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    #250679 02/09/24 04:19 PM
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    thx1138 Offline OP
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    The de-tracking movement has been metastasizing through America's public schools, particularly on the West Coast. Middle and high schools have traditionally created separate tracks for high achieving students. And parents of students relegated to the mainstream track are not always happy.

    Where else but San Francisco's unified school district would you expect high achieving students to be held back. For ten years, students are held back and not allowed to go even as far as algebra in middle school. Much of this travesty can be laid at the feet of Jo Boaler https://stanfordreview.org/review-investigation-jo-boaler-is-worse-than-we-thought/ It may take an upcoming ballot measure to change this. https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/sfusd-algebra-middle-school-18645514.php.

    It beggars reason for talented students on a trajectory through AP Calculus BC, Linear Algebra, and Multivariable Calculus in high school, to be held back and only allowed Algebra in 9th grade. And they're even detracking science and humanities now.

    Parents rant about an "achievement gap". After failing to lift up the underperforming students, SFUSD and other districts hit upon the idea of simply suppressing the (minority of) high achieving students, and mirabile dictu, no more achievement gap! The idea is analogous to harnessing together every student on the track team, to somehow improve their running.

    This approach has been further weaponized in our current political situation. According to woke orthodoxy, the only permitted explanation of unequal results is class oppression through systemic racism. But I just want my kid to be taught at his level.

    I'll take one further step. As we know there is a long standing polemic as to whether giftedness is nature or nurture. I spoke with an IQ researcher recently who felt that IQ was actually 80% nature. 80% genetic. Let the possibility of that sink in for a minute. Among the many implications of these forbidden questions and forbidden answers, is that the teachers were not to blame for failing to lift up the underachievers.

    Just wanted to rant about the situation of America's gifted, in many states. Democracy is 999 wolves and 1 lamb voting on what's for dinner. I've seen us on a collision course for many years, looking back at some of my earlier posts here. These and many other follies result from policies driven by emotion and politics, rather than logic and scientific method. Jesus wept.

    Would be interested in other people's takes, but bear in mind that you risk being doxxed and branded a eugenicist for associating with me and my wrongthink.

    Last edited by thx1138; 02/09/24 10:59 PM.
    thx1138 #250688 02/18/24 05:04 PM
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    I'd say you are in good company... an old thread from 2019 (https://giftedissues.davidsongifted...racking-in-san-francisco.html#Post246277) discusses potential pros and cons of detracking. The last post to-date in the thread links to a blog post dated 2007, related to ability grouping (which some may equate with tracking, the opposite of de-tracking).

    This post from 2016 (https://giftedissues.davidsongifted...le-about-poor-school-fit.html#Post229604) highlights that meeting children's educational needs includes providing:
    - appropriate academic challenge
    - true intellectual peers.
    Intellectually gifted children also have these needs, however meeting these needs may take a concerted effort: The appropriate academic challenge and true academic peers for intellectually gifted pupils are not typical and therefore their educational needs are not met in a typical classroom. Flexible grouping for each academic subject, by readiness and ability, has been a means to meet the needs of ALL pupils, providing equal OPPORTUNITY for material in their proximal zone of development... not equal OUTCOMES.

    Over the years, a number of parents and other participants on this forum have had these issues on their radar. These particular posts go back 5 years... 8 years... even 17 years. At that time most people were generally not concerned about being doxxed or "cancelled" for discussing these issues.

    While society appears to readily accept variances in athletic ability and celebrate those who excel in athletic feats and accomplishments, there has been less willingness to acknowledge variances in intellectual ability, and less celebration of intellectual/academic pursuits and accomplishments.

    thx1138 #250700 03/13/24 09:33 PM
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    thx1138 Offline OP
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    I'm finally reading Charles Murray's book Facing Reality. I will simply say that I recommend gifted parents of gifted children inform themselves with it. The playing field is tilted against gifted, from kindergarten, straight through college admissions.

    thx1138 #250701 03/16/24 08:23 PM
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    thnx1138, I tend to agree. When "tracking" is flexible and designed to meet educational needs based on readiness and ability, it is positive and defensible.

    At the same time, I do believe that some changes may be called for, to the degree that "tracking" may be seen as rationing opportunities. This may be true in educational settings and also in professions. The "American Dream" is unlimited social mobility by merit of one's own hard work and determination. Some systems have evolved to ration opportunities, not by readiness and ability, but by multi-generational wealth. This may happen to a degree in schools, and to a larger degree in professions, while feigning equal access. The downside is creating a caste society, in which some have "privilege" and others do not.

    Imagine a society in which persons in a particular profession earn 6x the average annual earnings of most citizens. It would seem that parents employed in that profession could most easily afford a variety of college and university opportunities for their offspring. Interestingly, their employment benefits package includes free tuition for their offspring, if studying to enter the same field. While those in the profession may revel in the "tracking"... to others, the appearance of that profession's "privilege" may tend to polarize society. I have seen this occurring with regard to the medical profession, where offspring could attend medical school for free.

    All this is to say, I understand why some may have concerns about aspects of "tracking" as tracking may have a variety of meanings and apply to a broad variety of policies, processes, and procedures.


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