Inequities persist in elementary gifted programs

More higher-income students are enrolled in gifted programs than socioeconomically disadvantaged classmates
By: | October 9, 2019
A new study says wealthier elementary schoolers are much more likely to participate in gifted and talented programs than their lower-income classmates, despite their similar levels of achievement. This is yet another example of inequities in programs for gifted students.gettyimages.com: monkeybusinessimages

Another survey has found inequities in programs for gifted students. More affluent elementary schoolers are much more likely to participate in gifted and talented programs than their lower-income classmates, despite their similar levels of achievement, according to a new study.

Additionally, the percentage of white gifted students in gifted programs is much higher than the total population of white students. Conversely, the percentage of black gifted students is much lower than their total population, an earlier survey revealed. 

For instance, only 1% of students at public school for gifted learners in Sarasota County Schools, Florida, is black, the Daily Commercial reported.

In New York City, an advisory group formed by Mayor Bill de Blasio recently cited segregation as a reason to phase out the city’s current programs for gifted students, The Wall Street Journal reported. But a council of parents urged de Blasio to keep and expand access to these programs.


From DA: Gifted and talented diversification reaches for full potential


Many Michigan schools, meanwhile, are replacing honors courses with “mixed-ability” classrooms to encourage girls to enroll in STEM, The Detroit News reported.

Improving gifted and talented programs

School district leaders working to diversify programs for gifted students should adopt research-based strategies, such as screening all students and administering tests that don’t favor English speakers, District Administration recently reported.

Leaders at Minnesota’s Mankato Area Public Schools increased significantly the number of black students in its gifted program by overhauling how high-potential learners were identified.

“Our system was built to get exactly what we were getting,” Heather Mueller, Mankato’s director of teaching and learning, told DA. “So what we had to do was build the system differently.” 


Resource for gifted and talented programs: Serving Gifted and Talented Learners