Envision a stranger deciding what you will do in the next few decades of your life while you are still at the age of 10.
Even though such a peculiar state of affairs seems improbable, the academic tracking system in the U.S. public school system does just that.
Tracking within the public school system divides students into particular classroom levels according to their displayed academic aptitude. Students deemed smart are placed in advanced or gifted classes, while normal students must learn an inferior curriculum. Though it may seem like a clever arrangement, it could lead to countless pessimistic outcomes in many students’ lives.
The decision to “track” students according to their abilities and, in turn, incorporate them into specific classrooms is a method of social engineering utilized in most schools today.
According to Montgomery County Education Forum, a Maryland group promoting awareness of the dangers of tracking, placing pupils on particular academic routes has time and again shown a relationship between the students’ track assignment and occupational outcome.
One of the many issues concerning academic tracking is its contribution to the widening of the achievement gap, which in turn fosters inequalities within public schools, with minority students often being placed in lower level classes.
According to a study published by the University of Rochester, students in a language minority suffer the most. This adds educational discrimination to a lengthening list of injustices these students face.
This aspect of tracking also contributes to the creation of a social class system by knowingly placing some students at a disadvantage compared to their peers.
Education should help the students whom fall into these social groups to advance. Instead, schools groom their students to perpetuate their family’s social status. This leaves these students in a defenseless position, with no incentive to excel past expectations.
It is time for those that lead our institutions to terminate the tracking system.
Putting an end to such methods of grouping students should diminish the unequal image our schools currently depict.
Additionally, allowing students of different backgrounds and abilities to interact with each other within the classroom should contribute to their educational experiences, constructing a diverse society capable of illuminating democratic ideals.
Students deserve justice within the public school system. Equal education in the U.S. is a fundamental right everyone is entitled to.
Sumeyra Aydemir is a senior majoring in poltical science and international studies.