The “Gifted Gap” Was Already Growing Before the Pandemic

Writing for the Fordham Institute, Chris Yalumaby reviews the “gifted gap” between low- and high-income students and the compounding effects of the Coronavirus pandemic. Excerpts from the piece appear below:

The Covid-19 pandemic has further exposed the inequities that have long existed in the K-12 education system. School closures due to the outbreak are particularly hurting low-income families and communities, and will likely exacerbate existing academic gaps, including the “gifted gap”- the difference in participation in gifted programs between low-income higher achievers and their more affluent peers. The longer schools remain closed and states struggle to devise re-opening plans, the greater the potential harm to bright students from low-income backgrounds.

In 2018, when Is there a Gifted Gap? was first published, the gap was already significant. Researchers found that high-achieving students in low-poverty schools participated in gifted programs at twice the rate of students in high-poverty schools. And in a recently published article, researchers found that the gaps have been growing. Between 2012 and 2016, gifted participation in affluent schools increased by 6.7 percent, while only increasing by 3.6 percent in their less affluent counterparts. Middle-poverty schools saw an overall decline in gifted participation as well.

Given our current pandemic, it is perhaps more important now than ever that schools cultivate and nurture homegrown talents of all students, including high achievers. To prepare for the next global pandemic, we must also prepare the next brightest medical doctors, scientists, engineers, and policymakers.  

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For Is there a Gifted Gap? see