The Advanced Academic Program of Fairfax County Public Schools

The Institute for Educational Achievement has just released an advanced reading copy of a report entitled "AMERICA AGREES: PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARDS GIFTED EDUCATION". The report is a "compilation of results from a national opinion poll assessing the general public’s understanding of and attitudes towards gifted education". One major finding of the poll is that the American public has a good grasp of what "gifted" means, and how this greatly differs from a "high achieving" student. This distinction is reflected in the following items the poll includes: Gifted students are rare, and gifted students need special programs. In the poll, gifted students are considered different from high-achieving students. High-achieving students are often characterized as students with "Guts, Resilience, Initiative and Tenacity (GRIT)". In addition, a supermajority of Americans agree that giftedness is not associated with family income. In Fairfax county, however, giftedness is apparently not rare especially in schools the affluent attend.

Above copied from
AMERICA AGREES: PUBLIC ATTITUDES TOWARDS GIFTED EDUCATION

It is through the lens of this opinion poll that the current state of the advanced academic program in Fairfax county, the county where I live, becomes profoundly disturbing. The trends seen in the two specific examples I am showing here are generally present throughout the entire county. Gifted students are apparently not rare especially in schools where only a small fraction of students qualify for free or reduced fee lunch. One school in the Chantilly section of Fairfax county, for instance, has a supermajority of its students enrolled in the gifted program:

Above copied from
Fairfax County Public Schools Profiles

This school, which has nearly two-thirds of its students enrolled in advanced academics, is not attended by children from low-income families, as gauged by the number of students qualifying for free or reduced fee lunch:

Above copied from
Fairfax County Public Schools Profiles

One can compare and contrast the above school with the school my son attends.

Above copied from
Fairfax County Public Schools Profiles

The school my son attends clearly adheres more to the notion that gifted students are rare. Sadly, the school my son attends also caters to a greater number of children coming from low-income families.

Above copied from
Fairfax County Public Schools Profiles

These two schools are the exact opposites of each other. It is appalling. Such is an excellent example of inequity in education.


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