Minority students including African Americans and Hispanics; ELL (English Language Learners); as well as low SES (socio-economic status) students are often left out of gifted programs. Today, we also need to be aware of bias against LGBTQ students, children of military personnel, homeless, and most twice-exceptional students.
Barriers to gifted education include school district policies that fail to recognize and value cultural diversity. Presumptions about low-income and minority students are given too much credence by decision-makers. Twice/thrice-exceptional students may not be achieving at acceptable levels and thus barred from participation in gifted programs. Schools tend to focus on disabilities which may be masking abilities.
The identification process can affect equity. Identification of giftedness is too often based on outdated information or research that doesn’t take into account cultural diversity and the needs of ELL students. Parents and students need to be better informed by school districts about the benefits and opportunities afforded by participation in gifted programs.
There are laws already in place to change this situation. Gifted education has been successfully argued under civil rights legislation. Also, twice-exceptional students are often covered by special education regulations. The legality of participation in gifted education programs is often dependent on state laws and regulation. Parents and teachers should check with state or national gifted organizations for laws applying to their particular state or country.
Parents can make a difference in their school district. They are passionate about the education of their children. Parents of gifted children should learn the lessons provided by parents of special needs children who took their battles to the courts. Parenting a gifted child is hard work – parents should become knowledgeable about state regulations regarding gifted education and who their state congressional representatives are as well as their child’s school’s written gifted policies. Parents also need to learn the ‘chain of command’ in their school district. Start with the child’s teacher, then administrator; and if necessary, school board.
There are practical steps can educators and policy makers can take to increase equity in gifted programs. These include seeing possibilities rather than limitations, seeking solutions rather than dwelling on obstacles, emphasizing student’s strengths over weaknesses, and improving communications with parents. Policy makers and administrators need to provide cultural sensitivity training for all educators, high quality course offerings that are culturally sensitive and ELL compliant, and expand access to rigorous curriculum. Administrators should provide PD in gifted education which would aid in achieving accurate identification, increase out of school opportunities for most at-risk students and engage community support for expanded opportunities. A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Building Diversity in Gifted Programs (TEDxABQED 6:41)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
For the last chat of the year, our topic was All Kinds of Gifted. This included gifted, highly gifted, profoundly gifted, twice-exceptional, minority and low-ses. Throughout the chat, it was emphasized that educators need to recognize and understand that giftedness comes in many different forms. A full transcript may be found here.
The difference between gifted and high-achievers was discussed. A common misconception is that these terms are inter-changeable which greatly affects the approach many teachers take to gifted education to the detriment of all gifted students.
I’d like to take a moment to thank all our readers here at #gtchat’s blog. I encourage you to join us on Friday, January 3, 2014 at 7 PM ET/6 PM CT. Our topic will be, “2014 The Year Ahead” and I plan to use crowd-sourcing to determine the future of #gtchat. This will be your opportunity to tell me what you like and what you would like to see changed.
Until then, may you all enjoy a joyous holiday season and very Happy New Year!
Exceptionally Gifted Children: Different Minds from @SENG_Gifted
Profiles of the Gifted and Talented from @DavidsonGifted
Educators’ Guide to Gifted Children from @GiftedHF
Cultivating a Gifted Mind from @giftedbooks
What We Have Learned About Gifted Children from @GiftedDevCenter
12 Lists of Characteristics of Gifted Students from @ByrdseedGifted
Global #gtchat welcomed Dr. Joy Lawson Davis as we discussed “Diversity in Gifted Education”. Dr. Davis is the author of Bright, Talented and Black: A Guide for Families of African American Gifted Learners; the Director of the Center for Gifted Education at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette; and Chair of the National Association of Gifted Children’s Diversity & Equity Committee. The complete transcript of this chat can be found here.
The opening question was, “What would you like us to know about the lack of diversity in U.S. gifted education programs?” Her reply, “Inequity affects certain groups more than others: Black, Hispanic, Native American, in particular. Gifted classrooms in some areas are the most segregated in America! The huge challenge before us ALL is to ensure that Gifted Education & Equity co-exist peacefully. Radical changes in attitudes about racially diverse students and those who come from low SES (socio-economic status) backgrounds can make a difference. Performance-based assessments, use of ‘talent spotting’, and universal screening are just a few of strategies.”
Next, we asked Dr. Joy ~ “What modifications should be made to assessments/identification process to be more culturally sensitive?” She replied ~ “Using culturally unbiased testing; some verbal tests that were not normed on a diverse population will not give the best results. Assessing students in their native language, training more diverse personnel in gifted education can help. If teachers are culturally insensitive; then they will overlook, misdiagnose, and simply ignore giftedness in diverse children.”
In closing, Dr. Davis reminded us that “We can do this!! Working together we can ERADICATE under-representation of culturally diverse students in gifted education worldwide!” We at #gtchat believe this is a timely and important topic that must be kept on the front burner! Special thanks to Dr. Davis for joining us!
Dr. Joy Lawson Davis website
Bright, Talented and Black (Amazon)
Senginar w/ Dr. Joy Davis ‘Addressing Unique Challenges of Culturally Diverse Gifted Learners’ Feb 12th
We Are Gifted2 (Dr. Joy’s Blog)
Interview of Dr. Davis on Ingeniosus
SENG Conference to Highlight Diversity in Gifted Education
Education of Special Populations of Gifted Students (.pdf 355 pgs)
Joy Lawson Davis @ Great Potential Press
Joy Lawson Davis Bio on Amazon
Cybraryman’s Multicultural Celebration Page
Cybraryman’s Culture Page