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Why are minorities under-represented in the gifted program?

post #1 of 53
Thread Starter 

I met my dd's pull-out GT class for the first time this week, and there are no hispanic kids in the whole class, while the school district is over 50% Hispanic. Is this because we have such a crappy school district that no one notices? Or because they're English learners and are concentrating on this right now? This is kinda rhetorical, I'm just noticing and wondering if we could discuss.

post #2 of 53

I think the challenge of learning another language while simultaneously building math & literacy skills can be an enormous. Usually a school district does not provide enough resources to learn in a timely/efficient way, and in the meantime, other academic skills fall behind. It is really heartbreaking to see. Obviously brilliance has nothing to do with ethnicity, but it can be hidden when the kids are not given a full opportunity to shine.

 

The kids chosen for gifted programs are often ahead academically because there is a huge investment of parental time and money -- they are not necessarily more intelligent, just more priviledged (at least in Seattle). The gifted program here really is for kids who are able to work at 1-2 above-grade levels in math and reading, thus, those who are advanced learners. I'm one of those parents who devotes huge amounts of money and time on my kid, and know that he has had the luxury of visiting all the city's museums and cultural events since he was a baby, taken multiple classes of all kinds, has his own extensive library, all the science toys and cool kits, etc... But if the tables were suddenly turned, we moved to Mexico & he were placed in an all Spanish speaking public school, there would be a huge learning curve -- undoubtedly he would fall behind in his academic studies without extra after-school support, and lots of it.


Edited by pregnant@40 - 12/15/10 at 11:08pm
post #3 of 53

Children who start school not speaking the language of instruction (so Spanish speakers in an English only environment) "must make fifteen months of progress for each ten months of progress that the native-English speaker is making each year of school, and they must do this for six consecutive years to eventually reach the 50th percentile.” (Thomas & Collier, 2002 b, pp. 19-20) So, yes, they're largely busy learning the language, and catching up. And there's the fact that most tests/criteria used to enroll kids in gifted programs rely heavily on language skills, language minority children are at a disadvantage.

 

There's also the fact that middle class children tend to be socialized into the language patterns of school early through family experiences. Shirley Brice Heath's Ways with Words is a classic work that describes one such community. Middle class kids come to school understanding how the talk works and largely understanding the culture. They don't have to learn a new culture. Kids from other backgrounds do.

 

Add to that the fact that parents who've had more education understand how the system works better. As a result, they have a better sense of when to ask for assistance, and to push the school when they feel their child isn't being challenged. Ds probably would have slipped under the radar for GT if I hadn't told his teachers what he was reading/doing at home and asked that he be tested.

 

Then add to that the fact that parents with more money can expose their children to a greater range of experiences, and usually have the time to talk about them, explain things and help their children extend their understanding. My kids get exposed to ideas in multiple ways. If your parents are working 2 jobs to keep food on the table, it's hard to have time to do this. (Note I'm not saying that poor parents don't, it's just a lot harder, so fewer kids of poor parents will have this experience.)

 

And then, I think there's out and out racism. Most of it's probably unconscious, but poor, visibly minority kids don't "look" like they belong in a gifted program. I suspect if you looked at the stats, Asian kids wouldn't be under represented, but almost any other type of visible minority would be. I have no data to back that up however.

post #4 of 53

Our district has hispanic kids in the GATE program but usually kids who were fluent in English before they started elementary which is most of the hispanic community in our area actually. Our schools use a nonverbal ability test that is supposed to catch ESL kids and I think that often they do. We can debate how many verbal kids it misses but one discussion at a time lol.

 

Now, in DD's traditional school, there were no ESL kids (as opposed to hispanic kids who are already fluent) in the GATE program. The program wasn't built for it and honestly, it was more a high-achiever program than GATE program. You needed grade level or higher vocabulary and newer ESL kids just didn't have it yet. However, my DS is in a Spanish immersion school that also has English only classes housing many ESL kids. Those qualifying ESL kids ARE included in the gifted pull-out because it's in Spanish and they have enough vocab to participate.

 

There are probably more than you think and it's important to differentiate between hispanic and ESL. I was in the gifted program and I'm hispanic. I don't look it but my mother is second generation in this country. This makes my kids hispanic too and both are in the GATE program. I never learned Spanish (it wasn't the style nor the priority at that time.) My kids didn't learn until they got in school but they are hispanic and in the gifted program.

