I saw this debate on FB from the "We Are Teachers" Group. I thought it might be fun to bring over here. There was a posting of an article from the Atlantic (sorry, I am bad at posting links) that said tracking is best for all. Most people, including me, agreed. Too often, I have seen desperate special ed measures for legions of ill-performing students, while the gifted kids are constantly neglected. At least if we have ability grouping, that sort of thing will happen less often. It would hardly make a dent in the current education process, but I do think it is a place to start.
One comment I have to start with is this: when I was in HS in the late 80s, we were tracked A-B-C. I never saw a C class. I was in one B class, and all the rest A. The only difference I could see between A and B was not ability, or a plethora of gifted students. It was discipline level. In B class, the teacher was constantly putting out fires and could never really teach us anything. I resented being in that class, not just because my writing skills justified A classes, but also because those students kept wasting MY time. The next year, I signed up for A and was not contested, so just went with it. (Senior A English had issues too. The teacher was an alkie who also taught us nothing. Perhaps the administration thought he wasn't up to the challenge of behavior problems? Who knows.) After wasting two years not learning anything in upperclass English, I went and passed the English AP exam on pure talent (I spose.) I digress...