Excellence with Equity: The Case for Rethinking Gifted Education

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Few policies in public education have been as contentious as how schools identify and educate their most academically able students. The concentration of white and Asian students in advanced programs in U.S. public education has spawned a movement to dismantle gifted-and talented programs, exam schools, and other advanced programs on the grounds that they promote racial and economic segregation in public education. While the skirmishes between advocates of traditional gifted programs and those who would dismantle them make headlines, millions of capable students remain under-challenged.

And the conflicts have overshadowed a new vision of advanced education emerging in a handful of states and school districts that embraces both excellence and equity, one that supports advanced learning but widens the range of students involved substantially, better reflecting public education’s rapidly diversifying enrollment.

Excellence with Equity: The Case for Rethinking Gifted Education profiles three school districts that have embraced the new model. It explores the districts’ challenges, their setbacks and, ultimately, their successes in building advanced programs that are both rigorous and welcoming. Written by FutureEd Senior Fellow Peg Tyre, the report provides valuable lessons for education policymakers and practitioners nationwide.


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