 

Obviously, I don't know your school situation but I'm guessing they use a biased measure which excludes ESL kids. You have to factor in that ESL families but a HIGH priority on their children learning the language and fitting in. This means they often reject anything that pulls their child out of class or differentiates them further than the language barrier. It's possible the GATE program is more a high-achiever program like many are... if that's the case, it's not such a good fit yet anyway. Basically, I'm saying there could be a lot at work here.

post #5 of 53

For some reason, I'm not getting my test when I try to edit. I meant to say my mom is FIRST generation born in this country, not second. I'M second lol. My mother was never tested but her and her 7 siblings all were in accelerated courses and high-achieving despite the fact that they started school with no English. Almost all my cousing were identified as gifted in school.

post #6 of 53

Interesting you posted this today. I was just at my DS1's GT class yesterday, and noticed some interesting numbers..... 12 students.... 8 boys, 4 girls. My child is a minority and their was one other clearly minority child. A couple of the others may have been biracial, but I'm truly not sure. This is a largely white area, so that does not surprise me. But I honestly expected more girls than boys. 

post #7 of 53

It's hard to say why, without knowing a lot more about the demographics at your school, but I think that at the end of the day, it comes down to one thing...

 

If many of the PP are correct about the students being ESL, that does partly explain it.  In NYC, the tests to get into gifted schools are non-verbal.

 

If there is a large economic difference between the non-Hispanic students and the Hispanic students then the difference could be mostly do to being able to afford extensive enrichment before starting school.

 

If the Hispanic families are mostly migrant farm laborers, then they may just not stay long enough to get into the programs.

 

All that said, I have a hard time believing that in a school, where 50% of the student body is Hispanic, that the above explanations pertain to every single family and that not a single child facing those issues would manage to get past those issues anyway (my Dh started school up in Canada speaking neither English or French, very poor, and his family followed work, but he was placed in gifted programs.)  I think considering that there is not a single Hispanic student in the program, there is probably a certain amount of pervasive racism going on.

post #8 of 53

I'm guessing, since there aren't any standards nationwide for giftedness identification, this probably depends a lot on your district.  When I was in high school our gifted program actually had a pretty strong minority representation considering how few minorities were actually at my school (I grew up in the midwest).  That being said most of them did speak English at home (even if they were bilingual, English was certainly the dominant language and the parents were well educated- most with graduate degrees).  Then I again, I grew up in a university town so that might have played a large role there.  I wonder too how this will affect DD since we're moving abroad soon.  She's bilingual but we'll be moving to a country that speaks her second language that she's not nearly as strong in.  When we move DH wants to switch entirely to English to make sure she still remembers it (right now we roughly do one parent one language).  My hope is to send her to a Montessori school and they'll just meet her at her own level naturally so we won't even have to worry about testing but who knows how it will turn out.  But I think what probably happens is like PP said, the kids who grow up in families who are not familiar with the system and either don't speak English well enough to help their kids out (or assume the school will deal with it).  You see the same problem with schools in poor districts (even if there isn't a large minority representation) when the parents might not know how to work the system as well.  Looking back at my own gifted program growing up it was always that there poor kids were more underrepresented than the minority kids. 

post #9 of 53

Another issue is one of identification (so as a PP mentioned subtle discrimination). Most schools don't test all kids only those who are nominated to the program by their teachers as being likely to benifit from the program. Minorities are less likely to be nominated. Additionally even the best tests that try hard to eliminate cultural bias from the test still have some intrinsic cultural bias. Often a program has to make a specific effort to make sure that minority students are getting identified and accepted into the program. Our program does and does have a fairly high number of different ethnicities represented considering we are in the midwest. But even then I feel we have a massive underrepresentation of some groups such as Native Americans.


Edited by JollyGG - 12/16/10 at 4:50pm
post #10 of 53

I certainly agree that in the case of ESL students, language can be a huge part of it. Also true for kids from lower socio-economic backgrounds (there have been studies of language acquisition among kids from different socio-economic classes and there was a significant gap between middle class professional families and working class blue collar families where the working class kids were at a disadvantage early on). And I believe language is a very large part, at least in the initial stages of identification as "gifted." 

 

But I also think this is more going on than that. Maybe cultural bias in testing? I'm not sure. I can say this: I went to a gifted school in a middle class neighborhood. The majority of the kids there were first of all, white and second of all, from highly educated/well-off families (most of my friends had at least one parent who was a doctor, for example). I am white, but from a working class family and I was very much in the minority. So, yes, socio-economic background is seems to be one factor. 

