without social stigma, without a negative impact on the economy or quality of students’ lives when they graduate-what makes it so taboo for us?