In a prior note, I advocated for the proposition that children should learn what they are ready to learn, as soon as they are ready to learn it. Someone responded that this was not politically correct.
Not so. First of all, I am a bona fide "freedoom rider" from the 1960's. I risked my life to integrate schools in Mississippi along with sharecroppers in 1965-66. You know, SNCC, CORE, SCLC, etc. "Tracking" was introduced in the 1960's in newly integrated schools as a device to perpetuate segregation. When used for this purpose, it is not just politically incorrect, in is an instrument of oppression.
Any educational system which denies equal opportunity to the disadvantaged, under whatever name, is morally and educationally wrong. But the fact that segregationists used tracking to perpetuate segregation does not mean that all students need to learn the same thing at the same time.
In fact, it is talented minorities and the talented economically disadvantaged who suffer the most from the current educational philosophy which makes talented students wait until everyone is ready to learn something. Economically advantaged talented children find alternative ways to become challenged. Their well connected parents demand special programs. And if they are defeated in the public schools, they have the bucks to send their kids to private schools. Or, the parents provide a supplemental education on the side, so that their kids challenge comes at home, while they mark time at school. Or, they enroll their children in after hours programs.
And who gets left out. The talented disadvantaged student, potential future doctors, engineers, community leaders, whose sole education is the unchallenging regular school day program, unsupplemented by challenging literature, mathematics and science, that advantaged students get, one way or another. When we fail to challenge talented students in the public school regular classroom, we are not being polictically correct, we are perpetuating inequality.
Politically correct would be providing the same exciting opportunities to disadvantaged talented students as the kids from Scarsdale, Mamaroneck, Shaker Heights, and Edina receive.
-- Jerry Von Korff By Day, an attorney: RnLaw@Cloudnet.com By Night, Mozart, Mathematics, Family Peace and Visual Dbase!: Vonkoent@Cloudnet.com