**Apparently the school board may vote on this issue as soon as Thursday, June 10th —contact your school board representative and let him/her know how you feel about the dumbing down of standards to enter the gifted program!**
With the new “GCS Local Academically or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) plan,” Guilford County Schools is heading further and further away from Martin Luther King’s dream of a society where people are not “judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”. That’s because the school system, in its infinite wisdom has decided that entry to advanced classes should not be based on a child’s ability to do advanced work (unless that child is white, “middle-class” and therefore inherently somehow more “privileged” than other children) but rather on the income level of his parents (as stated on the notoriously easily fakeable application for free lunches), the color of his skin, if he is “exceptional” (what I think used to be called learning disabled??) or if he is part of a group that is somehow or other “underrepresented” in the AIG program.
There are so many problems with this whole idea that it is almost impossible to know where to start critiquing it.
But, first, and, perhaps most importantly, what message is this sending the children who currently are ineligible for the AIG (now Advanced Learner) program but suddenly become so? Doesn’t anyone think those children will understand that the bar was lowered for them? The message that sends is that those children aren’t good enough to make it on their own and need lower standards to compete with the “advantaged” white, middle-class children. I’m about to throw up. That sets these kids up for a lifetime of questioning their own abilities which certainly isn’t going to lead to the self-motivation necessary to do well in school and later in life. Also, they will constantly be expecting that standards will be lowered for them. Wonderful.
Secondly, if the idea behind “diversity” in the classroom is to make people more comfortable with those of different backgrounds than themselves, well, a lowering of standards will cause that to backfire completely. How do you expect white children to gain an appreciation and respect for minority and otherwise “disadvantaged” children when they feel know they are getting special dispensation and, quite possibly, taking resources away from other, more qualified children. This breeds resentment, not respect and admiration.
Third, it has been shown that people who are placed in classes for which they are not prepared do worse than if they were placed appropriately.*
Guilford County Schools would like you to send comments to this email address: email@example.com or you can just contact your school board representative directly.
Does anyone remember the phrase “the soft bigotry of low expectations”? That’s what you’ve got right here.
*(A Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action in American Law Schools, Richard Sander, 2004, although I know there are others)