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Article
Equality, Race and Gifted Education: An egalitarian critique of admission to New York City's specialized high schools
Theory and Research in Education (2009)
  • Steven V. Mazie, Bard College
Abstract

Educational programs for gifted students face both philosophical and practical challenges from egalitarians. Some object that gifted schools inherently undermine a commitment to equality in education, while others observe that schools for talented students cater to privileged youth and effectively discriminate against disadvantaged minorities. This article taps into recent theorizing on equality to explore an illuminating case study: admissions policies at New York City’s so-called ‘specialized’ high schools. After dismissing less nuanced proposals on both ends of the spectrum, I draw upon Elizabeth Anderson’s theory of ‘democratic egalitarianism’ to argue that, while schools devoted to talented students could be seen as consistent with a commitment to equality, admissions policies for these schools must reach beyond meritocratic principles to ensure diversity in their student bodies. Racial and socioeconomic integration of social institutions, including schools – and elite schools perhaps most of all – should be a priority for those who care about democracy.

Keywords
  • Rawls,
  • luck egalitarianism,
  • egalitarianism,
  • Elizabeth Anderson,
  • equality of education,
  • gifted education,
  • meritocracy,
  • standardized tests
Publication Date
April, 2009
Citation Information
Steven V. Mazie. "Equality, Race and Gifted Education: An egalitarian critique of admission to New York City's specialized high schools" Theory and Research in Education Vol. 7 Iss. 1 (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/steven_mazie/2/