New Reports on Tracking!

Breaking News on Tracking– Read all about it.

The NASSP NewsLeader (February, 2010), summarized two new reports on tracking:

The focal points of the reports hinge on whether math tracking at the middle level has a positive or negative effect on high-achieving and low-achieving students. One camp argues that detracking holds back the best students, while the other camp believes that tracking is an unjust practice that puts low-income students at a severe disadvantage.

Evidently social scientists answer philosophical questions over and over, until saying the answer enough times makes it  “research-based.” This summary of findings on tracking could have been written 30 years ago.

On the other hand, chapter 9 of TSVOTEP explains that the tracking debate is resolved by adopting an inspiring, useful definition of what it means to be educated. It is amazing what happens when philosophy is used to answer philosophical questions.

My sarcasm in the headline is intentional. The social science improvement paradigm makes unimportant, irrelevant beliefs seem important and relevant. In this case, the belief that there is a best grouping practice is unimportant and irrelevant. There is no such practice because purpose is at the center of every grouping decision, and purpose is a philosophical concept, not a social scientific one.

A greater ugliness is distracting educators from the philosophical essence of education by pointing to the social scientific periphery.

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