Citizen building: What’s the best way to help students soar? | #students | #parents

When Cathy Ware’s son was in the third grade, he struggled to stay engaged and was frequently disruptive.

But when he tested into Boston’s gifted and talented program, known as Advanced Work Class, in the fourth grade, his behavior problems vanished. No longer bored, he loved school.

As Ms. Ware sees it, the decades-old program is a lifesaver that ought to be expanded, so more students can benefit from its challenging curricula.

Why We Wrote This

Are we better off as a nation investing in a system where talented students can soar, or one in which everyone is educated equally? Can’t we have both? Boston offers a case study. Part 3 in a series.

“Kids who need to go farther, faster, that’s a special need, just like a kid who is having trouble reading,” she says.

But Edith Bazile, an education activist and former Boston Public Schools teacher, says AWC, which disproportionately enrolls white and Asian children, should be dismantled. She’s pushing district leaders to invest, instead, in Excellence for All, a newer competitor meant to bring rigorous coursework to whole classrooms of students, without entry test requirements.

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