San Diego’s small Seminar classes for “severely gifted” students may grow larger to save money, writes Emily Alpert of Voice of San Diego. The program, started in 1951 for very smart kids who didn’t fit in with mainstream students disproportionately serves affluent white and Asian-American students.
“It doesn’t seem very fair” to give gifted students a separate, smaller class, said Richard Barrera, a new school board member who was put in separate, gifted classes in his youth. “It’s like we’re saying, ‘The school system is really screwed up. Most of our kids we’ve already written off. But these few kids have a chance.’
Seminar classes are limited to 23 students, while regular classes may have 32 students. Raising the Seminar limit to 25 would save about a million dollars.
Though the test is supposed to identify students in the 99.9 percentile, 6 percent of students qualify for Seminar. Overall, San Diego identifies 20 percent of students as gifted, much higher than other districts.