Special Classes Help Gifted in Ghettos

OUTSIDE, there is a burned‐out tenement, a symbol of a devastated inner‐city neighborhood. Inside, a teacher is working on algebra problems with a class of gifted children, preparing them for entrance to specialized high schools.

Of the 16,800 pupils in District 7, 400 are in special progress classes. The district is about 68 percent Hispanic, 31 percent black and 1 percent “other,” meaning white and Oriental.

Madeline Golia, the coordinator of the district’s program for gifted and talented pups, said that admission to the special progress classes is based on several “flexible” standards.

2 Ideals at Issue

Many teachers and principals are convinced that there should be ability grouping for the good of the most able and the least able students. But often these same educators are uneasy over the racial isolation that often results. This has put some programs for bright students on shaky ground.

Classes for gifted children are being abolished, for example, at P.S. 152, down the block from Brooklyn College, because even though the school’s enrollment is becoming increasingly black and Puerto Rican, the gifted classes are disproportionately white.