Dr. Albert Cortez

Tracking vs. High Quality Education for All Students – Podcast Episode 124 | Classnotes Podcast Episode 124

Classnotes Podcast (June 13, 2013) Policies that encourage schools to funnel students into different high school tracks are making resurgence. This, after decades of research and experience showing the detrimental effects of tracking on students and communities. Students who are low-income or minority endure the worst as they are pushed into watered-down curricula that take away their option to choose college after high school. IDRA director of policy, Dr. Albert Cortez gives an overview of what tracking looks like today across the country and how these policies ignore the fact that “higher expectations produce higher results.”

Albert is interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity.

Show length: 15:15

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Tracking, Endorsements and Differentiated Diplomas – When ‘Different’ Really is Less
IDRA policy note that presents an overview of the failure of tracking in schools and what tracking looks like in Texas.

At a time when we most need strength, Texas education is at-risk of being weakened
IDRA President and CEO, María “Cuca” Robledo Montecel, Ph.D., outlines how Texas’ new tracking graduation plans are likely to have a devastating effect on the state.

Student Tracking Policies Weaken Curriculum
IDRA website on student tracking policies

Access to Curriculum
Education Rights Center webpage

Research Overwhelmingly Counsels an End to Tracking
Brief Reiterates Harm from “Ability Grouping” in School,Prescribes Pathway to Access for All Students (May 30, 2013)

Teaching to Change the World, fourth edition 
by Jeannie Oakes, Martin Lipton, Lauren Anderson and Jamy Stillman

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Show Notes

  • Albert talks about tracking in education, its negative effects, and how it has traditionally included minority and low-income students in disproportionate numbers.

  • Albert challenges the assumption that “college is not everyone and that higher math is too abstract for the masses.”

  • Albert discusses the recent decision by the Texas legislature to do away with the 4x4 curriculum in favor of less rigorous, more watered-down graduation standards. This decision included removing the requirement for Algebra II, which is often viewed as a “gate-keeping” course in preparing students for college.

  • Albert argues that when students are challenged with higher education standards, they respond and that “backtracking to tracks” does an injustice to students, parents and the economy.

  • Albert and Aurelio discuss the national push toward a Common Core curriculum to raise education standards while also ensuring that teacher training and education materials are not overlooked in the process.

  • Aurelio and Albert share an example of a poor school district in South Texas that is committed to having 100 percent of its students graduate high school and attend college.