Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tracking in Schools: myth and rhetoric

…with work which you despise, which bores you and which the world does not need… This life is hell.
-- W. E. B. DuBois (March 2, 1958)

In every kind of organization, failed expectations tend to be disguised and buffered with a kind verbal magic, formulations that express the triumph of hope over experience.
A nation's "Department of Justice" may have little to do with justice, being occupied merely with the enforcement of laws that many see as unjust.

A school's "disciplinary" procedures may have little to do with developing discipline in the students, relying mostly on incarceration in a special room or expulsion to maintain order.

"Tracking," too, is an example of such educational rhetoric, sometimes a façade for social class or racial segregation. Where goals are uncertain or indeterminate, the term, "tracking," gives the appearance that someone, somewhere, knows something about where the whole show is going, or, even, that it is going somewhere.

Some people like to say that study in school is "work" for kids. But aimless, boring "work" is indeed hell.

To examine four fallacious arguments for tracking, see Tracking in Public Schools

Cordially,

-- EGR