Friday, January 15, 2010

i don't believe in tracking

thanks to Jeannie Oakes and Aspen Institute. I mean, I didn't really believe in it before I read these things, but now any kids I might have of my own are screwed for sure, because I'm pretty sure the entire education system needs to be revamped.

I'm just saying.

I know people will think, oh, that Gretzky, she's crazy, but I really mean it:

I do not believe in tracking.

In practice, what this means:

I do not believe in AP classes, honors classes, Special Ed specific classrooms, or Bilingual ed specific classrooms.

I think every single kid in every single school in the country can achieve, and I believe they do it better when we don't classify them as "honors" kids, "ESL" kids, or most harmfully, "those" kids. I believe the way we track kids is leftover as a legacy of setting up institutions unfairly, and I believe it's wrong.

In a country where every kid is entitled to a free education, I believe there should be no private schools. I think it's criminal that one kid, because their parents can pay for it, can access an excellent education, while another kid, whose parents cannot afford it, is stuck in a neighborhood school that will not prepare them successfully for work or life.

I used to believe in these things. I used to think they were good for my kids, the kids I taught. I thought that these things might help one or two of my kids succeed, go to college, have a future.

I've changed my mind. I think I was trying to convince myself that there were ways for my kids to work the system, that they too could do anything and be anybody, and now I'm at the point of just saying, fuck the system, it's not working out well for anybody.

Should you disagree with me, and I have no doubt many will, I recommend addional reading before you give me your opinion:

Jonathan Kozol
Karen Chenowith
George Theoharris
Lisa Delpit
Herbert Kohl

1 comment:

orangegirl said...

Then you would hate, I repeat H-A-T-E the German education system, which separates children at age 10 and puts them into one of three unchangeable "tracks" for the rest of their education. The lowest is a vocational school (you learn to work in factories or be a construction worker or work at a cash register, etc), one is a kind of in-between, and one is for "gifted" students who get to go to the university. Whenever I think about it I weep and gnash my teeth.