New Study: Gifted programs provide little to no academic boost

By: | April 19, 2021

Gifted education is often a flash point in school desegregation debates; in large cities, these programs often operate as an essentially separate school system, dominated by white and Asian children. Though gifted programs touch only 3.3 million school children, about 7 percent of the U.S. student population, it’s disturbing that Black and Hispanic children are rarely chosen for them.

Some progressives have proposed eliminating gifted programs altogether. Others are seeking ways to increase the number of Black and Hispanic students. Only 4 percent of Black children and 5 percent of Hispanic children are in gifted programs compared with 8 percent of white and 13 percent of Asian children, according to the most recent federal figures.

Against this political backdrop, a new study raises big questions about whether gifted education benefits the kids who are lucky enough to be in it. Researchers analyzed the records of about 1,300 students, drawn from a nationally representative sample of children across the country, who started kindergarten in 2010 and participated in a gifted program for at least one year during their elementary school years through fifth grade.

Read more from The Hechinger Report.

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