 

But, more signficantly, perhaps: there was NOT ONE AA student in my entire class. In fact, in grades 4 - 12 at this school, I could probably count the number of AA students on my fingers. Come to think of it, probably the fingers of one hand. I actually only remember one AA student who went to the school for a year or two, and decided to go back to her district school. We did have a number of Hispanic students (but none of them were ESL--they were all native English speakers) and Asian students. But the lack of AA kids was very noticeable. Now, the county didn't have a huge AA community, but there were several predominantly AA neighborhoods. And certainly not all AA families in our county were from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Surely SOME of these kids were gifted. But many were not being identified as such. And of those who WERE identified, it is possible that they preferred NOT to attend this gifted school because of the general atmosphere of white privilege. 

 

So it is more than the ESL issue, I think. 

post #11 of 53

I am only aware of issues with children being identified for the "gifted" program who are either ESL OR financially disadvantaged.

 

For the first, the issue is obvious--- the program requires both high ability *and* high achievement.  Because the ESL program is contained, though, it wouldn't make sense to be ESL *and* Quest.  ESL is a full time program with the goal of integration.  Once you were ready to go to your local school you could be elligible for gifted placement testing as well.  The ESL program is also not that large in the area, though.  DS has more friends who are bilingual than not and all of them were fully so by kindergarten age if not well before.

 

The second issue really bothers me.  I think they have improved the situation (or so I hear) but when DD was testing for the program there was *very* little notification between qualification for further testing and the test itself.  The second set of testing also occured on a weekday during work hours.  Unless you had the ability to have an adult take the child to the test, they could not be tested.  I think that unfairly disadvantages people who work hourly, low-wage jobs for obvious reasons.  We have a stay at home parent AND the other parent can take off from work whenever needed.  Not everyone has that flexibility.

 

I think about this a lot because I feel our children are growing up with relative ethinic diversity, but very little socio-economic diversity.  Sure, on our street we have many people who were born in countries other than the US, speak other languages, practice other religions.. but the vast majority are college educated, middle-class salary employees. 

 

In DS' current school, there is 41.76% minority (non-white) enrollment.  In his class last year, there was about 75% minority enrollment.  Then numbers have been similar, but not quite as skewwed in DD's classes.  The district, meanwhile, is 29% minority.  Ethnic minorities are in no way having problems entering the program OVERALL.  It is only when you look at specific minorities that you see a problem arise.  Asians (including Indian subcontinent as the majority) are statistically overrepresented while Blacks & Hispancs are underrepresented.    In fact, in the area of the district that has higher Indian population, it takes 4-5 schools to supply a full time program, while the area with lower Indian population have 13 schools and only two full time programs (one of which only has three classes).

 

My summary: I don't see an *ethnic* minority issue.  I see a socio-economic class minority issue.

post #12 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by TiredX2 View Post

My summary: I don't see an *ethnic* minority issue.  I see a socio-economic class minority issue.



That is going to vary though.  Obviously wealthier families have an advantage, so wealthy minority families will not have the disadvantages of poverty to get past first, but in many places they will still face the disadvantage of racism.  These disadvantages can be very subtle, which makes them hard to change.

 

Asian over representation is not good evidence that other ethnicities are not being under represented do to racism, since being smart is part of the Asian stereotype.  A teach, who may subconsciously let racial stereotypes color his/her perceptions of his/her students, will recommend/encourage/challenge Asian students just as much as the White ones.

post #13 of 53

I don't think it is just socio-economic status. As the mother of a gifted, quirky, brown four year old, we have already seen first hand the ways that race play into how his behavior is interpreted and how teachers and other adults respond to him.

 

My partner and I are both college-educated professionals (both of us are ABD) who have both spent significant amounts of time in classrooms as teachers, administrators, graduate students and advocates. My partner is a Cultural Competency consultant who works with schools and teachers to make sure they adequately meet the needs of minorities. I am white, my partner is black, our son is mixed black and white. Our son's verbal IQ came back at the 99.9th percentile recently, and his full scale IQ came back at 99th percentile.

 

He had significant problems in his previous pre-school and when I was speaking to the director of another school, I tried to explain to her that the previous school did not have an adequate discipline policy and that the teachers were never clear about expectations with the students. The director looked at me and said, "Oh, so maybe the issue is like in Delpit's Other People's Children?"--which, if you haven't read it is about the difference in communication styles between dominant middle-class culture and underrepresented minorities.

