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Ethnic imbalances persist in gifted programs

Imbalances are not new in gifted programs across Colorado. Read more about the trend in this well-researched story by former Rocky Mountain News reporters Nancy Mitchell and Katie Kerwin McCrimmon on our sister site, Education News Colorado.

The reporters found that in 2004-05, white students made up 64 percent of statewide enrollment but accounted for 75 percent of all gifted students. Conversely, Hispanic students were 26 percent of statewide enrollment and 15 percent of gifted students.

Such imbalances persist in 2009-10 in some of the state’s largest districts, according to data obtained under the state’s Open Records Act by Education News Colorado.

For example, in Douglas County, Hispanic students were 9 percent of total enrollment and 5 percent of those identified as gifted. In Adams 12 Five Star, white students were 60 percent of total enrollment and 76 percent of gifted students.

And in Cherry Creek, black students were 15 percent of enrollment and 6 percent of gifted. Jefferson County Public Schools, the state’s largest district, declined to provide any data, saying staff would not be available until December to pull the numbers.

Denver Public Schools’ follows the trends – white and Asian students are overrepresented in gifted programs while Hispanic, Black and Native American students are underrepresented.

Hispanics were 54 percent of all DPS students in 2009-10 and 41 percent of all gifted students. Whites also were 41 percent of gifted students but make up just 25 percent of total enrollment.

Also, read about the surge in applications for gifted programs in DPS.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.

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