Beyond Tracking responds to the sobering assessment of American high schools by delineating and promoting an innovative and well-defined notion of multiple pathways. The book’s authors clearly distinguish their use of the term “multiple pathways” from any updated version of the tracking system that marked so many American high schools during the past century. Instead, Oakes and Saunders propose a system of multiple pathways that will “provide both the academic and real-world foundations that students need for advanced learning, training, and preparation for responsible civic participation.”
All multiple pathways schools will have four main components: a college-preparatory core; a professional/technical core; field-based learning and realistic workplace simulations; and additional support services to meet the particular needs of students and communities. “In this conception of multiple pathways, students and their families choose from among a variety of options, all of which lead students to the same destination: preparation to succeed in both college and career, not one or the other.”
In its detailed and innovative examination of multiple pathways, Beyond Tracking makes a crucial contribution to current discussions about high school reform and the educational challenges of the 21st century.
Jeannie Oakes is director of Education and Scholarship at the Ford Foundation. Until fall 2008, she was Presidential Professor in Educational Equity at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Keeping Track: How Schools Structure Inequality and many other books. Marisa Saunders is senior research associate at the Institute for Democracy, Education, and Access at the University of California, Los Angeles.