A new policy brief from the Education and Public Interest Center offers three case studies of a school (a San Diego charter), a district (on Long Island), and a nation (Finland) that have "abolished curricular stratification and promoted outstanding student achievement." According to the brief, classrooms and schools where all students are taught a challenging common curriculum offer proof that detracking can produce increased achievement and far more equitable outcomes. While acknowledging the complexity of such a reform, the brief's strong recommendation is the elimination of curricular tracks that separate students by race, socio-economic status, or assumptions about learning potential. It proposes that states require districts to identify all curricular tracks, describe their composition by racial and socio-economic groups, and indicate student placement policies. Policymakers should communicate clearly to the public what the data demonstrate about tracking and the reasons for reform. Detracking should begin with the lowest track, and meaningful access to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses should be available to all students throughout the reform process. The brief also advocates school, educator, and student support during the process, and presents model statutory code language that can be used by legislators seeking to implement these changes.
See the brief | Related
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
Friday, January 15, 2010
The Research and Policy Implementation to Support Detracking
As our penal pedagogy and backwards policy decisions drive teachers back to pre-Civil Rights days, it is important to pay close attention to what common sense, human decency, and research tells us about segregation by tracking. From PEN Newsblast (ht to Monty Neill):