New Bipartisan Report: Addressing Equity Concerns in Gifted Education
Experts urge schools and policymakers to expand and implement proven strategies that create opportunities for advanced learners.
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A report by the National Working Group on Advanced Education examines new ways to expand education opportunities for advanced learners — specifically Black and Hispanic students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The group was formed in 2022 by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute to promote strategies that support students with high academic potential, especially students of color. During a time when education has become a polarized topic, this report with recommendations by a group of bipartisan experts is more critical than ever.
“Now more than ever, we must work with school leaders, policymakers, and stakeholders across the nation to build a wider, more diverse pipeline of students ready to do advanced-level work,” said Michael J. Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which convened the Working Group. “Especially if the Supreme Court strikes down race-based affirmative action, our country must start
much sooner—when kids are in kindergarten—to find all students with strong academic talent, including Black and Brown students, and work every year from grades K-12 to develop their strengths. Waiting until they apply to college is much too late.”
To build a diverse pipeline of high academic learners, the report recommends that schools and states take the following actions:
- Publicly report on the students participating in advanced education, including their achievement and growth over time, as well as their demographic characteristics
- Mandate the identification of students with advanced-learning needs
- Mandate that districts and charter networks allow for acceleration for students who could benefit from it
- Intentionally recruit underrepresented and underserved students for advanced learning opportunities such as college for dual enrollment and/or online courses
- Expand access to gifted, talented, honors, and AP courses, rather than get rid of them entirely as certain districts across the country have called for
- Allow children who are ready for advanced materials to skip entire grade levels and/or in a particular subject
- Use assessment data to identify additional students for advanced education services
- Prepare educators to support students’ needs by providing them with high-quality professional learning opportunities
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