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Since the beginning of the last century, the sorting of students into different “tracks” has resulted in segregated classrooms and unequal learning opportunities for students. On the Same Track traces the origins of tracking, from its beginnings in the early twentieth century to today. Carol Burris argues that the practice perpetuates de facto segregation in integrated districts, including those that were ordered by the courts to desegregate. Drawing on the latest research, Burris shows how tracking results in achievement gaps and racial and class stratification. She then chronicles the struggles of school leaders, teachers, and parents as they sought to overcome race, class, and intellectual prejudice and dismantle the student sorting systems in their schools. Finally, Burris cautions readers that some present-day reforms may in fact result in further racial and socioeconomic segregation, unintentionally undermining some of the progress that schools have made in creating more equitable learning experiences for children.
“An important book that should be required reading for educators, parents and school boards.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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