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Schools should retain ‘gifted’ classes

We cannot legislate the distribution of intelligence, but we can help the disadvantaged to achieve more.

To the editor:

While Mayor deBlasio’s advisers in NYC suggest that gifted classes promote racial discrimination, removing gifted classes will inadvertently increase economic discrimination.

Students in families who cannot afford private schools (which might provide more individualized attention including those for gifted children) will slowly fall behind their potential in the public school system.

By college, they will not be candidates to be biochemists, physicists,  doctors or other professions that require rigorous academic study. As a result, those professions will be left to the rich. Income disparities will only become more acute and institutionalized. (In my middle school, there were no gifted programs so those who completed assignments quickly were left to correct papers for the teacher or draw on the mural until the class was over.)

An alternative is to reduce requirements somewhat for the gifted classes. Make sure that children of color have more than an equal chance be in those special classes and to learn from other gifted students. Provide meal allowances, computers and supplies for the disadvantaged to help them acculturate.

We cannot legislate the distribution of intelligence, but we can help the disadvantaged to achieve more. Doing the opposite (removing special education for the gifted) is very wrong-headed in the long run.

Sharon Gregory

Great Barrington

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