"That Little Girl Was Me."

During the presidential debate of the Democratic Party, Kamala Harris threw a knock-out punch at Joe Biden, "That little girl was me." Commentators quickly recognized that the former vice president was slammed on his trivial attitude toward school segregation. In my opinion, however, the more important statement that Harris made was this, "We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly." Harris is right. For so many decades, schools in most districts in the United States have remained segregated. In some states, it is called "gifted programs" while in other districts, like Fairfax county, it is called "advanced academic program". Brian Wright and coworkers noted in a paper published in Gifted Students of Color, "that to be indifferent to this persistent lack of equitable access and opportunity to gifted education is to engage in an active and conscious state of aloofness and inattention in order to maintain the status quo." It is simply a combination of ignorance and indifference.

Above copied from Common Dreams

The gross underrepresentation of both black and Hispanic children in gifted or advanced academic programs is so prevalent. In most districts the 20% threshold for equitable participation (the difference between the percentage of a group in special programs cannot be more than 20% different from the percentage of that group in general education) is broken so many times over yet people do not seem to recognize that these programs are essentially racially segregating.

And it is perhaps because we only hear, "That little girl was me", and fail to notice that "We have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly." In Texas, a recent study published in Gifted Child Quarterly hints that the significant  under-representation of blacks and Hispanics in gifted programs can be traced not to institutions or systems. It can be traced to us, humans, who are making the decisions. If we are not acting swiftly then we are either ignorant or indifferent.


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