Friday, October 3, 2014

I'm just out to find the better part of me (Five For Fighting)

I watched a cool 2010 documentary film this morning by director Davis Guggenheim called Waiting For Superman. Picked it up for $5.00 from The Warehouse t'other day.

The film analyses the failures of the American public education system by following several students as they strive to be accepted into a charter school. It's a lottery and that means sadness as well as joy. Great human drama!

Smart guy - by focusing on some personal stories Guggenheim makes the film's ideas both emotionally affecting and accessible.

One of the features the film analyses is 'tracking'. As explained in the film I understood this to be what we know as 'streaming'.

Streaming has its proponents and opponents. Having experienced both streamed classes and non streamed classes I'm not a hard line advocate for either method. Both have their merits and drawbacks.

It did remind me of starting school at Mt. Albert Grammar in 1971 though. 

The tracking then was blatant and unequivocally labelled. Top third form kids went into the 3A stream (core + Latin and French), next lot went into the 3B stream (French). After that there were specialised tracks like 3 Commercial or 3 Agriculture.

I started in the 3A stream but was quickly demoted to the 3B track - where I stayed for the next four years (and where I failed School Certificate). The sixth and seventh forms were all about options. I guess they figured if you stuck to it you could choose your poison.

I've never really thought about it but it was clear what tracks the school thought we were all on: 3A went to University; 3B maybe went to a polytech or something; and the 3 Com and 3 Ag boys went into business or farming. All sorted! 

Imagine trying to sell that in 2014!!!!

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