Classroom "integration"?

  1. I was thinking about this while talking to an old high school friend of mine, and I thought it would be a pretty okay discussion topic here.

    When I was in grade school (1991-2003) our classes were "segregated". The 'slower' kids were in one class, the regular kids were in another, and the advanced/'smart' kids were in another class. I have to say that 95% of my classes in grade school were like this, except for classes where there was only one option. Like PE, Music, Health, etc. When I entered High School, I was "recommended" to take the test that allow me to get into the advanced and AP classes since I had very good grades in Middle school. If you didn't pass the test, you weren't allowed to take the advanced and AP classes. The second high school I went to (11th-12th) didn't require a test, but your guidance counselor had to "allow" you to be in those classes.

    The year after I graduated, the superintendant changed the rule that basically anybody and everybody will be taking advanced classes. Meaning that there will be fewer classes and teachers available for those students that may not be able to keep up with the advanced classes. To me, I see a few advantages and disadvantages with this.

    Advantages:
    1. Students won't be singled out into the "slow", "average", and "smart" groups.
    2. Everybody will have the same opportunity to take part in the advanced classes and have the opportunity to obtain college credits.

    Disadvantages:
    1. Class sizes will get bigger. One of the major advantages of advanced classes is that there is usually a smaller student : teacher ratio.
    2. Trouble keeping up. Some students may have trouble keeping up, which would eventually slow the rest of the class down. You're only as fast as your slowest team member.

    What do you all think of putting everybody together?

    Would you want your kid to be in the advanced classes or would you rather have them be in the class where they learn and do the best inand are the most comfortable.

    Hopefully I've worded my post clearly enough for you all to get my whole point :smile: It's 10:30pm here in Germany right now, and I'm quite tired, hah!

    To be perfectly honest, I'm not a big fan of the whole integration of the classrooms issue. I was a kid that always took advanced classes, and I absolutely loved the fact that my classes were smaller and that my teachers had more time for me if I needed help. Most of us were on the same level, so we were able to breeze through without too much of a problem. Now, I hope that my previous comment didn't sound anything like I look down on those who weren't in regular classes. But I just feel that it's better to be separated, so that you are with people who are on the same level as you. But...I also think that there should always be the possiblity to move up, in case the classes you are currently in aren't challenging you enough.
     
  2. I think you should be put into the class you do best in, but sometimes you might test one way and really be smarter. I knew a girl who was really smart. I mean like a math genius and was put in a lower level of math. She always did horrible on tests, though. I think there should be option for all to get into advanced classes, but if you're not doing well after a marking period or semester they should take you out. That's how it worked in my high school. Any one could get in, but to stay in you had to keep up your grades. Also, sometimes you "don't" do stuff in AP classes. In my English AP class all we did we take mock AP tests for like 2-3 days and spend the rest of week going over them and our "score". If you're not "advanced" this won't help you get better at the given subject. It seems with most AP classes, at my high school, it's about what you know, not what you're going to learn. The whole point of being in AP is to say "I'm on college level already".
     
  3. i have kind of mixed feelings about this. in high school, i only took one 'regular' class - economics, because it was senior year and AP or Honors couldn't be fit into my schedule around the other stuff i wanted to take. in my state, the rule is that in order for the school to get 'gifted' funding for the class, it has to be 21 students or fewer, so for my entire high school career i had small classes with fantastic, accomplished teachers that knew how to bring out the best in their students and were experts at what they taught. the only peers i had were the kids that were also in the advanced classes, and we had a great time. we mostly looked down on the kids in the regular classes (my high school was odd - most of the 'cool' kids were smart) as slackers or just plain dumb and didn't really associate with them. it wasn't a conscious decision, it was just how it was - i went to a large, academically competative, well-known school. i was completely in favor of being academically segregated from the other kids and assumed that they were getting the education (or complete lack thereof) that they had earned.

    that econ class my senior year completely altered my perspective, though. there were probably 40 kids in a room built to adequately seat about 25, the teacher was a blazing idiot that hardly had any idea what she was talking about, and no one expected the kids in there to do anything but coast through anyway. a lot of them were actually quite smart, and most of them were definately quite nice. they complained about the teacher and that they weren't actually learning anything. they were treated COMPLETELY differently by the school than the kids in my classes were - if their SAT scores weren't going to win the school recognition, they weren't important, apparently. it was disgusting. and this wasn't a remedial class, remember. it was just regular.

    so i can't say that's i'm any longer a fan of academic segregation. if the kids at different academic levels were treated equally and got the same standard of service from the school, it would be one thing, but because of the politics of public schools, that is more often than not NOT going to be the case. those kids weren't any less deserving of the education that i got.
     
  4. I went to a 7-12th grade high school that only admitted students after taking a test. 7th grade was the same for everybody to see where their level was at - however, after that - the last 4 years were segregated. There was advanced math, double advanced, and normal.

    One thing I liked about the system was that you didn't have to take a test to get into any of these classes - it was merely segregated for you to choose which class you wanted to participate in. If there were more people who wanted more advanced classes - the school would open up more advanced classes although there was always classes in all 3 categories and class sizes were always about 15.

    Classes went ahead and for those that were left behind - it was their responsibility to either move to another class, or work harder.

    I think this system works best.

    (mind you this was not a private school either.)
     
  5. Interesting topic. Back in the day, when I went to Jr. High we were separated based on our academic level. There were four different levels. I thought it worked out really well. When I got into high school, there were only 2 levels, AP and the other. Well, I was in the other and seriously, the class can't move any faster than the slowest student. I was so bored all through high school. It got to the point where I only attended classes four days a week. It just wasn't stimulating enough for me. On top of that, I probably had the worst attendance on record.
     
  6. In my high school people signed up for the classes they wanted to take. So I could have chosen to not sign up for AP classes but I didn't like regular classes - they were boring.

    I had to be included in one class in middle school and was soooooooo bored. I don't think it's fair for kids who 'get it' faster to be stuck with everyone else. In being bored I got in trouble more and didn't really learn to challenge myself. It's not good for anyone.

    And then in my senior year I decided not to take AP English and took some special English classes (debate, poetry, etc.) and had a lot of fun - but it was my choice.

    I get tired of the whole "making kids feel good" mentality - it's more important to get them to learn something. Trying to boost self esteem by lowering standards for everyone is bad for everyone - kids who coast through school and getting passed from grade to grade know they aren't accomplishing anything and that's even worse for their self esteem than trying and failing.