It is my pleasure to share with you my conversation with Dr. Donna Ford, a mentor to me. I first was introduced to Dr. Ford through Facebook as part of a mentoring space she co-founded called R.A.C.E. (Research, Advocacy, Collaboration, Empowerment) Mentoring aimed at supporting graduate students and faculty/staff of color in higher education and P-12 settings. I am excited to share with you my conversation with Dr. Ford where we explore why there are so few students of color in gifted education.
Dena: Dr. Ford, I have been following and reading your work for years, and I am so excited and honored to connect with you. Could you start by sharing a glimpse into your journey to get to where you are now?
Donna: Thank you for this opportunity to share my journey and, hopefully, inspire others. I claim Cleveland, Ohio as my home, even though I was born near East St. Louis. My two sisters and I were raised in a single-family home headed by mother. She was (and is) unwavering in her commitment to education–expecting and demanding that we value education and achievement. Failure, low grades, and a poor work ethic were not options for us. I learned the priceless value of work ethic, self-efficacy, and racial pride early in life, and it continues to serve me personally as an adult, mother, and grandmother and professionally as a professor and unapologetic activist for educational equity. For the most part, I have defied racial, gender, and economic odds that too many allow others to evoke to define our promise and possibilities. Learning from my mother and other strong and resilient Black role models and mentors, I have, in many ways, achieved the elusive American Dream. My personal and professional journeys are guided by several philosophies: (1) my DNA is not my destiny; (2) my zip code is not my destiny; (3) a mind is a terrible thing to waste (United Negro College Fund); and (4) a mind is a terrible thing to erase.
Dena: Thank you for sharing your upbringing. You started by sharing that you hope you inspire others, and I want to confirm that you have definitely always inspired me. Speaking of inspiration, what inspired you to do the work and research that you do in gifted education?
Donna: I deliberated long and hard about whether to major in gifted education or special education as a doctoral student. Much of what I wanted to say was being told in special education by people of color. However, this was not so in gifted education where there were less than a handful of scholars of color. The scholarship of Drs. Alexinia Baldwin, Mary Frasier, and Ernesto Bernal resonated most with me.
There are three educational turning points that helped to define and solidify my career in gifted education and multicultural education.
1) I was an advanced student, who was grade skipped as a first grader. Given this positive experience, I was very familiar with the impact of high expectations for students of color who live in poverty.
2) I was an A Better Chance (ABC) student, who experienced racial and economic discrimination in a private school as a 10th grader. I learned the negative power of low expectations and deficit thinking grounded in race and income despite high achievement.
3) I was the mother of a gifted Black son who faced discrimination during testing and throughout schooling. I again learned the negative power of low expectations and deficit thinking grounded in race and income, despite high achievement and family involvement. This was the deal breaker. I devoted my education and professional life to desegregating gifted education; to recruiting and retaining Black students in gifted education. My concerns about test bias and fairness, the paucity of educators of color, and the lack of rigorous multicultural education were further affirmed, validated, and legitimized. This is when the above philosophies came to life–our DNA and income must not be used to limit our destinies by educators and families.
Dena: Indeed, our destinies should not be limited! Did I ever tell you that I was an ABC scholar as well? Like you, I faced struggles during my private school years. However, before attending private school, my mother tried to get my sisters and me into a specialized school in NYC, but our school administrator at the time refused to fill out the paperwork because she did not want to lose good students. I wonder how many times something similar has happened to other children like me–kids of color from an economically-deprived community, trying to get a better education. From all of your years of research, what is one finding that you would want people to know so that they could do something about inequity in education?
Donna: This is a tough question to answer because I see so much wrong with education overall and gifted education, in particular. We need to go beyond educational reform; we need a revolution in education. When it comes to gifted education, over 250,000 more Black students and over 250,000 more Hispanic students should be identified as gifted. Combined, this means over a half million Black and Latino students are not accessing gifted education and, hence, are being both misidentified and miseducated.
