Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Karen Miller

Subject Categories

Gifted Education


Underrepresentation, Gifted and Talented Program, Study, Teacher, Parent, Solutions


The education system has been under constant construction. What will make our students successful has driven education to make a number of changes, and therefore, over the years, the importance of differentiation evolved, mandating the education system to acknowledge that education should not be standardized and that all students learn and retain knowledge differently. As a result, a number of classroom environments and programs have been established to cater to these differences. One example of this is the establishment of the Gifted and Talented Program or Gifted Education in the education system.

Gifted Education provides identified students with a stimulating classroom environment that will meet their intellectual, pedagogical, and social needs. Gifted students are given opportunities of maneuvering challenges, pushing their thinking, limits, skills, existing abilities, and possible talents. However, despite the evident pedagogical advantages for these learners, over the years, Gifted Education and its program have evoked an ongoing and controversial debate. The constant question of how equitable or equal the program truly is, arises. Through close observation, the program undeniably appears to serve certain racial groups. The noticeable indications of racial disparities in our education system as a whole are also revealed through Gifted and Talented programs. As a result, many have argued that Gifted Education and its program should be removed entirely from the education system.

However, we have seen the debate of whether or not Gifted and Talented programs should be removed for many years, and regardless of the substantial evidence of inequity shown in the specific students being served, the program continues to exist and remain in the system; therefore, proving that the chances of eradicating the program are extremely low. Parents continue to apply to these programs, and competitively figure out ways to get a spot in the program as young as four and five (Kindergarten). Parents work towards obtaining what they believe is the best quality of education there is to offer in public schools––giving the impression that the Gifted and Talented program is a high-demand brand that parents really want or would want.

To support this claim of the Gifted and Talented program being a brand, I gathered responses through written questionnaires from parents of Gifted and Talented children in a public elementary school from grades 1-5 and current or former Gifted and Talented teachers from grades 4 and 5 to learn more about the perspectives of those who are involved in the program. In addition, as a current Gifted and Talented teacher of five consecutive years in the fourth grade of a public school, I have included challenging experiences that support my claim that the Gifted and Talented program has developed into a brand for parents. Through my study, I intend to educate on what Gifted Education is, its advantages for its respective learners, the demographic disparities shown in who are being served in the program, its injustice towards unidentified gifted students and students of communities who are at odds with the education system or lack the resources to have access to this program through data and firsthand perspectives of members within this program, and possible solutions that can improve the equity of Gifted and Talented programs or the education system as a whole.