"Virginia is proud of both the high standards of our educational system and the wealth of diversity in our communities," Governor Kaine said. "As we continue to improve on our gifted education programs in particular, it's critical we assess any disproportionate barriers to enrollment so we can ensure students of all backgrounds have the opportunity to participate."
Data reported by school divisions to VDOE show that while African-Americans make up 26 percent of the statewide student population, only 12 percent of students identified as gifted are black. Hispanics make up nine percent of the student population and five percent of students identified as gifted.
Gee, what could possibly be the reason behind this disparity?
Well, let's see. Giftedness is largely determined by performance on IQ tests. So, let's take a look at the relative performance between whites and blacks on IQ tests. Better yet, let's break performance out by socio-economic status.
The chart shows a 10 to 16 point gap between white and black performance for IQ (that's about a standard deviation) across the SES spectrum. Blacks in the highest SES decile perform about as well as the 50th percentile White (5th decile). Even raising the SES of Blacks wouldn't close the IQ gap even if there were a causal connection.
Mightn't this explain all or most of the discrepancy? It took about ten seconds of googling. Virginia needs about a year and a half to find a more politically correct explanation.
The study - which is being conducted with technical assistance from the Regional Educational Laboratory Appalachia - will be completed by Spring 2010.
There is a similar IQ gap between the performance of Asians and Whites which also explains why Asians are disproportionately represented in gifted classes. Hopefully, the study will address that problem as well.
Must be discrimination. Some virulent form of discrimination that's only present in the nasty U.S. And Toronto too. In fact I can't find a single country in which these same IQ gaps aren't present and don't manifest themselves on achievement tests (which are actually IQ tests. Shhhh don't tell anybody). So maybe that theory doesn't hold up.
In any event Erin Dillon from The Quick and the Ed is looking for a solution.
Racial disparities in gifted vs. regular education classes seemed obvious enough to me when I attended public schools in Virginia. One can only hope that this study will put some momentum behind addressing those disparities.
How exactly does one address those disparities?