LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A recent study done by The Education Trust looks at the representation of minority students in advanced school courses throughout the country. Education experts say the data shows that Kentucky isn't serving its African American and Latino students at the level they should.
"The reports calls Kentucky out as being third from the bottom in the nation when it comes to African American students having access to gifted and talented programs and participating in gifted and talented programs,” said Brigitte Blom Ramsey, the president and CEO of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, a nonprofit that looks at education excellence in the state.
Gifted and talented programs start in elementary school and where you're placed in grade school is a gateway toward advanced courses in middle and high schools.
That's why Ramsey says the under-representation of minority students is a huge concern in Kentucky.
"The report says, basically: Kentucky, you need to double the number of African American students in gifted and talented programs for them to be represented appropriately,” said Ramsey.
Here's a breakdown of data from the study:
- There are 31 African American students enrolled in gifted and talented programs for every 100 African American students who would need to be enrolled for the state to achieve fair representation. Kentucky ranks third worst behind Ohio and Pennsylvania.
- There are 55 Latino students enrolled in gifted and talented programs in elementary school for every 100 Latino students who would need to be enrolled for the state to achieve fair representation.
- For high school, there are 63 African American students enrolled in AP courses for every 100 African American students and 90 Latino students enrolled in AP courses for every 100 who would need to be enrolled for the state to achieve fair representation.
"It says that we don't hold the same expectations for all of our students and even if we do hold the same expectations, we're not providing the right support for all of our students to achieve at high levels,” said Ramsey.
Ramsey says the state can improve by investing in early childhood education and supporting children when they're younger to get them on the path toward success. This includes making sure parents and community organizations know the available opportunities for students.
"Each one of our schools and districts need to start looking at their numbers,” said Ramsey. “Do they have adequate representation of African American students, of Latino students, of students from poor backgrounds, in gifted and talented programs, in eighth grade algebra, in advanced placement classes. And if they don’t, they need to start to ask 'why?'"
The report and data can found here.