It seems to be the homeschoolers. Parade Magazine reports that some public schools are considering breaking the sacred age-grade bond and placing students in groups according to ability instead. Gee, what community has been doing that forever?
Homeschoolers learned from the beginning that ages and grades don’t necessarily match, and that educating a child according to his ability makes much more sense and is much more effective than educating him according to a random decree about what he should be capable of at a particular number of years after his birth.
When I voted in Parade’s poll, Should schools do away with age-dependent grade levels? the tally was 77% yes and 23% no.
My goodness, could homeschoolers possibly be having an effect on the mainstream educational world? I think it’s happening. I feel the earth moving under my feet.
Note: As an unschooler, I don’t believe in “teaching” anybody anything, no matter what age they are, unless they specifically ask for your participation is their learning experience. So, age-grade doesn’t even enter my universe. But I still think the fact that homeschooling methods are creeping into public classrooms is pretty cool. It’s certainly a step in the right direction.