An interesting piece. And if it’s tracking, Joanne is fine with it–because it focuses on what students need, not their labels or economic status. Finally It’s about time. I think we’re finally getting somewhere.

My comment in her piece is this:

Check out schools based on proficiency and competency (competency-based education–CBE). Dare I say it–these schools and programs are on the right “track” because they focus on what students know and can do now and then teach them to move from that to higher achievement–not based on what class the child happens to be in but on what the child needs at the level he/she is now. Different areas of strengths are taught differently.

As I see it, the basic difference between CBE and what is discussed above is that CBE is NOT label-based (gifted, advanced, honors, etc.). Instead, it is subject/skills/ knowledge based. It takes kids from where they are and moves them forward–student by student, subject by subject, knowledge/skill by…. you get the idea! Check out Taylor County, Kentucky and Westminster, Colorado and Lindsay Unified School District in California–for starters.

Your thoughts?

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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