In my experience, such programs are little else but educational caste systems that inflate the egos of those on top and deflate the ambitions of those on the bottom. Many times, as a student in the track-worshipping Bainbridge Island School District, I would hear friends in less advanced classes refer to themselves as part of the “stupid group.” Is the intellectual fulfillment of a few gifted individuals worth giving all students an official yardstick for who’s smart and who’s not?
Simply put, “highly capable” programs harm the majority of students and aid a minority. Instead of picking early on who has the potential to excel, let’s give everyone the opportunity to achieve, throughout their time in public education. Let’s make the classroom a challenging, stimulating place and offer out-of-class support for those who need it. Let’s bring students together, instead of forcing them apart.
Will Gleason, Bainbridge Island