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seattle public schools replacing gifted students program to be more inclusive citing diversity concerns

Seattle public schools replacing gifted students program to be more ‘inclusive,’ citing diversity concerns

Seattle Public Schools is replacing its program for gifted students with a more “inclusive” and “equitable” program in an ongoing trend of states scrapping honors classes in the name of diversity. SPS began phasing out its Highly Capable Cohort (HCC) schools and classrooms for advanced learners in the 2021-22 school year, claiming the program did not address racial inequalities. Its replacement, called the Highly Capable Neighborhood School Model, will be available in every school by the 2024-25 school year, SPS said. Instead of separate classrooms and schools for gifted students, all students will remain together in the same classroom and the teacher will individualize learning plans for each student. The district announced the changes will “address historical inequity” and include “three tiers of service for students depending on individual needs, delivered in a way that honors individual cultures and backgrounds.” STOP PUNISHING GIFTED STUDENTS: WAR ON MERIT, HONORS PROGRAMS IS HURTING BLACK CHILDREN, OTHERS Parents and teachers critical of the program told The Seattle Times that they fear gifted students will get overlooked in the new model. They also raised concerns it puts an additional burden on teachers to create personalized lesson plans for as many as 20 or 30 students. However, advocates of the changes say the new model will address loopholes which left some students behind, such as families who couldn’t make the Saturday testing into the program because of transportation challenges. Fox News previously reported that the school district’s gifted program was among the least diverse in the country. “In the 2022-23 school year, 52% of highly capable students at SPS were White, 16% were Asian, and 3.4% were Black,” according to the Seattle Times’ analysis of school data. PARENTS SPEAK OUT AGAINST SCHOOL CANCELING HONORS CLASSES IN THE NAME OF EQUITY: ‘IT’S NOT WORKING’ The new program will better serve students who have been “historically excluded” from school opportunities, SPS argued. “The program is not going away, it’s getting better. It will be more inclusive, equitable, and culturally sensitive. In particular, students who have been historically excluded will now have the same opportunities for services as every other student and get the support and enrichment they need to grow,” the district announced on its website. Seattle isn’t the only city to make changes to or eliminate its offerings for gifted students due to diversity concerns. Districts in Virginia, Rhode Island, New York and California have made national headlines in the past few years for eliminating honors classes or awards in the name of racial equity. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

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