In the United States, black students are significantly less likely to be chosen for gifted student programs than their white classmates.
Gifted programs provide especially bright students with specialized direction to help them fulfil their potential.
However, data from the US Department of Education shows black and Hispanic students make up 40 percent of public school students but make up only 26 percent of students enrolled in gifted programs.
So why is it these minorities are so drastically under-represented in gifted education schemes?
According to The Edvocate, there is research showing that even at kindergarten level, black and Hispanic students are academically behind their peers.
However, looking into this further, The Edvocate found massive disparities between kindergarten children who achieved matching maths and reading scores based on race.
“Two students – one black and one white – with the same math and reading achievement could have very different likelihoods of being identified as gifted,” Matthew Lynch wrote in The Edvocate.
A key factor determining whether a black student will be recognized as gifted depends on the race of the child’s teacher, reported The Edvocate.
In fact, a black teacher is three times more likely to identify a black student for a gifted program than a white teacher is.
Understanding the social background, culture and language of minority students seems invaluable in recognizing gifted talent, while white teachers may overlook potential talent.
So, while we have come a long way from racial segregation, underlying micro-aggression perpetuates societal segregation.
This issue can be solved through reducing teachers’ roles in children entering gifted programs.
Currently, the system relies on teachers putting students forward for gifted program assessments. But, if all students were assessed, they would get through on merit alone.
Districts that have began universal screening of all students have seen dramatic increases in the amount of black and Hispanic pupils in gifted education schemes.