SEATTLE'S SCHOOL SYSTEM HAS BEGUN DISMANTLING ITS GIFTED PROGRAMS

Reason magazine|April 2020

SEATTLE'S SCHOOL SYSTEM HAS BEGUN DISMANTLING ITS GIFTED PROGRAMS
AS IF TO demonstrate why school choice matters, Seattle’s education system is purposefully dismantling a program to serve its gifted students at one of its schools— and completely ignoring parents’ wishes in the process.
SCOTT SHACKFORD

In January, the Seattle School Board voted to partner with a nonprofit to improve the curriculum of Washington Middle School. Unfortunately, these changes are coming at the expense of the Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) program, an extremely popular gifted program that lets students who score well on standardized tests participate in specialized classes in which they study material several grade levels higher than the ordinary curriculum.

The program has historically been dominated by white and Asian students, to the frustration of folks who want to see more diversity in such offerings. But rather than working to improve access for minorities, some school leaders—including Superintendent Denise Juneau— decided that the gifted classes are a form of “redlining,” which is the historical practice of not granting mortgages to people who live in minority communities. The Seattle Public School District thus wants to kill off the HCC program. The changes at Washington Middle School are just the start, district leaders hope.

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April 2020