Friday, August 7, 2009
Lake Wobegon of Texas
"A record number of Houston ISD students are now classified as 'gifted and talented' [G&T]--an increase spurred by changes in how the school district tests and enrolls children in so-called Vanguard programs. Nearly 28,300 HISD students earned entrance into the popular program by spring 2009, up more than 2,000 students from 2007. ... The first--and most cosmetic of the recommendations enacted--was to call all [G&T] programs by the prestigious Vanguard name. ... HISD now needs to make sure students across the district are receiving high-quality education and specialized attention once they're given the prestigious label, they said. ... 'We need to look at this group just like we look at every group to make sure they are academically growing so their parents feel good about their choice of public school,' [said school board member Diane Johnson]. Currently, HISD's Vanguard program is serving a disproportionate percentage of white students. More than 26 percent of Vanguard students are white, who make up just 8 percent on the overall district. ... A generous 14 percent of HISD students have earned the gifted label based on standardized testing and other qualifiers. ... Rock Courtright, gifted education specialist for Duke Unversity's Talent Identification Program, said ... Children at all intelligence levels are entitled to make a year's worth of progress during the academic term", my emphasis, Jennifer Radcliffe at the Houston Chronicle, 26 July 2009, link:
With apologies to Richard Nixon, we are all gifted now. The Bayou City is Lake Wobegon, Texas. HISD's 2008 ethnic composition was: 61.0% Hispanic, 27.7% African American and 11.3% other. 12.5% of HISD's 2008 students, 24,986 of 200,225 were in G&T programs. How? I estimate 2008's average HISD student IQ was: 87; only about 17% exceed 100, 1.4% exceed 120. Are 12.5% of HISD's 2008 students G&T? HISD's G&T program looks like a sham. "Other qualifiers", like? Would being Sonia Sotomayor's BFF qualify?