Tag Archives: Highly Capable Cohort

Why the NAACP Youth Council Is Demanding the Dismantling of HCC

by Nhi Tran, Foziya Reshid, Thao-Mi Le


Advanced learning programs first made an appearance in Seattle schools during the 1960s with the adoption of the “Policy for the Education of Able Learners.” The program was created with the intent of providing every student with an education that would “challenge [their] maximum ability and meet [their] individual needs.” However, after introducing school busing in the 1970s, the district used this program as an incentive to keep white parents who opposed racial integration from pulling their children out of Seattle schools. This program provided select white students with an education separate from their Black and Brown peers, perpetuating a segregated school system. 

Throughout Washington state, schools are required to provide “highly capable programs” for students they deem “gifted.” The state defines gifted as “students who perform or show potential for performing at significantly advanced academic levels when compared with others of their age, experiences, or environments.” The state allocates funds for each school district and, in return, school districts must abide by the state Legislature’s policies regarding basic education, which were redefined in 2011 to include programs for highly capable students. However, as you will see, these programs are built upon a foundation of white supremacy and constructed with the intent to perpetuate the segregation of schools on the basis of race and socioeconomic status. 

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OPINION: The Mythology of the Highly Capable

by Lola E. Peters

1988. His name was Tim. He graduated from Harvard at 16 and was working on his Masters. The law firm hired him to create a team and manage the transition from a mainframe system to desktop computing. Six months into his tenure everyone hated him, even the staff he had hired. Sure of his technical prowess and bolstered by decades of being the smartest person in the room, he was condescending to everyone. In his eyes, his solutions were always right, regardless of the actual outcomes. The human frailties and foibles of his colleagues and coworkers were liabilities to be fought against and conquered. Continue reading OPINION: The Mythology of the Highly Capable