June 18th, 2013

Socioeconomic Status, Tracking, and Gifted Education

In this Huff Post blog article titled: “Segregated Education in Desegregated Schools: Why We Should Eliminate “Tracking” With “Gifted and Talented” for All” by Alan A. Aja, William A. Darity Jr. and Darrick Hamilton look at the interaction of race, class, tracking, and gifted education. Here’s an excerpt:

“On the surface, examples like that of Southwest Elementary should impel policymakers to address the chronic problem of segregated curricula in our schools. In New York City, for instance, some mayoral candidates and parent organizations have called for improved minority access to the city’s popular G&T programs, which are demographically dominated by white and Asian students. But a bold response isn’t one that simply improves access and opportunity, but one that eliminates tracking altogether and provides “gifted and talented” education for all. In short, schools should de-track toward excellence for all students.

In North Carolina, for instance, such an endeavor was launched in some of the state’s lowest income school districts, and the preliminary evidence is striking.http://today.duke.edu/2011/03/darity.html Project Bright Idea, created by state educators in collaboration with experts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University, sought to test whether raising expectations could enhance student performance regardless of race or socioeconomic background. The program, which operated from 2004-2009 in 11 North Carolina school districts, enrolled 5,000 kindergarteners and first and second graders from disproportionately low-income communities. Meanwhile, teachers underwent intensive training and development to address their dispositions about the abilities of black and impoverished children while providing the schools and teachers with the resources and capacity to deliver a high level of instruction for all children.”

The complete article is here.

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