I read that gifted education programs tend to enroll many more European and Asian American students compared to any other ethnic groups. More specifically, they enroll students from higher-income families. Why would this be the case in a public school district where tuition and donations are not a factor?


Dylan Ferniany, Gifted and Talented Education Program Administrator

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This is a great question and there are so many elements that factor into it. Here are three major ones:

1) Parent Understanding and Knowledge of Gifted Program High income parents have an understanding of the gifted programs and are likely to advocate for their children to have access. They may ask questions about the program, research identification, meet with the teacher, etc. Low income parents may not have the same level of access to knowledge or may not have the time to spend researching the gifted program.

2) Test Bias I wish this were not a problem but it is. Many IQ tests have built in bias. For example, the word gap that exists between poverty and non-poverty children before they even get to school will inherently bias students who have been exposed to more words on any verbal measure of IQ. Schools should always have non-verbal measures as part of the identification for gifted and talented students.

3) School Resources High income public schools are more likely to have more resources from local funds to support their gifted and talented program. So you may have one gifted teacher per school. This means that teachers can be more devoted to identifying students. In low income districts there might not be the same resources devoted to the program and therefore teachers are spread more thin. If a teacher is working with 3-4 schools vs. just 1 they are less likely to be able to identify students.

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