by Jasmine M. Pulido
In this first of a three-part series, Jasmine M. Pulido explores Seattle Public School District’s programs for children designated as gifted.
As of May 10, 2021, my 8-year-old daughter became eligible for the Highly Capable Cohort (HCC). This feels unsettling considering that a week prior an article by Seattle’s NAACP Youth Council came out demanding dismantling of the program citing it as racist, segregated, and grossly inequitable.
They’re not the only ones. In 2019 former Garfield High School student Azure Savage, in their book, You Failed Us: Students of Color Talk Seattle Schools, called out the Seattle Public School District (SPS) for its racist practices, including preferential treatment by teachers, racially segregated classrooms, and discipline practices disproportionately applied based on race. Savage goes into great detail to break down their personal experiences from elementary through high school in HCC, interspersing their narrative with quotes from other SPS students of color. Nationwide, the debate about programs like HCC has been under intense criticism, especially in the last couple years, for the exact reasons Savage and the NAACP Youth Council have so clearly outlined in their writing.
As a former student of this same national program, portions of Savage’s text like, “When I look around the classroom and see that I’m the only student of color there, it’s common for me to not try as hard because the possibility of succeeding seems slim,” reminded me of what it was like to be the only student of color in my “seminar” classes. At almost 40 years old, I’m still trying to internally dismantle the ways achieving has been tied to my self-worth.
Continue reading My Child of Color Is ‘Highly Capable.’ Now What? — Part 1