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On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-First-Century Struggle against Resegregation (Simmons College/Beacon Press Race, Education, and Democracy) Hardcover – March 18, 2014

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On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-First-Century Struggle against Resegregation (Simmons College/Beacon Press Race, Education, and Democracy) + Detracking for Excellence and Equity
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Product Details

  • Series: Simmons College/Beacon Press Race, Education, and Democracy
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (March 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807032972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807032978
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #211,614 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Even as education policymakers lament growing achievement gaps, they continue the practice of tracking students, which has widened the gap and will continue to do so, laments Burris. Tracking amounts to de facto segregation as students are often stratified by race and social class, she argues, and she presents broad research showing how tracking advantages students on higher tracks and disadvantages those on lower tracks. Burris offers historical perspective on grouping students according to their abilities, a practice that stems from the social Darwinism of the industrial age and growing research at the time on efficiency. The practice is now so stubbornly entrenched that efforts to change it are often met with strong resistance by some teachers and parents, Burris notes, as she recalls the experience of detracking the New York school of which she is the principal. Beyond the research, statistics, and legal arguments that have informed this topic, Burris offers a compelling story of efforts to change the practice of tracking and a passionate argument for educational equity—and excellence—for all students as education reform moves forward. --Vanessa Bush


“An important book that should be required reading for educators, parents and school boards.”
Kirkus Reviews

“This well-researched, concise book by public school principal Burris… makes a strong argument against ‘tracking’… Burris's accessible book will be valuable to teachers and administrators seeking a more just way to fulfill the mandate of public education, as well as to parents who fear classroom heterogeneity.”
Publishers Weekly

“Burris offers a compelling story of efforts to change the practice of tracking and a passionate argument for educational equity—and excellence—for all students as education reform moves forward.”

“School officials will still have much to discover from Burris’s clear and compelling case for democratic educational reform.”
Library Journal

“Readers of this book will hear the impassioned voice of Carol Burris, a voice that is now at the forefront of the national movement to root educational policy and practice in a firm commitment to provide all children with equitable opportunities to learn. An award-winning principal and scholar, Burris weaves her rich personal experiences in detracking together with a deep knowledge of the research and illustrative case studies in other schools and districts. Further, she draws connections between the lessons of tracking and those of other popular reforms such as vouchers, charters, and test-based accountability systems. Readers from all backgrounds will find insights and motivation to move, as Burris has done, to make our schools dramatically more educative and inclusive.”
—Kevin Welner, Professor of Education Policy, University of Colorado Boulder

“Carol Burris provides a thoughtful examination of the practice of ability grouping in K-12 education. She demonstrates convincingly that tracking replicates in schools the stratification that exists in society, and diminishes educational opportunities for children. In doing so, the practice undermines the vision of school as the ‘great equalizer.’ Burris also places the practice of tracking in the larger context of current education policy. On the Same Track makes us reconsider the true mission of public education: what we want for our schools, our children and ultimately our society.”
—Wendy Lecker, Senior Attorney, Education Law Center

On the Same Track will inspire and guide those who want to dismantle the tracking systems in public schools and it can change the minds of those who haven’t realized the discriminatory effects of this pervasive practice. Carol Burris has successfully blended careful analysis with practical and inspiring stories to offer a compelling reason why separate remains unequal in education today.”
—Elaine Gross, President, ERASE Racism 

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Over the years, we've been hearing ways upon improve American schools & close the achievement gap between Blacks & Whites. This is the 1st time I heard about getting rid of the tracking system used in many school districts.

The author, who's currently principle of a high school in New York with more than 30 years of experience in education, explains how tracking, which goes back to the mass immigration over century ago have since been used to put non-Asian minorities into lower-course classes because the schools believes they can't handle the advanced courses.

So what is tracking? It's using tests to see if children can handle advanced courses based on perceived intellectual abilities. Those who can't are put in the lower-track courses. Problem is, most of those who end up in the lower-tracked lose interest in school altogether, which is what we see today in the dropout rates of Black & Latino kids, who are the ones most likely to end up in them.

The book gives us a history of tracking in schools, as well as the attempts by some to eliminate it altogether. The school in which the author is principle of has gotten rid of tracking & has closed the achievement gap between Whites & Blacks, with many minority students showing interest in staying in school. She also interviewed school officials who also tried to eliminate it in other schools as well. The last part of the book talks about "school choice" & her opposition to it- as it turns out she gives a good explanation to opposing school choice-much better than those in the education elite.

So if tracking is as bad as the author say it is, why is it still being used in schools?
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