 

Except for the fact that my son is half-black, he is firmly a part of the dominant middle class culture--after all, he is being raised by a white mother who communicates in the same style as the white women who were teaching him and a black mother who was a highly successful teacher of white college students at one point in her career, and I was rendered absolutely speechless by this director's lack of understanding of this.

 

Racism. Pure and simple. And, he wasn't offered a spot in her program because "we don't think we can handle his needs" (which, incidentally, were never identified by any of the specialists we dragged him to at the insistence of the first school).

 

The teachers did acknowledge that he was "bright" but never saw him as more than a trouble-maker. So, yeah, we anticipate needing to fight next year to get him identified for the gifted program, and then needing to fight when he hits middle school to keep him enrolled in the program.

post #14 of 53

I'm my school district's ELD (English Language Development) specialist, and have taught in the field for years, and I can say... dealing with language issues and gifted issues at the same time is HARD. Yes, you can use non-verbal tests to identify gifted LEP (Limited English Proficient) students, but it's hard to even know which students to test because a gifted student who doesn't speak a word of English isn't going to give off any of the regular "gifted" warning lights, especially if she speaks a language that her teacher doesn't. The regular classroom *IS* way over their heads, linguistically... even if the material is years below their ability level.

 

There are a lot of frustrated bright and gifted English Language Learners out there. It's heartbreaking to see a low language-level student SOOOOO excited about a concept or idea in their brain, practically bursting with a desire to share his/her thoughts, and then just... give up and say "I don't know" because the words just aren't there. Or an intermediate language-level student stuck reading materials that do not challenge them intellectually because finding high-challenge, low-language materials is really really difficult, and advanced texts aren't available in all languages. Besides, there aren't teachers who speak every language to help guide students through the advanced material anyway, and even fewer teachers who speak other languages *AND* know how to work with gifted students.

 

If anyone knows of any good resources for ESL-Gifted education... shoot 'em my way. I'm trying to put some stuff together for our district and not finding a lot of practical resources.

 

And then there's the issue of racism. It happens. A lot.

post #15 of 53
Thread Starter 

OP here, and wow! So many interesting replies!

 

Yes, I think it's both socio-economic, as well as discrimination/racism.

 

To the poster who said I might not identify them as Hispanic, yes, that's true. But the majority of the kids at the regular school who are Hispanic are easily identifiable. A very large majority of them are Mexican, even from the same states in Mexico. So I would say that the kids who are Hispanic but are not easily identifiable would probably be not be considered "Hispanic" by the teaching staff.

 

And yes, I definitely think there is some pervasive racism in the district. I think different teachers have different attitudes, but I had a teacher from another school tell me that the reason our state rates so low academically was that Hispanic parents don't want their girls to learn. There is a lot of subtle, and not-so-subtle racism/anti-immigrant views around here, sadly. I hear it all the time.

 

Interestingly, LynnS6, there are two Asian students in her class. I think the percentage of Asian students in the district is <1%. So yeah, definitely either the parents are advocating more, or the staff is overlooking the students.

 

And to get my dd in to the program, I had to do all the legwork. Her 1st grade teacher agreed 100% that she should be in it, but had no idea what you had to do and forgot over and over to get me the paperwork, so I just finally went straight to the GT office.

 

Ack, gotta go, be back later!

post #16 of 53

Wow, this is interesting and makes me appreciate my son's schools so much more. Test scores and reading level send up the first flag. Then the 1st and 2nd grade teachers put in their two cents. They test all the kids they think are possibilities. The parents just sign a consent form, the test is done in school. Once that test is passed, parents are notified how their child did, and asked if they consent to the final testing to qualify. That test is done over three days, and it's also in school. Then you get a letter in the mail telling you if your child qualified and what their scores were, and then you sign a page and send it back if you want your child in GT. 

 

I did very little to get him into it. It was.... fine!

post #17 of 53

Interesting that you'd find teachers say that hispanic families don't want their girls to learn. As a preschool teacher in a low-income school... lots of recent immigrants, we found the opposite the truth. The mexican culture actually puts a lot of value on education and teachers are honored members of the community. Learning the language and doing well in school were top priorities of these families... more so than the low-income caucasion families. The little girls in particular were expected to be very mature, very independant and capable. The boys were babied more but still, high priority on education. Plus, if you gave these parents a way to be involved, they would jump on it. If you offered adult language classes, they were there. Sadly, often they have less opportunity to move on through college but these teacher's you are talking to are way off base.

