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On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-First-Century Struggle against Resegregation by Carol Corbett Burris, Introduction

On the Same Track: How Schools Can Join the Twenty-First-Century Struggle against Resegregation by Carol Corbett Burris, Introduction

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Published by Beacon Press
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.
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.

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Published by: Beacon Press on Feb 20, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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vii
Introduction
When I first sat down to write this book, I was conflicted. What more was there to say about tracking? So much research has accu-mulated across the decades on how tracking stratifies our schools by race and class. Countless studies have shown its depressive effect on the achievement of students in low-track classes. Sociologists have done an excellent job explaining the factors and beliefs that support its continuance, describing in detail the way that prejudice, power, and privilege keep it in place. What relevance would a book about a practice that has been around since the beginning of the twentieth century have for educators and parents of the twenty-first century? The more I thought about it, however, the more convinced I be-came that what we have learned from studying tracking can and must inform our views of what is happening in schools today. The beliefs and assumptions that support tracking are the same beliefs and as-sumptions that are driving current school-reform efforts. The sorting of students by test scores, school-choice policies that result in racially stratified schools, and the abandonment of integration in favor of highly segregated charter schools threaten to take us back to the days of “separate but equal” education. Every book is born in time, and this book is no exception. I wrote it during the most tumultuous period for public schooling I can remember. Indeed, many public school educators and education

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