by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Gifted students have to check their privilege and get over themselves.
It doesn’t matter whether they are minorities. It doesn’t matter whether they were brought to the United States as children. It doesn’t matter how poor their families may be. It doesn’t matter if they have inspiring personal stories. It doesn’t matter how hard they work.
No, the very fact that they are getting accommodated in classrooms and programs that don’t necessarily represent the demographic makeup of school districts means that they need to be brought down a notch.
If there were any doubt that “equity” is now the most destructive concept in American life, the war on gifted and talented programs all around the country — from California (on the verge of eliminating tracking in math through the tenth grade), to Seattle (which eliminated its honors program for middle-school students), to suburban Philadelphia (where a district is curtailing tracking for middle-school and high-school students) — removes all doubt.
New York City has been a major battleground for the anti-gifted agenda that runs under the banner of desegregation, as if the offense of the George Wallaces of the world is no longer blocking the schoolhouse door but teaching exceptionally talented students at an accelerated pace.
Mayor Bill de Blasio just moved to significantly crimp the city’s gifted programs, disproportionately utilized by white and Asian-American kids, in a sop to racialist bean-counters. As the New York Times notes, the mayor has been “criticized for not taking forceful action to fulfill his promise of tackling inequality in public schools.”
Not that he hasn’t tried. Earlier in his administration, he appointed a panel that recommended eliminating almost all the city’s selective programs, alleging that they are “proxies for separating students who can and should have opportunities to learn together.”