In our schools, we are often trying to accomplish two conflicting goals at once:
- We want our quickest students to maximize their potential–this means we want them to be in classes that move at their pace.
- We don’t want our slower students to be dismissed and devalued, so we are reluctant to separate them from the quicker students and put them in remedial classes where they may be given a low priority.
If we put fast students and slow students in the same age group together, the class will either move at a pace that’s too slow for the quick kids or too fast for the slow kids. If we separate them, educational resources tend to flow disproportionately to the kids who are already at an advantage, as they tend to have the most involved parents.
I have a suggestion to get around this problem while at the same time resolving public policy disputes about state support for expanding Pre-K education.