 

Our district has a very high performing triligual school where most of the teachers are hispanic and native speakers. We are also a border town so high population of hispanic people and families who have been here for generations. Perhaps that translates into more of our hispanic children in GATE.

post #18 of 53
Thread Starter 

Yes, I thought that comment was ridiculous, and certainly revealed the woman's bias. Because we are low-income, we have always lived in communities with many immigrant Mexican families, and I think the one thing I've learned is that they're really quite diverse! Surprise, surprise! But I do have this theory that the children of immigrants may be genetically predisposed to being brighter, as I assume it takes a fair amount of intelligence to navigate the process of immigrating, as well as some major guts. Honestly, I'd rather my children hang out with the immigrant families than the Caucasian low-income families a majority of the time, because it seems like the two groups are struggling for different reasons.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

Interesting that you'd find teachers say that hispanic families don't want their girls to learn. As a preschool teacher in a low-income school... lots of recent immigrants, we found the opposite the truth. The mexican culture actually puts a lot of value on education and teachers are honored members of the community. Learning the language and doing well in school were top priorities of these families... more so than the low-income caucasion families. The little girls in particular were expected to be very mature, very independant and capable. The boys were babied more but still, high priority on education. Plus, if you gave these parents a way to be involved, they would jump on it. If you offered adult language classes, they were there. Sadly, often they have less opportunity to move on through college but these teacher's you are talking to are way off base.

 

Our district has a very high performing triligual school where most of the teachers are hispanic and native speakers. We are also a border town so high population of hispanic people and families who have been here for generations. Perhaps that translates into more of our hispanic children in GATE.

post #19 of 53
Thread Starter 

I just wanted to come back and say that I'm so sorry about this, and share that this seems to happen at my dd's school too. There is one AA boy in her class, and he seems to me no worse or no better than any of the other boys. Totally average. But I swear his teacher picks on him all the time, and seems to be singling him out for behavior that they are all doing. I think about it A LOT, especially because I've been hearing a lot lately of those studies that found that AA boys did so much more poorly than their white counterparts. Good luck with your fight!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by spedteacher30 View Post

I don't think it is just socio-economic status. As the mother of a gifted, quirky, brown four year old, we have already seen first hand the ways that race play into how his behavior is interpreted and how teachers and other adults respond to him.

 

My partner and I are both college-educated professionals (both of us are ABD) who have both spent significant amounts of time in classrooms as teachers, administrators, graduate students and advocates. My partner is a Cultural Competency consultant who works with schools and teachers to make sure they adequately meet the needs of minorities. I am white, my partner is black, our son is mixed black and white. Our son's verbal IQ came back at the 99.9th percentile recently, and his full scale IQ came back at 99th percentile.

 

He had significant problems in his previous pre-school and when I was speaking to the director of another school, I tried to explain to her that the previous school did not have an adequate discipline policy and that the teachers were never clear about expectations with the students. The director looked at me and said, "Oh, so maybe the issue is like in Delpit's Other People's Children?"--which, if you haven't read it is about the difference in communication styles between dominant middle-class culture and underrepresented minorities.

 

Except for the fact that my son is half-black, he is firmly a part of the dominant middle class culture--after all, he is being raised by a white mother who communicates in the same style as the white women who were teaching him and a black mother who was a highly successful teacher of white college students at one point in her career, and I was rendered absolutely speechless by this director's lack of understanding of this.

 

Racism. Pure and simple. And, he wasn't offered a spot in her program because "we don't think we can handle his needs" (which, incidentally, were never identified by any of the specialists we dragged him to at the insistence of the first school).

 

The teachers did acknowledge that he was "bright" but never saw him as more than a trouble-maker. So, yeah, we anticipate needing to fight next year to get him identified for the gifted program, and then needing to fight when he hits middle school to keep him enrolled in the program.

post #20 of 53

I think how the district sets things up can have a huge influence.

 

In our district for elementary, first, the parents must get their kid to the testing location over 2 saturdays (inflexible date and time).  That's hard to ask of working/only public transporation families.  There are not multiple test locations, and we have a honkin' huge district that sprawls over two counties and is very oddly shape, so some people might have to drive very far indeed.  Though at least the testing site is at a Title I school, at least.

 

Second, not all children who qualifiy are served.  So...the kid can blow away the test requirements, but in order to get in to the program they must also win in the lottery to get in.

