Ignorance or Indifference? Seeking Excellence and Equity for Under-Represented Students of Color in Gifted Education

  • Brian L Wright, Ph.D. Instruction & Curriculum Leadership College of Education The University of Memphis
  • Donna Y. Ford, Ph.D. College of Education and Human Development Peabody College Vanderbilt University
  • Jemimah L. Young, Ph.D. Teacher Education and Administration College of Education University of North Texas
Keywords: Gifted Education, Under-Representation, Students Of Color, Black Students, Hispanic/Latino Students, Equity

Abstract

Lack of access to gifted education is prevalent, yet preventable for Black and Hispanic students. Years of data from the Office for Civil Rights and national reports reveal that deficit thinking, prejudice, and discrimination must be at work, thus compromising the educational experiences of gifted students of color. In this article, the authors share data on under-representation in the U.S., along with contributing factors and recommendations. They rail against both ignorance and indifference explanations, calling instead for accountability and deliberate efforts to desegregate gifted education with both excellence and equity as the driving force. We define equity as being fair, responsive, and impartial, especially for those who have the fewest resources and least advocacy, and who have experienced structural inequality due to historical exclusion.  We hope readers will learn from the U.S. context and use that which is relevant for their nation’s context.

Author Biographies

Brian L Wright, Ph.D., Instruction & Curriculum Leadership College of Education The University of Memphis
Dr. Brian L. Wright is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Instruction and Curriculum Leadership in the College of Education at the University of Memphis, Memphis, TN. His research and publications examine the role of racial-ethnic identity in the school achievement of successful African-American boys/males in urban schools preK-12. His current research projects include High-quality Early Childhood Education Programs for all children, but especially those children living in poverty, Culturally Responsive and Responsible School Readiness for African American boys (preschool and kindergarten), Literacy and African American males, African American and Latino males as Early Childhood Teachers, and Teacher Identity Development.
Donna Y. Ford, Ph.D., College of Education and Human Development Peabody College Vanderbilt University
Dr. Donna Y. Ford is Professor of Education with joint appointments in the Department of Special Education and in the Department of Teaching and Learning. She conducts research primarily in gifted education and multicultural/urban education. Specifically, her work focuses on: (1) recruiting and retaining culturally different students in gifted education; (2) multicultural and urban education; (3) achievement gaps; (4) minority student achievement and underachievement; and (5) family involvement. She consults with school districts, educational, and legal organizations in the areas of gifted education, Advanced Placement, and multicultural/urban education. 
Jemimah L. Young, Ph.D., Teacher Education and Administration College of Education University of North Texas
Dr. Jemimah L. Young is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education and Administration. She actively engages in the preparation of pre-service teachers to meet the needs of all their students. Particular research interests include the investigation of alternative cultures and multicultural education. Her specialization includes culturally responsive teaching, achievement of children of color, urban learning environments, educational technology, as well as the sociology of education.
Published
2017-04-12