Oakes, Jeannie, Wells, Amy Stuart, Jone, Makeba, & Datnow, Amanda
Detracking: The Social Construction of Ability, Cultural Politics, and Resistance to Reform
Ford Foundation; Columbia University
Explores how conceptions of intelligence intervene in efforts to detrack schools.
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Teacher College Record
Vol. 98, No.3, pp. 482-510
- Parental resistance to detracking reforms in the schools is often not about curriculum or instructional strategies but about whose culture and style of life is valued knowledge, and thus whose way of knowing is equated with intelligence.
- The efforts on the part of these parents to maintain honors classes reflect their decision to maintain the current social structure, in which people are stratified in terms of race and class. This hierarchical macro structure is supported by conventional conceptions of intelligence.
- Detracking is also a highly normative and political endeavor that confronts deeply the cultural beliefs, ideologies, and fiercely protected arrangements of material and political advantage in local communities.
- Detracking reform confronts fundamental issues of power, control, and legitimacy that are played out in ideological struggles over the meaning of knowledge, intelligence, ability and merit.
Journal Article Review of Literature
Ability Groups, Detracking, Tracking
Literature Review, Policy Analysis
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- Intelligence as biological. Lwontin, 1992.
- Intelligence related to environment. Banfield, 1970; Lewis, 1968)
- Intelligence is developmental (Gardner, 1983, 1988: Sternberg, 1986).
- Three-year longitudinal case study of ten racially and socioeconomically mixed secondary schools participating in detracking reform. (Wells & Serna, 1996).