I can remember being gatekeepered out of 8th grade algebra back in the 70's, and the memory still makes me boil. In my case, I was a year younger than the other kids, so the teachers said I wasn't "developmentally ready" for abstract mathematics. So I wasted a year in consumer math.At our middle school, when Chris was there, 7th-grade kids were gatekeepered in and out of Earth Science on the basis of "maturity."
Fast forward to today - I was utterly shocked to find out that my kids school gatekeepers 8th grade algebra (as well as a whole slew of other "advanced" courses). I had thought gatekeepering at such a young age had been discredited in the 80's. Why are they still doing it? We end up with a school system that is as tracked as the German system. And worse yet, in my district, the tracking criteria has nothing to do with whether a kid is good at math or not. It is all based on whether they are diligent at submitting homework that is neat and organized according to teacher standards.
However, this has nothing to do with Common Core in our district. They have been doing this for eons. At parents night at our high school last spring, the principal was complaining that we don't send enough students to schools like MIT and CMU. Well, you know, if you gatekeeper out all your most talented students in 8th grade, the messy, creative, smart ones, you won't have much talent left in the 12th grade.
Froggiemama on gatekeeping, part 2
"Maturity" meant, among other things, that the student was proactive (I think that was the actual term, proactive) in "seeking extra help."
(Code for: hire a tutor.)
One of the most talented students in the school was gatekeepered out of Earth Science on grounds that she was "anxious."
As I recall, this student had one of the highest scores on the enrollment test. But she was anxious, so no.
Ed and I got involved in that case because we happened to know the parents, who told us what was going on. (Involved in the sense that we could figure out the relevant statutes and knew people to consult.)
What it boiled down to:
Number one, if a high-achieving student has an emotional issue so disabling that she can't take Earth Science, the school is legally obligated to "identify" her as having special needs, which the school had not done (and was not proposing to do).
Number two, if the school had identified this student as having special needs, it could not keep her out of Earth Science on grounds that she had special needs.
Basically, the building principal was wrong on every conceivable ground.
The assistant superintendent intervened and the girl was enrolled.
Unfortunately, the assistant superintendent didn't last long in our district.