Teach Up for
All students deserve equitable access
to an engaging and rigorous curriculum.
Carol Ann Tomlinson and Edwin Lou Javius
Within the lifetime of a signifi- cant segment of the popula- tion, schools in the United States operated under the banner of “separate but equal”
opportunity. In time, and at considerable cost,
we came to grips with the reality that separate is
seldom equal. But half a century later, and with
integration a given, many of our students still have
separate and drastically unequal learning experiences (Darling-Hammond, 2010).
Many of our schools are overwhelmingly
attended by low-income and racially and linguistically diverse students, whereas nearby schools
are largely attended by students from more affluent and privileged backgrounds (Kozol, 2005).
Another kind of separateness exists within schools.
It’s frequently the case that students attend classes
that correlate highly with learners’ race and socioeconomic status, with less privileged students in
lower learning groups or tracks and more privileged students in more advanced ones (
© SUSIE FITZHUGH
The logic behind separating students by what
educators perceive to be their ability is that it
enables teachers to provide students with the kind
of instruction they need. Teachers can remediate
students who perform at a lower level of proficiency and accelerate those who perform at a
higher level. All too often, however, students in
lower-level classrooms receive a level of education that ensures they will remain at the tail end
of the learning spectrum. High-end students
may (or may not) experience rich and challenging learning opportunities, and students in the
middle too often encounter uninspired learning
experiences that may not be crippling but are