In New York City, “roughly a quarter of the city’s middle schools and a third of high schools screen applicants based on their grades, test scores, artistic talents and other criteria,” Monica Disare notes in an article for Chalkbeat.
Disare goes on to look closely at the pros and cons of a system that sorts students into schools this way, including the concern that it might “widen racial achievement gaps and leave lower-achieving students in less demanding classrooms with fewer resources.”
Mike Petrilli considers some of the same questions in “All Together Now: Educating high and low achievers in the same classroom.” He writes
The greatest challenge facing America’s schools today isn’t the budget crisis, or standardized testing, or “teacher quality.” It’s the enormous variation in the academic level of students coming into any given classroom. How we as a country handle this challenge says a lot about our values and priorities, for good and ill. Unfortunately, the issue has become enmeshed in polarizing arguments about race, class, excellence, and equity. What’s needed instead is some honest, frank discussion about the trade-offs associated with any possible solution.
Education Next also published an excerpt from the book Exam Schools by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Jessica Hockett.
— Education Next