DC-area school district seeks to eliminate “gifted student” label

The Washington Post reports:

Officials [in Montgomery County, Maryland schools]plan to abandon a decades-old policy that sorts second-grade students… into those who are gifted… and those who are not. Several other school systems in the region identify children in the same manner. But Montgomery education leaders have decided that the practice is arbitrary and unfair.

Two-fifths of Montgomery students are considered gifted on the basis of aptitude tests, schoolwork, expert opinion and parents’ wishes. Officials say the approach slights the rest of the students who are not so labeled. White and Asian American students are twice as likely as blacks and Hispanics to be identified as gifted.

School system leaders say losing the label won’t change gifted instruction, because it is open to all students. But this is Montgomery, where schools are known more for SAT composites than football records and where most, if not all, children are thought by parents to be above average. To some parents, any whiff of retreat from a tangible commitment to gifted education is cause for concern.

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