Seattle closes gifted schools citing too many White, Asian kids; Black parents who oppose called ‘tokens’

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) is phasing out a special program for gifted students to make education in the left-wing district more “equitable.”

The problem with Seattle’s Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) program was that it was too white, racial grievance mongers had complained.

“For decades, highly capable programs across the country, like SPS’, served a small number of Black, Latino, Indigenous, Alaskan and Pacific Islander and low-income students and taught more white and Asian students,” according to The Seattle Times.

And so in its place, SPS intends to offer “a whole-classroom model where all students are in the same classroom and the teacher individualizes learning plans for each student,” the Times notes.

There’s just one problem: Most parents, including black ones, support HCC and want it to remain in effect.

Indeed, during one school board meeting, a black father spoke out about how the program had helped his son.

“My request is that you please consider the disservice you would be doing to the minorities that are already in the HCC program,” he said, according to The Stranger. “The program does more for black children, particularly black boys, than it does for their peers.”

In response, then-board director Chandra Hampson, a white woman, accused the father and other minority parents of being “tokenized” and used by white parents.

The parents were outraged.

“It’s ridiculous for board members to say that we are being ‘tokenized,'” a black HCC parent told The Stranger. “We have brains. We have minds of our own. We are not being used by anyone. Chandra Hampson should be embarrassed for saying that.”

Regarding the new program, parents worry that it’ll wind up failing both gifted students who need to be challenged and non-gifted students who need specialized help.

“It seems to me that kids on maybe both extremes are going to be underserved,” parent Erika Ruberry told the Times.

Parent Karen Stukovsky, who reportedly has three students in SPS, concurred.

“You have some kids who can barely read and some kids who are reading ‘Harry Potter’ in first grade or kindergarten. How are you going to not only get those kids up to grade level and also challenge those kids who are already way above grade level?” she asked.

Teachers meanwhile are worried as well about a lack of resources.

“[T]he problem with this new [program], at least from what teachers anonymously [said], is that SPS does not give them any additional resources,” according to local station KOMO.

“No extra time, no aid in the classroom, no curriculum help, and no extra compensation to come up with these additional lesson plans for every level of learning in a single classroom,” the station reported Monday.

“I was a classroom teacher for 14 years,” Reby Parsley of the Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted told the outlet. “It’s really hard to provide services to students when you have a group of kindergartners learning phonics and then you have a kindergarten that’s like fluently reading Harry Potter.”

The point is that different students have different needs, and expecting one teacher to meet every single student’s needs is outrageous, as noted by local journalist Jason Rantz.

“Under the model, classrooms will include students of all different learning abilities. A teacher is supposed to address each group of students, in classrooms with 20-30 students, with no additional resources and limited new training,” he wrote in a recent post for local news radio station KTTH.

“How does a teacher create individualized programs for so many students with disparate needs? It’s not likely that a teacher can help a student who can barely read while simultaneously challenging a classmate who is reading two advanced books a week,” he added.

The Times for its part described how these “equitable” classrooms function.

“On a recent day in a first grade classroom, seven advanced learners sat on the floor reading silently on their iPads,” the description reads. “Several others wrote independently at their desks. A special education student wrote with a paraprofessional aide at their side. The rest of the class sat in a front corner of the classroom while the teacher read a book out loud.”

Vivek Saxena


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