New Old Ideas in Education

An article in the October Reader’s Digest suggests bringing back vocational education because  not every kid wants to or needs to go to college, as George Leef has been emphasizing.  More and more, the old ideas that were arrogantly jettisoned in the progressive reforms of the last decades are being reconsidered.  This past summer I had a conversation with a progressive teacher who had been a promoter of the various reforms and now was lamenting the demise of the gifted and talented programs in his district, as well as the absence of “tracking,” or grouping students according to ability.  The reason?  His child has turned out to be extremely intelligent and he’s looking for programs that would challenge her.  Hmmm.      Tracking was such a bad word in education circles that you could run the risk of ostracism for merely uttering it.  Now people are seeing that properly and flexibly applied it could work really well–much better than the gifted and talented idea, which serves only a top layer of the student population, and also has a genuinely ugly elitist tinge to it.  With tracking, you get education tailored to each level.  Tracking helps students where they are instead of pretending that they are all the same.  Tracking could also aid in discipline, because the slower learners would feel less frustrated and the quicker learners would have more to occupty them.  

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