Thursday, June 19, 2008

Inequality in Gifted Programs

A NYTimes story today about New York gifted programs is interesting. It identifies that although there has been a push to close the inequality gap, low-income students make up a tiny minority of gifted programs, even in districts where poverty rates are high:
Students in 14 districts where the poverty rate is more than 75 percent account for more than a third of enrollment but received only 14.6 percent of the offers for spots in gifted programs this year, down from 20.2 percent last year.
This is because although intelligence is often considered to be genetic, a lot of qualifying for gifted programs has to do with other factors, and "standardized tests given to young children were heavily influenced by their upbringing and preschool education, and therefore biased toward the affluent." As long as problems of poverty and inequality persist, it will be difficult to provide a quality education to those who are lagging behind.

1 comment:

eduwonkette said...

If we want to increase access to advanced instruction for disadvantaged kids who are more advanced than their peers, we might consider offering gifted slots to the top 5% of students in each community school district, while also guaranteeing a seat for any student who scores in the 90th percentile or above of the national distribution. This is analogous to states' top 4% (California) or top 10% (Texas) plans for college admissions, which guarantee college admission to students who have excelled in their own high schools.

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