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Guest Editor's Comments.
Grantham, Tarek C.
Roeper Review; Winter2002, Vol. 24 Issue 2, p48, 2p
*GIFTED children -- Education
Comments on the issues associated with the representation of minority gifted
students in the U.S. Explanation behind the underrepresentation issues; Benefits
with the increase representation of ethnically diverse students; Suggestions in
overcoming issues of underrepresentation.
Academic Search Complete
Guest Editor's Comments
This special issue on underrepresentation is a response to the past and present need for students,
parents, educators, and policy makers to continue dialogue on equity and access among culturally
and ethnically diverse groups in gifted education. According to national reports from many of the
leading agencies and organizations across the nation, our field is encouraged not to ignore the
pervasive discrepancies that exist between the representation of ethnically diverse students in
schools and their representation in gifted programs. The trends in underrepresentation among
minority students (namely Hispanic Americans, American Indians, and African Americans) in gifted
programs from 1978 to 1992 averages 47% of the number of students enrolled in the total school
population (see the article by Ford, Harris, Tyson and Trotman in this issue for a detailed description
of data regarding underrepresented groups). At the school level, while the percentage discrepancy
by ethnicity within most districts is not very often publicly discussed, a common understanding
among many people in gilled education and those from underserved groups is that
underrepresentation is a true negative phenomenon.
How do we explain underrepresentation? We, typically prefer to discuss the problem in terms of
identification and assessment practices and procedures that tend to create a potpourri of barriers for
children and youth who are not White and middle class. A substantive research and literature base in
gifted education encourages our thinking and practice regarding definitions of giftedness,
assessment and measurement of giftedness, and guidelines to follow to identify or label gifted
individuals. This literature helps us to think about conceptualizations and processes, which provide
the foundation for gifted programming.
However, very rarely is the foundation for gifted programs and the issue of underrepresentation
examined with respect to social, historical, psychological, cultural, and political contexts, all of which
contribute to inequity among diverse groups. The call for manuscripts of this special issue of the