Some teachers are leading an effort to put an end to academic tracking as they believe that it is a major factor in de facto segregation in classrooms.
Racial separation as a result of tracking has resulted as school results for many black and Latino students continued to to persist. Many educators believed that the situation was not changeable, due to social and economic forces no teacher could control or reverse.
The research of a longtime New York state educator indicates that the situation is changeable, and she is influencing teachers in Seattle and across the nation. Carol Burris, principal at South Side High School in Rockville Centre, NY found that the slower classes perpetuated low achievement with low expectations. In Seattle, at Garfield High School, honors classes are traditionally filled with white and Asian students, and general education classes are usually filled with black and Latino students.
“We reached a point where we can no longer just say, ‘Oh, well.’ The racial segregating that has happened, that’s very uncomfortable for us,” said social-studies teacher Jerry Neufeld-Kaiser. The school is now combining ninth graders with varied academic records into a class that the school calls honors-for-all English and social studies classes.