By: Krystle Crossman
Programs in public schools for gifted children are often lacking something. They are filled with white children and Asian children, but the minority groups such as black and Hispanic children are few and far between. Even though there are a vast majority of black children in schools who should be considered gifted they are very rarely recognized as such. Why is this? Why do black children become left out when they have the same abilities as white or Asian children? Most often it is because their teachers and the school systems use stereotypes to undervalue their educational prowess and they are not allowed to reach their full potential.
Studies show that black third graders are half as likely to be entered into a gifted program in public schools. In Broward County, Florida, the school districts are trying to change the way that children are put into the programs. They have all second grade students take a short nonverbal test that measures their IQ. The students are then placed into gifted programs if they score high on the test. This county has one of the most diverse student bodies with children from all races and all income levels. Once the IQ testing began the number of black students in gifted programs doubled. Before they used this system they would place the children according to the say of the teachers and the student’s parents.
Once the new system was put into place results were seen almost immediately. The number of black students who were considered gifted rose from 1% to 3%. The number of Hispanic students tripled from 2% to 6%. The number of white students went from 6% to 8%. When teachers and parents are the referrals for the programs they often place the minority students on the back burner because they do not feel that they have the potential. They undervalue the child’s intellect which then leaves the child behind. Some of these students often do poorly in school because they are not challenged enough and are not given a chance to prove themselves.
Some of the schools in Broward County did not have enough students that met the IQ range for the gifted programs and so they took students that had top scores on the standardize tests that they were given. These students are high achievers and did extremely well in the gifted programs. They helped the other students in the class to work harder as well. Unfortunately in 2010 Broward County had to suspend this program due to financial budgets. They reinstated it in 2012 but were not getting the same results that they were previously. Even the IQ tests however were said to be biased against children that come from lower income families. The people who feel this way want an approach that includes testing and teacher referrals, but there is no guarantee that those results aren’t biased either.
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