Lincoln Middle School near San Diego has eliminated separate classes for gifted students in response to complaints by parents who charged the set-up segregated white and Hispanic students. School officials hope mixed classes will raise test scores. “Many parents of Latino students and English-learners said they supported the change because their children would be forced to excel,” reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. In other words, they think mainstream classes set lower expectations and watered down the curriculum.

Lincoln’s white students, who make up 35 percent of enrollment, score 785 on the state’s Academic Performance Index; Hispanic students, who make up 57 percent, average 577, a huge achievement gap.

The school is classified as needing improvement under NCLB; students can transfer to other schools. Of 1,334 students, 192 have asked to transfer. Not counting students who are leaving for high school, that’s more than 20 percent of enrollment. School officials won’t say how many were among 231 GATE students, but it’s a fair guess that test scores will be way down next year.

About Joanne


  1. In other words, they think mainstream classes set lower expectations and watered down the curriculum.

    If the schools holds the mainstream kids to these standard with the GATE kids in separate classes, what makes anyone think that they’ll hold the mainstream kids to any higher standards just because they’re in the same room with the GATE kids?

  2. Quincy,

    Good question. The standards may lower in order to dodge potential charges of “racism.” And that’s not the only problem. When I sent Joanne the link to this story last night, I asked,

    “I wonder how many non-GATE students will be pushed into the honors classes, either by their own choice or by parental pressure. Even if such students do get in, how many will last – and for how long? Is this really more of a symbolic victory against the (perceived as white?) GATE program (i.e., elitism) than a genuine attempt to improve opportunities for children? Is the latter an excuse for the former?

    “When I was a gifted program student at my public elementary school in Hawaii (ranked as “failing” under NCLB – it has a lot of non-English speaking students), there was no interest – much less a movement – to get more students into the gifted program. Are there really that many parents who feel [their children are] left out, or is something else going on?”

  3. SuperSub says:

    The parents’ complaints have less to do with any desire to see their children do better and more to do with competitiveness… if their children are unable to make the grade for the gifted classes, then no one else should be allowed to do it.

  4. Supersub: Right, only I wonder how hard the teachers had to look to find parents that felt that way. In my experience (which did not include parents from a Hispanic culture), it’s mostly leftist Professors of Education and teachers unduly influenced by them that believe in No Kids Getting Ahead.

  5. And I forgot the worst group of all: administrators.

  6. Mr. Davis says:

    No Child Left Behind is the appropriate position for government schools to take. Every citizen must get equal treatment and service. It will lead to more actions like this. More parents, particularly those of gifted, at least in the parents’ eyes, will conclude that their budding Einstein is being ill served. They will be correct, because the objective is to leave no child behind. As a result, No Child Gets Ahead. Support for public education will begin to erode in another segment of society. This will continue until vouchers or a similar newutral choice program is implemented. Train wreck!

  7. To Amritas’ speculation wheather there
    is something else going on there;
    probably yes. Probably someone got a
    wild hair. I can only gleam from the
    posters “We want our voices to be heard
    now!” that some people in attendance
    didn’t know what they were protesting.

    The typical solution to avoid jealousy
    that results from GATE programs is to
    discontinue them.

  8. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    Once again, people screaming ‘racism’ and ‘segregation’ over the achievement gap. Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe just wrote an insightful column on this issue. Check him out at He summarizes this issue as a VALUES and EFFORT problem, not institutional racism. Asians are only about 4% of the U.S. population, yet they academically outperform other minority groups and whites, all the way to the university level. Why? It’s the values, stupid. Pick any country of origin: China, Japan, S. Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, etc….the parents are far more likely to demand high academic achievement and effort spent on such things as homework. The same is true for Jewish students, whether Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or Reconstructionist. Despite millenia of prejudice, those two groups are less likely to use societal prejudice as an excuse for underachieving. Academic achievement and advancement are not seen as selling out or ‘acting white’. Hispanics and Blacks who engage in playing the race/ ethnicity card should look within. There will always be some sort of prejudice—either a person sees himself as a victim, or they don’t. ‘Nuff said.

  9. J_Crater says:

    Next there will be complaints of “educational gentrification” as the previously “non-gifted” top performers are dropped to the second and third quints of their classes.

  10. elfcharm says:

    I really, really hate Rand…but…”Who is John Galt?”
    What does she say about those who are jealous of others success? Isn’t it something to the order of the “downtrodden” not wanting your money, they want you to lose it. they don’t want your success, they want you to fail…yadda yadda yadda?
    Truthfully, I feel bad for the gifted students, they are the ones losing here. Further, I am having trouble finding them at the moment, but aren’t there some reputable statistics out there, that say Gifted Students are more likely to drop out if they aren’t allowed to be in a more challenging program?

    sorry for being incomprehensable, I exercised my right as a sailor last night, and am just waking up. (i.e. i’m hung over)