A number of variables, mostly deficit thinking and biases by educators and decision makers, account for the grave and inequitable under-representation of Black and Hispanic students in gifted education (and Advanced Placement classes). In almost all districts, the first step to being screened for gifted education is teacher referrals (rather than universal screening). Educators are the key gatekeepers, who deny access to gifted education for Black and Hispanic students–similar to your own experience. The demographics of gifted education will not change without extensive training among all educators to be culturally competent; this entails anti-racist education and accountability. Notions of equality must be replaced with equity.
Dena: People often confuse equity with equality. Equality is about giving folks the same thing, but not everyone needs the same thing. Some people come to school needing more because of systemic oppression. Equity is about fairness and about giving people what they need to thrive. As a nation, I think we need to be better about making that a reality. Now, Dr. Ford, if you could change one thing about how schooling in our nation happens, what would you change?
Donna: I want to see so much changed, and undergirding all is a sense of urgency and commitment to preparing educators to be culturally competent. Doing so requires collaboration among higher education professionals, P-12 educators, and families. All must be on one accord, devoted to equity and accountability.
Dena: Given what you just shared, what advice would you give a teacher going into a classroom with mostly students of color?
Donna: I strongly advise teachers to (1) self-reflect in order to recognize and check their racial biases; (2) demand professional development training to become culturally competent; (3) demand that higher education/teacher colleges have courses and degrees focused on culture, racism, classism, etc.; and (4) proactive at seeking all opportunities to become culturally responsive professionals, which includes immersing oneself in the communities of students.
Dena: Cultural competency allows for educators to ensure that their students are not subject to the negative outcomes of their implicit bias. Implicit bias dictates disciplinary practices, teacher expectations, and what content is taught. I also think that our teaching force should be stewards of equity–combating inequity when they see it show up in practices and policies at every opportunity. Now, to conclude our conversation, I’ll ask you this: if you had to list three to five steps that we can take to get closer to equity in education, what would you list?
I have alluded to some of this already in our conversation, but to say it concisely, here are the steps that get us closer to equity in education:
1) Dedication to helping students of color access gifted education
2) Providing substantive for educators to become culturally competent
3) Studying and interrogating gifted education data, policies and procedures for racial biases
4) Collaborating and empowering families of color
5) Working with students of color to promote racial and academic pride
Dena: Thank you so much for your time–and for all that you do to fight for equity in education.
- Tearjerking moment colorblind student first sees green and red after his classmates and teacher give him corrective glasses as a surprise gift
- Tastemaker: Through the Iconoclast Dinner Experience, Lezli Levene Harvell Gives the Gift of a Spelman Education
- What If Your Child Is Intellectually Gifted, High-Ability?
- Homeless high school student transforms life, buys three homes, and earns master's degree
- The 2014 Best & Worst Sex List
- Ethnic Disparities in New York's Specialized High Schools
- The best TV of 2019 so far
- 'Harriet' redefines the history most of us learned about slavery
- Renel Brooks-Moon was born for this; SF Giants announcer has her father’s voice
- Project Bread Honors Pam Eddinger for Social Justice Work
- Recognizing Dyslexia May Prevent Low Self-Esteem and Anxiety
- The New Wild: Learning from the Savannah River
- The 232nd Birthday of the Constitution Celebrated September 21st
- 'This Week' Transcript: Rep. Paul Ryan and Rep. Chris Van Hollen
- Native American playwright Larissa FastHorse is taking down white wokeness
- City Hall weddings: Public displays of devotion
- A region at the crossroads: A black candidate's historic Senate run begins in the Mississippi Delta
- These 50+ Brands Are Celebrating Pride by Giving Back to the LGBT Community
- Teachers reveal how much they're spending on classroom supplies, including books and furniture
- Knowledge Is Power, in Community and Alone
|Why Are Women So Strange & Men So Weird? (check at Amazon)||5.0|
|Mercury Living Presence - You Are There - The True Story of a Legendary Label (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Screw 32 | Why Are We So F-Cked Up?[LIMITED EDITION RED VINYL] | 7 (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are You So Quiet (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|I Love You, but Why Are We So Different?: Making the Most of Personality Differences in Your Marriage (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are You So Sad?: A Novel (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Left-Handed Kids: Why Are They So Different (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Students of Color and the Achievement Gap: Systemic Challenges, Systemic Transformations (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Dear God Kids 2 Book Set ~ Why Are There So Many Stars? & Thank You For Sharing with Me, When I Share with You! (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|It's Not Complicated! What I Know for Sure About Helping Our Students of Color Become Successful Readers (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Memoirs of a Sleepless Mind: Why are there left-handed water fountains? (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are You So Scared?: A Child's Book about Parents with Ptsd (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform (check at Amazon)||4.8|
