Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Let's Hear it For Tracking in Education

Guess what.  The New York Times reports that "Grouping Students by Ability Regains Favor in Classroom." (June 10)

It seems that some school systems and teachers are realizing that the "old-school" technique of assigning children to classes based on their proficiencies actually works - if education's target is to actually educate to one's fullest potential.  If, on the other hand, the primary aim of the school is not education, but the promotion of self-esteem and equality - grouping, or tracking, may clearly be anathema to that concept.

Goals have to be prioritized.  If we, as a nation, believe that egalitarianism in education is primary, then perhaps educational resources should not be directed towards the natural separation that would result from grouping or tracking policies.  If, on the other hand, actual education rather than egalitarian education is our priority we should be doing the utmost to customize it according to level of ability.

It is quite obvious that we are not "created equal" in every respect. We should not delude ourselves into believing that promoting equality of ability - whether it's scientific or investigational, artistic, mathematical, creative, athletic, or whatever - will be constructive.  We should not deceive ourselves with thoughts that "we can be whatever we want to be."  It may be the politically correct "belief," but the facts say otherwise.

Being "gifted and talented" is not a curse.  It should be cherished, nurtured, and promoted - whatever the gift or the talent.

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