NEWS & ANALYSIS

Tennessee Rep. Calls for Diversity Programs, Funding in All State Departments of Education


Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen introduced a bill this week that would increase diversity in Advanced Placement and Gifted and Talented Elementary classes. 

Cohen said the bill would use Elementary and Secondary Education Act funding to create equity offices in state departments of education to help with the diversity programs, as reported by The Star. 

“The Diversity Advancements in Accelerated Learning Programs Act would encourage school districts to allocate funding for the creation of district-wide equity offices in order to help develop programs, and promote the use of a universal screening process, to improve diversity in the applicant pool for GT and AP courses. Once established, these equity offices would help address other inequalities by raising student academic achievement, improving the fairness of screening processes, and fairly determining eligibility for accelerated learning programs,” Cohen said.

“In pilot programs nationwide, a shift to a universal screening process to identify eligible students for accelerated learning programs has been shown to increase access to more rigorous instruction through GT programs for students who may have otherwise been overlooked by the teacher recommendation process. A recent study by Vanderbilt University found that black and ethnically marginalized students are far less likely to be placed in gifted programs, even if they have the same test scores as their white peers, and especially if their teacher is white, under the Teacher Recommendation Screening process.”