|You Are My Sunshine: A Medley of Colorful Quilts for Kids (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN TO ME? (Sesame Street Start-To-Read Books) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Twice-Exceptional and Special Populations of Gifted Students (Essential Readings in Gifted Education Series) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Where Are My Slippers?: A Book of Colors (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why, Daddy, Why Are there Stars in the Sky? (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Men of Color in Higher Education: New Foundations for Developing Models for Success (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Color Problems: a Practical Manual for the Lay Student of Color (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are There No Cats In The Bible?: And Other Fascinating Facts to Expand Your Knowledge of the Bible (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Mommy, Why are There Colors in the Sky? (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Yes, You Can!: Advice for Teachers Who Want a Great Start and a Great Finish With Their Students of Color (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|If There's a God, Why Are There Atheists? (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Social-Emotional Curriculum with Gifted and Talented Students (Critical Issues in Gifted Education) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are You So Sad: A Child's Book about Parental Depression (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are There No Elephants in the Jungle? (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are You So Fat?: The Book of Cricket's Best Ever Sledges (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are You So Strong, Stanley? Stanley Shares with His Friend Walter His Secret to Being Healthy, Happy, and Strong (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|If there is a God, why are there atheists?: A surprising look at the psychology of atheism (Dimension books) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|The Plight of Students of Color at Predominantly White Institutions: A Critical Reader (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Lord Why Is There so Much Pain in the Church $28.98 (check at Amazon)||5.0|
|Leaders of Color in Higher Education: Unrecognized Triumphs in Harsh Institutions (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|If God is Good, Why is there so much Suffering and Pain? (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are Boys So Weird (Tales from Third Grade) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are Women So Angry?: A Man's Perspective (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Q&A: Why Are There More Women Than Men? And Other Questions That Need Answers (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Conversations with Ed: Waiting for Forgetfulness: Why Are We So Afraid of Alzheimer's Disease? (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|A Menu of Options for Grouping Gifted Students (Practical Strategies in Gifted Education) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Successful Strategies for Twice-Exceptional Students (Practical Strategies in Gifted Education) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Transforming the First Year of College for Students of Color (First-Year Experience Monograph No. 38) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are There So Many Banking Crises?: The Politics and Policy of Bank Regulation (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: A Psychologist Explains the Development of Racial Identity (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are Catholics So Concerned about Sin?: More Answers to Puzzling Questions about the Catholic Church (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Are Americans So Afraid?: Is It Too Late for Americans to Save America (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Building Bridges for Women of Color in Higher Education: A Practical Guide to Success (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why are They So Weird?: What's Really Going on in a Teenager's Brain (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Running from the Law: Why Are Good Lawyers Getting Out of the Legal Profession (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Why Is There So Much Trouble In Life? 14 Days of Parables With Jesus (14 Days Bible Studies) (check at Amazon)||0.0|
|Adventures of Libby Nickel: Why are there colors? (check at Amazon)||0.0|
Why Are There So Few Students of Color in Gifted Education? have 2358 words, post on www.psychologytoday.com at April 16, 2018. This is cached page on USA Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.