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It is official. The Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program in Federal Way has run headlong into affirmative action. Race and gender cannot be considered for college admissions, but starting in 2004, they will be considered for third-graders wanting to get into GATE. The plan is to create politically correct classrooms full of racially mixed students from economically diverse backgrounds. It may be an improved learning environment special education and the most behaviorally challenged students will be removed but it will not make the students gifted or talented. The truly gifted and talented students will not be served well in or out of GATE, and they will leave the system. These are the very students we most want to retain in our public schools.
What would happen if we eliminated the politically correct assessments and race/gender balancing and selected instead those students who are actually academically gifted? We would have classrooms full of truly talented students who would be mostly female. And that is bad?
In addition, PTAs throughout the district would have the support of strong families committed to public schools.
Lets not fool ourselves; if we are not going to include the most gifted and talented students, lets change the name.