Giving Compass' Take:

• Lillian M. Lowery provides a first-person perspective on the reality of racial discrimination in gifted education programs. 

• How can funders work to close the gaps in gifted programs? 

• Read about why we should consider getting rid of gifted programs

I knew where the advanced and AP courses were because all those students were white — in a school that was otherwise not. These all-white classes had become so common that somehow, to many adults in the building, it seemed normal.

It's not that white students are somehow more gifted or intelligent or harder-working than their black and Latino peers. It’s that students of color aren’t being identified early — and as often — for accelerated programs and enrichment, or that their parents might not know about AP courses or gifted and talented programs or how to fight to get them in.

In a recent report, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute highlighted disparities in access to gifted programs in our schools. This report, further confirmed what decades of data have made clear: America’s public schools continue to underestimate — and underserve — students of color and low-income students.

Part of the issue, as the Fordham paper indicated, is that students of color and those from low-income families are less likely to attend schools that even offer academically rich programs like gifted and talented.  But even when students of color and students from low-income families to attend schools that offer gifted programs and high-level coursework, they are still less likely to be placed in those classes. In fact, according to the data in the report, racial disparities in access to gifted programs are actually higher in low-poverty schools

Ultimately, however, turning these inequitable patterns around will require school and district leaders to change the way they “do school” — to examine their data, take a good, hard look at adult beliefs and biases, and identify ways to expand access to rigorous learning opportunities for students who have been denied them for far too long.

Read the full article about discrimination in gifted education programs by Lillian M. Lowery at The 74.