Education for high achievers has come under siege in blue cities and states as the national focus has shifted to racial equity in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder. But such attacks, even when well-intentioned, are misguided. They target a problem’s symptom rather than its cause, and in doing so, harm students and defy parents.
Gifted education has been a much-debated issue
Mayor de Blasio is axing New York City’s long-standing gifted education programs. He plans to replace them with something else, but his proposal is almost entirely wrong. Fortunately, Eric Adams, who’s almost certain to replace him in January, has a vision of gifted education that’s mostly right, and he’ll enter office in time to fix de Blasio’s blunders.
On this week’s podcast, Brandon Wright, Fordham’s editorial director and coauthor of
Far too many high-achieving children are drifting through middle and high school. Despite their potential, they don’t end up taking AP exams, achieving high marks on their ACTs, or going to four-year colleges. This limits their ability to move up the social ladder, threatens U.S. economic competitiveness, and derails our aspirations for a more just society. We must stop buying into the false assumption that high-achieving kids will do fine on their own.
On this week’s podcast, Scott Imberman, professor at Michigan State University, joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss the new study he con
“As a broader mechanism for equity, [Advanced Placement] has fallen short, unable to overcome the powerful structural forces that disadvantage far too many students,” writes Anne Kim in a recent long-form article in Washington Monthly titled “AP’s Equity Face-Plant.” “If the ultimate goal
Boston just approved sweeping changes to the process by which students are admitted to its three highly-sought exam schools. The idea was to free up more seats for disadvantaged children, some of whom have long been underrepresented at the institutions. Yet in one important aspect, the plan may do exactly the opposite: It’s likely to significantly reduce the number of seats that go to low-income Asian American students.
When looking for models of ambitious inspiration, Americans often hearken back to President John F. Kennedy’s “moonshot” address at Rice University on September 12, 1962:
Now more than ever, high-ability students from low-income families will need specialized attention and guidance from their parents and teachers. Many less-resourced families have experienced illness or personal and financial instability, and low-income students’ schooling may have experienced long interruptions due to a lack of resources at home.
Gifted education is usually thought of as comprising separate classrooms that participating students attend for part of the day, and that move faster through curricular material or examine it at greater depth than “regular education” classrooms. This, of course, is only possible because all of the students in gifted classrooms are up to the challenge of this enhanced instruction.
Last week, NY1 reported that the New York City Department of Education will end its elementary-level gifted and talented test after administering it in person this April.
I’ll miss the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation now that it has closed its research and evaluation department, where I served as director from 2011 to 2020. After almost a decade examining challenges faced by high-ability students, I’ve learned a lot. I want to share with you ten of the key takeaways.
At a virtual town hall in Brooklyn about how the pandemic will change admissions to high-performing selective schools, New York City officials got a lecture on systemic racism.
As our country grapples with racial injustice, there are persistent calls to diversify elite institutions at all levels, from corporate and foundation boards to law schools and medical schools to undergraduate programs. All good.
On this week’s podcast, Fordham’s Checker Finn joins Mike Petrilli and David Griffith to discuss the growing, misguided war on selective-admissions high schools. On the Research Minute, Amber Northern examines how community college credentials affect graduates over time.
Two big public-school systems in the D.C. area are on the verge of letting their zeal for equity and racial justice lead to consequences they may end up regretting. Fairfax County, which operates one of America’s best known and most esteemed “exam schools,” is may use a lottery, rather than test scores and other quality measures, for admissions. And Loudoun County is considering revising its rules for “professional conduct” by school staff to punish employees—teachers included—in truly Orwellian ways.
Academic acceleration—either through grade skipping or advanced coursework such as Advanced Placement or early college access—is a longstanding practice for primary and secondary students who show above average ability for their age and grade level.
Students who have the kinds of talent scientists and engineers need to solve problems by visualizing how objects could be rotated, combined or changed in three dimensions often struggle at school.
The Covid-19 pandemic has further exposed the inequities that have long existed in K–12 education system.
As I noted in a recent post, attitudes toward advanced education are cyclical. From gifted education to talent development programs, from honors classes to AP, we have experienced a largely positive stretch of media attention and state-level policy gains.
Michael J. Petrilli’s recent article “Half-Time High School may be just what students need” is compelling. Yet proposals to cut school time in half in grades nine through twelve may be only half right.
Amid the plague that surrounds us, essential attention is properly getting paid to the education challenges of out-of-school kids: What can their parents, their schools, and their districts do to compensate for missed classroom time and the learning loss that’s bound to occur between now and the resumption of something resembling normalcy.
America’s schools have ceded significant ground to trendy nostrums and policy cure-alls that do little to adequately teach young people the skills and knowledge required to realize their full potential and emerge from school as fully-functioning citizens. The latest round of dire NAEP civics and U.S. history scores underscore our continuing failure on the citizenship front.
That K–12 education in the U.S. has long been plagued by “excellence gaps” is no secret, although the terminology may be just a decade old (and owes much to Jonathan Plucker and his colleagues).
This report presents key findings from Learning in the Fast Lane: The Past, Present, and Future of Advanced Placement, by Chester E. Finn, Jr. and Andrew E. Scanlan, and published by Princeton University Press in 2019.
Considerable research suggests that “math skills better predict [individuals’] future earnings and other economic outcomes than other skills learned in high school,” report Eric A. Hanushek, Paul E. Peterson, and Ludger Woessmann.
Gifted education in the U.S. is too scarce and lacks substance, and that’s especially true for high achieving black and Latino children. A new report by the Education Trust concludes that this gap has “everything to do with policies, adult decisions, and practices and little to do with students’ academic abilities.”
Education is a great equalizer, yet our nation does not consistently support advanced students, especially low-income, and racial and language minority students. Too often, these students are drastically under-challenged in school, leading to boredom, underachievement and incalculable amounts of lost potential.
Most everyone has read by now about the dismal scores on our Nation’s Report Card, which again measured how fourth and eighth graders did in math and reading. Aside from fourth grade math, marks on the 2019 National Assessment of Education Progress were generally flat or down, especially for our lowest-performing children. One prominent official remarked that “the bottom fell out.” But the results among high achievers offer a bright spot that has been mostly overlooked and undercelebrated.