Montgomery County Schools Try Scrapping ‘Gifted' Label

Two schools screen but don't label students

Two schools in Montgomery County are offering gifted and talented services without labeling the students.
The school system determines if second-grade students are gifted or not with aptitude tests, schoolwork, expert opinion and parents' wishes, the Washington Post reported. Two-fifths of students in the county are considered gifted, and some officials say that's not fair to those who are not labeled gifted.
White and Asian American students are much more likely to be labeled gifted than blacks and Hispanics, the Post reported.
Some county education officials believe the practice is arbitrary and unfair.
Regardless of screening or labeling, gifted instruction is open to all students, school officials said.
Two elementary schools in the Montgomery County Public Schools system -- Burning Tree and Georgian Forest elementary schools -- are participating in a pilot program that drops the labeling. Screening continues as before, but at the end, staff does not label students, according to the school board.
Georgian Forest Principal Aara Davis insists that every child is special so there's no need for the gifted and talented label.
The gifted and talented label is outdated and possibly unnecessary, according to Marty Creel, who directs the school system's department of enriched and innovative programs. If Montgomery County students, teachers and parents agree a student is ready for accelerated, enriched instruction, that student is allowed access, regardless of any label.
Some parents worry that dropping the gifted and talented tag would mean losing a distinguished title that separates their children from others, but Davis hasn't heard many such complaints.
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