Carol Burris

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The Suburban Promise of Brown

Carol Burris

Carol burrisCarol Burris has served as principal of South Side High School in the Rockville Centre School District in NY since 2000. Carol received her doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University, and her dissertation on math equity received the 2003 National Association of Secondary Schools’ Principals Middle Level Dissertation of the Year Award.  In 2010, she was recognized by SANNYs as their Outstanding Educator of the Year, and in 2013 she was again recognized by SANNYs and NASSP as the New York State High School Principal of the Year. Carol has co-authored two books on educational equity, and her third book, On the Same Track: How Schools can Join the 21st Century Struggle against Re-Segregation, is now available from Beacon Press. Articles that she has authored or co-authored have appeared in Educational Leadership, The Kappan, the American Educational Research Journal, Theory into Practice, The School Administrator and EdWeek. Carol is a frequent guest blogger for the Answersheet of the Washington Post.



On the Same Track: How Schools can Join the 21st Century Struggle Against Re-Segregation

Detracking for Equity and Excellence


Selected journal articles:

Closing the Achievement Gap through Detracking

Universal Access to a Quality Education

Accelerating Mathematics Achievement Using Heterogenous Grouping

Accountability, Rigor and Detracking


Yes, Everyone can be College Ready

Speaker Abstract

Is School Integration Enough? How Schools can Realize the Promise of Brown through Integrated Classrooms
Although the goal of school integration is both worthy and important, if students in integrated schools are then re-segregated within by tracking and ability grouping, the gains of integration cannot truly be realized. Teachers College graduate, Dr. Carol Burris, has researched, written about and implemented detracking reforms in her diverse, suburban high school for more than a decade.  

In this session, she will present findings from her latest book, On the Same Track: How Schools can Join the 21st Century Struggle against Re-Segregation, as well as recount how her school was able to systematically detrack so that today students are not stratified by tracks, but are instead in challenging classes together, including IB English.

Burris will begin by presenting an overview of the history and purpose of tracking. She will summarize the research on tracking, stratification and achievement. She will also discuss how tracking and segregation are connected, by presenting examples of how the courts mandated detracking in school districts applying for unitary status after desegregation orders.  

Although the benefits of detracking are clearly known, it is a politically treacherous reform to implement, especially in integrated districts. More often than not, districts which engage in detracking confront political obstacles, which are couched in coded racial and class stereotypes. Burris will provide not only examples of how racial prejudice has played out in suburban districts, she will also describe successful strategies used by schools to overcome such obstacles and move detracking forward.  

Finally, Carol Burris will present a most hopeful example from her own high school, which demonstrates what can be accomplished if detracking is done in a thoughtful and systematic way. She will describe how, over time, her district created both practices and a culture which result in all students receiving an excellent and equitable education.