I went to a magnet school when I was young. Outside of the extra busing cost it was totally a fantastic idea, to concentrate the quickest learning students together in one program. I think it was one of the best decisions the school board ever made, and I’d like to see more of it.
The logic for keeping kids together is multipart, one is that they go to school with kids from their neighborhood, another is that the smarter kids will help the less smart kids to catch up.
By splitting children into groups we do hurt the academic success of the duller children, however we don’t need a population homogenized in intellect. We will always need burger flippers and ditch diggers. We will also always need great scientists and engineers and constitutional lawyers and businessmen and inventors. Those burger flippers do need basic education to be able to take care of themselves, but instilling them with a love of Shakespear is not going to improve their quality of life or improve their productivity. It does leave a sour taste in our mouth that we have thrown some innocent children off the bus, but as adults we need to do what is best for society, not what leaves us with out a sour taste in our mouths.
This was the subject of a recent meme that passed around regarding the Finnish education system. The meme falsely claimed that Finnish teachers get paid like doctors (they get paid less, even than American teachers) what it also claimed that they never get standardized testing. To an extent it’s true that they don’t get standardized testing, in the way that we do in America. in elementary and middle school students do not get tested on a regular basis then on middle school they are tested, unlike in America where the tests are regular and do not impact student greatly, in Finnland at testing dictates where you will go to high school. A student who tests well will go on to college preparatory school, well a student test poorly will go on to vocational school. this is so that they use their time and resources more effectively and efficiently. Virtually all of the European and Asian school systems that beat us on a regular basis while standing far far less money to do so rely on the system, or one like it.
We do have some historical baggage to consider unfortunately, before we venture to implement such a system. Unlike the countries that are beating us using this system we have a large minority population that we have historically abused. our country’s history has shown a that what people in power are to be separate but equal is seldom really equal. But the difficulty posed by these historical consideration do not change the overall picture. No matter what there are differences in between individual students and a heterogeneous population will eat a larger audience of education are being delivered the students with the capability to benefit from it the most.