Tracking
The
pounding of my heart echoes in my ears as I glance around the classroom.

Adrenaline and fear mix in my veins as I look at them. These are my competitors;
just like those that I face on the basketball court or on the track. I have to
beat them all. John stole my highest grade, Suzie beat me on the research paper,
and Casey aced the math test. Not today though, today is my day. No one will be
able to beat me and I will show them who is truly king of the hill. I life my
pencil and begin the test... The competition many students feel academically is
hard and furious. Some students do not have the desire to compete and wish to
merely go with the flow at school. For example, I once drifted through
everything. I switched from drifting and now seek the hardest classes I can; to
the puzzlement of my parents. However, if my school would have been tracked,
this would not have been possible. Tracking siphons students into predetermined
roles and never allows for change. The effects of tracking in school creates
insurmountable boundaries for minority and disadvantaged students. The
oppression of tracking never relents and traps all those forced to be lower
tracks into a life of menial labor with no hope for tomorrow. Tracking destroys
both ability and dreams for those that are less fortunate. As D. McVicar shows

"Researchers from UCLA to John Hopkins University were finding that grouping
together students of different abilities helped the least capable students
dramatically, while the brightest children fared just as well when tracked."

Therefore, it appears tracking does not impair higher students learning ability
and shows marked improvements for those that are "slower" or"problematic" Educators seem to have forgotten that the student, perform
better in an environment that continually challenges and seeks to expands their
minds. Without the presence of challenge or pressure to motivate students, those
unfortunate ones that we tracked into lower expectations are bereft and are
trapped like a fly in molasses without being able to pull themselves out. The
ability of a student cannot truly be measured by an educator and should not be
by arbitrary tracking standards. The school system should allow students to
track themselves by taking honor or AP courses. If student choose not to take
them, so be it, but denying the chance of students to ever at least attempt
challenging coursework is even more foolish because of socio-economic reasons.

In America, we often have to make snap judgments without enough support of our
theories. In the school system that is especially true; teacher often gravitate
towards appearance in deciding students likes and dislikes. As also noted to us
by D. McViar, "That the low tracks were almost entirely populated by children
of poverty and members of minority groups underscored, in researchers’ eyes,
the inequity of tracking." It certainly brings into a new light the
anti-discrimination posters found in our school. Of course, the usual argument
are that we are merely placing them at their proper ability level for them or
since their parents cannot afford college we are doing them a favor in the long
run. An easy salve to the collective conscience certainly and a justification
for any mind since the tracking is being done for their benefit. But as Patrick

Bassett of the Independent Schools Association of the Central States writes,

"Low tracks often emphasize good behavior and menial skills, while high tracks
offer preparation for college. These differences in learning environments
particularly depress the academic achievement of poor and minority students, who
are assigned disproportionately to low tracks." An education equal to the best
of a students ability has often been the stated goal of many a high school. But
when such factors as race or poverty automatically put a strike against a group,
the policy must be changed. By our complicit and nonchalant attitude, we have
permitted classism and a sense of elitism for students. This is a detriment for
both lower and upper tracked students for as North Kingstown Supt. James Halley
writes, "When they go out into the world, they need to interact with and hear
the voices of those not as intellectual. If they haven’t heard them in school,
that’s a handicap for them. It is more democratic and practical for kids not
to be separated from one another because of intellectual differences." In all
reality after high school, in both college and life in general, you will not be
placed only with people of similar intelligence. You interact with a variety of
people.