Monday, Monday

Alright, I’m reorienting myself this morning. I was knee-deep in a sticky project for a month. I think it’s done. I hope it’s done.

We had a family weekend with Halloween dances and cross country races.

I’m beginning the research on a college sports article for the Atlantic. And I may do something on German schools and how they sort kids out at age 10 into the college track and the non-college track – do American schools do that in a more subtle way?


6 thoughts on “Monday, Monday

  1. “And I may do something on German schools and how they sort kids out at age 10 into the college track and the non-college track – do American schools do that in a more subtle way?”

    I really don’t think so. It is true that there is not equality of opportunity, but there really are many entrance points, second chances, programs, tilting the scales to account for opportunity to give chances to people who aren’t “tracked” at ten by the opportunities parents find for their kids.

    I see changes now, as opposed to 30 years ago, though, perversely because finding opportunities is easier now than it used to be. That means a savvy (savvy can come in different forms) parent who isn’t an academic, can, through wise use of online and other sources find opportunities for their “academic” child (as can an academic parent who has a “sports” kid and knows nothing about sports). So *not* having a savvy parent puts a child at more of a disadvantage than in the past when many parents were less likely to know of the many methods of providing opportunities for achievement.


  2. I think in America the tracking into college/not is more done at the level of the high school. There are many high schools without a non-college track and some high schools where being college-bound is a relative rarity and nearly everybody serious about going to college will find a way out of there.


  3. What MH said. It’s not as extreme as the German system. In the states that do have “Gifted/talented” programs, there is tracking from a (too) early age. We have the inverse of the German approach; we seem to encourage everyone to go to “college,” even if it’s clear from the outset the kid won’t be able to hack it.

    I believe (because I’ve seen it) that there are “late bloomers,” i.e., kids who are not super achievers at age 10 who become academically inclined after middle school. There are also “hothouse flowers,” (because I’ve seen it) who may perform at an elevated level at young ages, thanks to parental “support,” who burn out. The current trend of helicopter parenting is accelerating the burnout; rather than entering an existential funk in their ’30s, they can hit it much earlier.

    College sports. I’ve noticed a couple of things.

    1) Some of the parents who are most determined their children will win college scholarships have absolutely no need for such scholarships to finance college. It’s an ego thing, probably also a class thing. The parents invest a great deal of money and time in their children’s travel team/summer camp/private coaching experiences. If the kid’s good enough for a scholarship, the family is still losing money.

    In my opinion, though, it’s also the parents’ desire for their children to be at the top of their high school’s social life.

    2) A few college athletes will make a living after graduation as coaches. I don’t know how many manage this, nor how it breaks down in percentages.


  4. Feel free to contact me on things German; I may be able to connect you to specialists here.

    American tracking, afaict, is done by neighborhood residence.


  5. In France, tracking happens at the age of 15, at the end of the middle school years. A group composed of teachers, parents’ and students’ representatives reviews each student’s academic achievements and makes a recommendation about leaving school, going the technical route, or going the university route. If the student/family doesn’t agree with the decision, they can appeal it with a local commission.


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