seldom energizing. No group comes to
know, understand, and value the others.
Schools in which this arrangement is the
norm often display an “us versus them”
attitude that either defines the school
environment or dwells just below the
surface of daily exchanges.
Difficult to Defend
Research finds that sorting, this 21st
century version of school segregation,
correlates strongly with student race
and economic status and predicts and
contributes to student outcomes, with
students in higher-level classes typi-
cally experiencing better teachers, cur-
riculum, and achievement levels than
peers in lower-level classes (Carbonaro
& Gamoran, 2003). Further, when
lower-performing students experience
curriculum and instruction focused
on meaning and understanding, they
increase their skills at least as much as
their higher-achieving peers do (Edu-
cational Research Service, 1992).