Challenge is defined by the student and their expectations
While I agree with Kevin Welner that traditional forms of tracking do more harm than good, like many education policy people, Welner is oversimplifying a complex issue [“Challenging students to succeed,” Opinion, Oct. 28].
He says we have a choice for struggling students: throw them in classes that go nowhere (low tracking), or include them in challenging classes.
This is a false choice; these are not the only two options. In a good school, there are multiple avenues on which students can progress academically. Not every student is ready for AP. I teach AP chemistry, and I know my business, but AP is not the only high-performing curriculum.
“High expectations” is an edu-policy buzzword that means nothing. The truth is, any class that challenges a student — wherever they are developmentally — is a class that has high expectations. The key is to create pathways that meet students where they are so they can grow at a pace that will produce success later.
Dan Magill, Seattle