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    Educators Turn to Programs for Top Students to Narrow the ‘Excellence Gap’
    By Dana Goldstein
    New York Times
    June 25, 2018

    Quote
    Now, with test-score gaps narrowing but remaining stubbornly persistent after years of efforts, some in the education field are taking a fresh look at programs for advanced students that once made them uneasy, driven by the same desire to help historically disadvantaged groups. They are concerned not just with the achievement gap, measured by average performance, but the “excellence gap”: they hope to get more students from diverse backgrounds to perform at elite levels.

    “Something started to change culturally in this country,” said Jonathan Plucker, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education and one of the researchers who coined the term excellence gap. “Just to even talk about bright students was suddenly much more palatable to people,” he said.

    That discussion has recently led to high-profile education policy moves. In New York earlier this month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would change the admissions process for eight of the city’s most competitive specialized high schools, including Stuyvesant and the Bronx High School of Science, to help more black and Latino students win admission. Two weeks later, the University of Chicago became the first top research university to make SAT or ACT exam scores optional rather than mandatory for admission, part of a suite of measures meant to bring in more low-income students, who tend to score less well on those tests.

    Over the past two years, state legislatures in Washington, Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and Alabama have passed bills intended to finance or improve opportunities for high-achieving students, or to make accelerated programs more diverse. And in March, the federal Department of Education announced that it would give priority to grant applications from states and localities that seek to expand and diversify their programs for gifted and talented students.

    The law that governs federal education policy, the Every Student Succeeds Act, signed by President Barack Obama in 2015, requires states to track and report the demographic breakdown of high-performing students, in order to help identify gaps. That was not required by the previous law, the No Child Left Behind Act.
    If two groups have a very different mean, the representation of the two groups above a certain threshold will not be the same, and the higher the threshold, the larger the disparity will be. Efforts to erase group differences in average academic achievement have had limited success.

    When public school is too easy for gifted children, some affluent parents will enroll them in private school or supplement their educations with programs such as Art of Problem Solving or Russian School of Math. Watering down programs for high-IQ kids can thus increase inequality of opportunity, since many parents cannot or will not spending thousands of dollars on private programs.

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    Originally Posted by Bostonian
    When public school is too easy for gifted children, some affluent parents will enroll them in private school or supplement their educations with programs such as Art of Problem Solving or Russian School of Math. Watering down programs for high-IQ kids can thus increase inequality of opportunity, since many parents cannot or will not spend thousands of dollars on private programs.
    Agreed.

    Over the years, there have also been articles, forum threads, and posts stating that parents who could afford it (albeit for many, with struggle and sacrifice) were not just investing in out-of-school enrichment programs and opportunities for their children... but were leaving government schools for private/independent, parochial, and/or homeschool.

    A brain-drain from government schools.

    Not just the affluent, but all who realize that the price of education (outside the government system) is dwarfed by the price of their child's lost potential, frustration, lack of affirmation/validation, dearth of appropriate academic challenge and intellectual peers... forming patterns of underachievement during his/her formative years (in the government education system).


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