Location: Halstead, Kansas, United States

This is my seventh year at Halstead which is also where I live with my wife and my soon to be two year old daughter.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Small School Unintentional Tracking

Most who read this blog know that I teach in a small school district in the Middle of Kansas. Recently, I have noticed that there has been a shift in how we group students. When I first came to Halstead students had very open choices in their class selections. There were only a few parameters like "All juniors took US History".

Over the past few years some changes have happened. Some changes have been teacher driven and others have been due to the priority status of the Kansas State Assessment Tests. We have added a variety of remedial and and honors classes to better serve our students. While the intention is good I have noticed that we have unofficially started to track students. Let me give you an example:

A students who is taking more of the slower paced classes is going to automatically be pushed into a specific US history class? Why? Our small district has only three US History classes and all but one coincide with classes catered to students who take more time to get certain concepts. This means that all of those students are in a specific US History class. The same thing happens to those students in advance classes. Why is this bad?

Well, it takes away from a diverse or heterogeneous classroom. It stifles creativity and it limits the development of interpersonal skills. I am not sure it will lead to the demise of the nation but it is something that needs to be thought about.


Blogger brittany said...

Students are definitely placed on a gradient that determines how they are viewed academically by the teachers (and perhaps themselves). They are "pushed" into certain classes accordingly. Is it lack of encouragement? Maybe. More likely though, the way to fight this is with smaller classes, more teachers, a change in the factory type setting that education takes place in. Ah! Education reform!
I don't know, coach. This one makes me want to fight the good fight as a teacher. Or become president.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Mr. Warsnak said...

Brittany as a teacher?!?!?, Just think how lucky it would be for those students who would have you as a teacher. What a glorious image.

Of course, President wouldn't be bad either. Remeber, you have to make me an ambassador. I think Belieze would be nice. I like Trinidad would be nice, but I am not a big fan of Tobago.

9:04 PM  

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