Friday, June 23, 2017

Access/Exposure/Opportunity


In the fall of 2015, I began teaching an engineering class in the gifted and talented program at a local university. My students were a small group of motivated kindergarten and first graders, none of whom were Black or Hispanic; and there was only one female. I loved teaching this class, and I appreciated how the students (and their parents) were involved and engaged, but still in the back of my mind, I wondered where the Black and Hispanic children were.

 About halfway through the semester, it occurred to me that I should find out how much the tuition was for the program. I learned students could take up to five courses per weekend if they could afford the $300-plus per course fee. And there it was: Perhaps the expensive tuition was a barrier for a significant portion of Black and Hispanic students who were identified as gifted?

When I talk about access, I'm talking about students gaining entry to programs and activities, in school and out of school, that will enrich their growth and development as thinkers and learners. Yes, I said in school, because I know that more than a few children of color who should be identified as gifted don't get identified as gifted, and therefore do not have access to the programs that are mandated to meet their needs. 

 And like Frost said, way leads on to way, meaning that without access there is minimal exposure which leads to limited opportunities. What is to be done about this? This is where I'm left scratching my head as I ponder this conundrum. I know that the new math (access+exposure+opportunity =possibility) is a formula for equitable education, but how do we apply it?
Post a Comment