(Don't comment about) who attends gifted programs
January 13, 2013 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Gifted and talented on the Upper West Side. The New York Times provides a sequel to its February 2012 story on the racial demographics of elite test-admission high school Stuyvesant with reporting on the demographics of kindergarten-entry elementary gifted programs, focusing on an Upper West Side classroom program, typical of those which serve kids who test as gifted but not high enough to qualify for the dedicated gifted elementary campuses and schools-within-schools. The Stuyvesant story had only 223 published comments because the editors turned off commenting in record time, well before the story appeared in print -- and this time around no comments are allowed at all.
posted by MattD (12 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Framing this with the "they've closed the comments" thing is pre-dooming the discussion, it seems; if the report is interesting on its own maybe try again tomorrow without that framing? -- LobsterMitten



 
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posted by benzenedream at 8:09 AM on January 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Since I can't comment on the article: I will disclose this here: back in the day, there was a research institute which studied various forms of intelligence. The money-maker (because grants are tough to come by these days) was in "consultations": for several hundred dollars a pop (just to start), you could pay to have your child, who was "underperforming" (i.e. NOT getting A's or on the G/T tract) certified as "differently gifted." Not learning disabled, mind you...that's not what this was. "Differently gifted." Because there is a social class that really does live in Lake Woebegon, where all the children MUST be better than average. (Leaving behind the kids whose parents can't even afford basic tutoring and may not know what an IEP is, much less how to navigate the system to demand one.) I also recently heard another parent describe how one of his kids went from reading far below grade level, to reading two grade levels above, due to (demanded upon) specialized interventions, instead of being labeled as special ed track for the rest of elementary school. This was an African-American family....where both parents had advanced degrees and make a combined six figures per year.
posted by availablelight at 8:10 AM on January 13, 2013


Maybe I'm naive but can someone explain in plain English (not a knowing wink) why exactly the Times turned off comments the first time and has blocked them this time? I browsed through the comments on the first article and didn't see anything terrible. It's definitely a complex and fraught subject but I wasn't aware the Times even had a policy of selectively turning comments on and off, and it's not clear to me what their motivation is for doing it here.
posted by pete_22 at 8:29 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm obviously not on the gifted track because it's not clear to me WHY they disabled the comments.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:30 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is it just that lots of Times readers are helicopter parents in NYC whose kids are in these gifted classes and they're inclined to be angry and defensive about it?
posted by pete_22 at 8:31 AM on January 13, 2013


pete_22 : Maybe I'm naive but can someone explain in plain English (not a knowing wink) why exactly the Times turned off comments the first time and has blocked them this time?

For the same reason benzenedream expected this thread to die an early death - We as a society feel somewhat uncomfortable when we try to understand why we "believe" race means nothing, yet no matter how you slice the pie, you have some races always at the top of the scale, and some always at the bottom.

This leads people to argue along unproductive lines, as well as serving as a sort of feeding call to the worst of the trolls. Oddly enough, in this case you have a lot of fairly on-topic and polite commentary, but it still asks questions we don't want to (or can't) answer. I also tend to suspect the 223 we see remaining for posterity started as over a thousand with most of them deleted (unless someone knows the NYT doesn't censor comments).
posted by pla at 8:35 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm with Pete. The NYT probably expected the middle-class racists to come out in force.

But also, newspapers' comment sections in general are terrible, particularly under stories about race relations. I wouldn't expect the New York Times's comments to be different, however genteel an audience the paper wants.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:36 AM on January 13, 2013


I browsed through the comments on the first article and didn't see anything terrible. It's definitely a complex and fraught subject but I wasn't aware the Times even had a policy of selectively turning comments on and off, and it's not clear to me what their motivation is for doing it here.

The NYTimes actually doesn't have commenting on the vast majority of their articles and it's sometimes applied after they get posted, so without some sort of statement from the NYTimes that this was a deliberate act, it seems a little premature to frame it like this.
posted by jetlagaddict at 8:37 AM on January 13, 2013


Is it just that lots of Times readers are helicopter parents in NYC whose kids are in these gifted classes and they're inclined to be angry and defensive about it?

It's probably a combination of that and the fact that this is a topic that tends to unearth incredible amounts of casual racism in otherwise nice liberal people.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:37 AM on January 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not to pick at your diction, but it's interesting how on the receiving end, racism is never casual.
posted by polymodus at 8:44 AM on January 13, 2013


We as a society feel somewhat uncomfortable when we try to understand why we "believe" race means nothing, yet no matter how you slice the pie, you have some races always at the top of the scale, and some always at the bottom.

We also like to project. I mean, as a society.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 8:49 AM on January 13, 2013


But one afternoon at the school, Ms. Lindner, the fifth-grade teacher, said she was “always surprised” when she saw more than two or three white children in her general education classes.

As a parent herself, and a resident of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, she said, “there’s no way I’d put my kid in a general-education class here, no way, because it’s right next to the project and all the kids in general education come from the projects.”


I hope they fire that teacher.
posted by schroedinger at 9:03 AM on January 13, 2013


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