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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 3, 2013 at 7:05 AM

Tracking is the answer for better education in Washington

Help every student reach his or her potential

The Constitution included wishful thinking. Everyone is not created equal: physically, mentally or socially [“Challenging students to succeed,” Opinion, Oct. 28].

In a time of slavery, the framers of the Constitution removed anti-slavery language. Today, most people might agree that we have an obligation to bring people to their full potential, no matter their circumstances, so that there is a mutual benefit between individuals and the rest of society.

Many school systems, including the one in which I was a student in New York City in the 1930s, tracked students so that the less capable were given extra help to achieve their potential, and the most capable were permitted to express themselves beyond the usual curriculum. Yes, there was some stigma attached to those in the lower track, but it never became individualized and I, on the upper track, benefited from mentoring by those above me. The system was accepted as beneficial by students and parents — it appears unlikely that we suffered unduly from having 40 students in a classroom or that our desks were bolted to the floor.

Things are tougher now. We have more institutional and self-segregation, greater wealth disparity and widening political ideological differences. And, in Washington, an indifference to required state funding of K-12. But tracking, in order to help every student to reach his or her potential and leave no student behind, is imperative.

Herb Curl, Seattle

Comments | More in Education | Topics: education

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