 

Third, so the kid has passed the test and won the lottery, but...sorry, there are just 2 sites in the entire district and the district will not provide transportation.  And since there is a limit of a grand total of two classrooms per grade for the entire district, if you move here after 1st grade (the program starts in 2nd, but you must have the application in early december of the previous year) you probably are going to be SOL if no one moves/leaves the program because those slots are full.

 

And if your kid is gifted but doesn't win the lottery, sucks to be you.  There is no pull out program at the home school, there is no differentiation for math in most classrooms, there is no special support.  Even if your kiddo has a testing record that proves their eligibility.

 

The junior high/middle school has no gifted program per se.  There are sometimes honors classes, but occasionally you have lovely decisions like eliminating honors english for all 7th grades because they want them spread throughout the other classrooms.

 

The high school has IB and AP, but those are not restricted to "gifted" people.

 

As you can see, our district could probably not care less about gifted education, except in lip service.  Though to be fair, they really don't seem to care for ANYTHING other than traditional schooling, so any kind of alternative program, whether merit or choice based, is kind of shafted.

 

I decided not to support the district's pathetic "efforts", and instead went for a different alternative (not that we are not squeezed as well) and have been happy with my choice, but..I am pretty disgusted with how the gifted education program works here and it was a conscious choice for me not to even pursue even the child that I am pretty sure IS gifted being part of it.  I applaud the people who are trying to change it from within though.

 

Anyway, back to the original question--

 

In short, hispanic and black kids in particular are extremely, EXTREMELY underrepresented in our district's program partially because of economic concerns (parents must be willing and able to drive their kids up to 30+ minutes each way esp. if they are in the outlying area of the feeder pattern of schools, as well as devote time to getting their kids to the one testing site).  It's also partially because frankly, the district does a pathetic effort at even getting the word out on the application process, it's not even easy to find on the district's own website.  So--a family would have to be pretty go getter, or know someone, or be willing or able to invest quite a bit of time online to find out how to apply. The flyer, even though it is a district program, is not available in multiple languages.  The district administration also pretty much admit they don't really give a hoot about trying to diversify though.

 

There is also the problem of local businesses that offer cramming courses to elementary aged children to prep them for the tests that are used.  It's done under the guise of "familiarizing them" and don't get me wrong, I do see the value in that esp. for kids with test taking anxiety or who have NEVER taken a standardized test before!  However, that's yet another disadvantage for families who are too poor or don't have the cultural/community resources that inform parents that sort of tutoring is available and/or the $200ish bucks to drop on tutoring that even if successful is by no means a guarantee that your child will even get entry into the program even if they qualify.

 

I would like to hope that most districts don't suck this much in regards to gifted education, but...I think most of them kind of do.  I was a military brat growing up, so even though it was *obvious* to everyone I should've been in the gifted program, I was refused testing or entry because I hadn't "been here a year" (hard to do when your fam moves every 18 months), or they wouldn't accept another district's test even though it was part of my record (and even when the refusing district used the same test), ect.

 

I think from an administrative point of view, gifted education is probably a money sinkhole.  You are employing teachers/classrooms that cannot be used for crowd control to keep building numbers down.  You are concentrating a group of kids that may very well be brilliant and bring you accolades, but who also often use other services at a higher rate due to asynchronous development and/or 2E and/or emotional/social difficulties.  You may be buying special textbooks or programs.  It is pretty hard to make such a program "cost neutral".  Please don't be offended by these comments, I hate that aspect as well, but--sadly due to some activism/activity within my own district, I have seen some pretty stupid/heartbreaking/annoying/infuriating decisions made due to the almighty principle of "cost neutrality" and politics.  It sucks.  But you can believe if they don't even really want to deal with the privledged kids, they sure as hell don't want to deal with people whose parents might need extra support (translation), or people who might need transportation, ect.  I also think that unfortunately many black and hispanic folks worry that their kids will be the only kid who's not white or asian in the program and they are disinclined to put their kids in that situation--esp. if people are going to assume that their kid "only got in because they wanted diversity" (which people do say stupid crap like that, I have seen/heard it with my own eyes.  yes, in front of the *kid*).

 

So I think the answer is complex.  I wish things were different.  I think that it will take more effort than most people are willing to put in (from both sides) and I doubt it will happen in this economy/political environment.  I hate it.  I will admit, I have actually lost a few night's sleep before over concerns about our district's educational choices.

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