Do I have an opinion on tracking/remediation etc? Not fixed in concrete -- I like what Mark Saul says and I like what I see in good heterogeneous classes too.
But my kid is dyslexic and I am incredibly grateful for his being in a special LD English class right now in junior high, and very concerned about inclusion doing away with these classes next year. Some kids have knowledge deficits, sometimes needing a lot of work (like LD), sometimes only short term (didn't pay attention when fractions were taught). Remediation -- doing the same thing as before -- obviously doesn't work. But someone needs to give these kids special help in a situation where they don't feel like outliers, and with the attitude (which Mark obviously has) that they're not dumb, not doomed, but expected to eventually learn what everyone else is learning, just maybe not in the same order and in the same time frame.
Years of having essentially the same expectations RIGHT NOW as the other kids in elementary school have destroyed my son's motivations and his belief that he can do well in school. While LD is obviously an extreme case, it's still on the continuum, and there are a lot of kids with similar, but less dramatic, problems.
How do we meet the needs of all kids? That's what the Standards asks us to do. And I think flexibility is what's needed. This kid is appropriately in a heterogeneous situation here but not there -- that kind of thing. If all of our classes are taught with the goal that all students will (not just can, but will) learn at a high level, and if none of our classes are designed as dead-ends, then we don't have to be doctrinaire but can really look hard at individual kids and what's best for them.
Thanks for listening.
==================================== Judy Roitman, Mathematics Department Univ. of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66049 firstname.lastname@example.org =====================================