Equity and Excellence: An Analysis Name University Course Date Equity and Excellence: An Analysis Author Donna Ford and Harmon in their article “Equity and Excellence: Providing Access to Gifted Education for Culturally Diverse Students” published in the Journal of Secondary Gifted Education discusses the gifted education program in the country, focusing on the under-representation of culturally diverse students who are also gifted…
The writers presented and fully discussed the background of the issue, mentioning Congress passing legislations promoting the interests of gifted students. According to the National Association for Gifted Children, in order to help reduce gaps in achievement and to encourage the establishment of equal educational opportunities for all U.S. students, Congress allocated $7.5 million in 2010 for the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act to the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented and funds grants that focus on identifying and serving gifted and talented students coming from culturally, linguistically and ethnically diverse backgrounds and are traditionally under-represented. Almost all decisions are made at the state and local level. State laws, local policies, and unstable funding varies widely, resulting to disparity of gifted education services between school districts and the different treatment and protection of talented and gifted students under the law (NAGC, n.d.). With the present system used in educational and placement decisions, the system of identification and assessment, together with present policies and procedures which seem not effective enough, if what the authors say will be believed, it is not surprising that students belonging to the cultural minority, have been under-represented in terms of gifted education. Their claim that culturally diverse students are under-represented is fully backed by their presentation of established causes; two of them are testing and assessment issues. According Ford and Harmon, these tests are ineffective due to several factors that affect test results. Again, the authors, by giving explanations on why standardized tests are ineffective, and giving emphasis on the explanation of educators which says that “the fault rests with the student” successfully introduced the idea of deficit thinking. They claim that deficit-oriented philosophy hinders educators from seeing the potentials of diverse students. In these, I fully agree with the authors. Deficit thinking leads to educators focusing only on students who are capable of getting high scores in intelligence tests and those who are achievers. These factors make educators blind to possibilities that the students are of the same level when it comes to intelligence. Others just need to be motivated. The fact that diverse students face social injustice such as discrimination, stereotypes, negative peer pressure among others, in school is proof of deficit thinking/ deficit-oriented philosophy which results to under-representation of gifted but culturally diverse students (Ford and Harmon, 2001). Ford and Harmon claim inadequate policies and practices contribute to under-representation and are backed by Richard Valencia in his book “Dismantling Contemporary Deficit Thinking: Educational Thought and Practice”. Valencia stated that throughout the history of deficit thinking in education, examples of educational policies or practices, in the micro and macro level, are fueled by class and racial prejudice keeping economically disadvantaged students of color in their place. Valencia further stated that the historical and contemporary bases are evident in “state constitutional statutes, state educational agency policies, judicial outcomes, state legislation, local school ...
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