Research Proposal: Gifted and Talented

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Research Question:

How has gifted and talented  (G&T) programming transformed from the implementation of the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Education Act of 1988 to  present day? What are some of the benefits and critiques  of G&T programs in urban cities like NYC?


Gifted individuals are those who demonstrate outstanding levels of aptitude (defined as an exceptional ability to reason and learn) or competence (documented performance or achievement in top 10% or rarer) in one or more domains.  Domains include any structured area of activity with its own symbol system (e.g., mathematics, music, language) and/or set of sensorimotor skills (e.g., painting, dance, sports).” (

According to the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC),  Gifted and Talented programs have existed in some form since the early 19th century ( As explained in the definition above, gifted students are those who are considered to be exceptionally skilled in one or more academic or extracurricular  areas.  In 1988, the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Act was passed to create the NAGC and to ensure that annual research on the state of G&T education is conducted and provide monetary grants. However, the nature and scope of G &T programs have changed immensely due to 1) there is no nationwide mandate for all public schools to have special G &T programming 2)budget cuts to spending on existing G & T programs and 3)new assessment practices for giftedness. With all of this in mind, it is important to look at how G & T programming has evolved from 1988 to present day. In 1988, G &T programs were at the forefront of education  reform due to the publication of the 1983 report A Nation At Risk ( However, this no longer seems to be the case in a lot of states.  What happens to the students who are gifted in schools that do not offer accelerated learning opportunities? Especially in this new movement of alternative, charter/magnet schools, how have these programs changed? I would like to know if gifted students in regular classes are negatively impacted by the decrease in programming.

Research has proven that some students  benefit greatly from G &T programming. However, the assessments of G & T programs also tend to be somewhat exclusive. With my second research question, I plan on looking at how students in urban areas are reached with this program. In the past 10 years, there have been studies that have shown that these programs are neither diverse nor inclusive for students of color. It is imperative that this issue is a point of focus for this project since it shows how some programs with good intentions still help to perpetuate social stratification.  I plan to look at a specific school district like NYC since  G&T programs are still apart of public elementary school education.

Research Process:

I searched for articles and scholarly journals by using the Education Full Text Database.  I used terms like “gifted programs” and “urban” “students of color”. Then, I used google scholar to find more books that provide G&T history and different practices.  I also used the National Association for Gifted Children website since it is a reputable site that provides a lot of context,external sources, and links to several studies that have been conducted. I also looked at the NYC DOE website to see what is in place for G &T assessments. Lastly, I will be working with Katy Hart (research librarian) to find more sources through older periodicals like the NY Times to find articles on Gifted and Talented programs that was highlighted in the news. This will show how G &T has been viewed in the past and present.



Clark, Barbara. Growing up Gifted. Columbus: Charles E. Merrill.1988.

Frasier, Mary ,Jaime Garcia, Harry Passow. A Review of Assessment Issues in Gifted Education and their Implications for Identifying Gifted Minority Students. The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. 1995.

Gootmen, Elissa and Gebelboff Robert. “Fewer Children Entering Gifted Programs”. The New York Times: 28 October 2009. Web. 4 April 2014. <>

Jost, Kenneth.”Educating Gifted Students”. The CQ Researcher. 7(12 ).1997. Web. 4 April 2014.

Luninski, David et. al “Top 1 in 10,000: A 10-year Follow-up of the Profoundly Gifted. Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol 86(4) 718-729. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.86.4.718.2001. Web. 4 April 2014. <>


Mazie, Jenna. “Equality, Race and Gifted Education: An egalitarian critique of admission to New York City’s specialized high schools” Theory and Research in Education 7.1 .2009: 5-25. Web 4 April 2014.

National Association for Gifted Children.  “State of the nation in gifted education: A lack of commitment to talent development: An executive summary of the 2010-2011 State of the States Report]”. National Association for Gifted Children. 2011.National Association for Gifted Children. 2008. Web. 4 April 2014. <>

NYC Department of Education. Gifted and Talented Programs. 2014.Web. 4 April 2014.





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Upon my arrival to Trinity College I learned something interesting when sharing our birthdays and ages at orientation; something that I hadn’t given much thought to until now. I am one of my youngest friends here and I am born in April, the fourth month of the year! It really surprised me to learn that students are in the same class but almost a full year or two older than me. Different states have different cut offs so I assumed that it was as simple as that, but then I learned of the redshirting phenomenon. Redshirting refers to the practice of postponing entering school with the intent that your child will have an advantage. Redshirting has created yet another inequality in the United Stated public education system. With that said, my interest is in researching: Is it immoral for parents to give their child the advantage of redshirting? And furthermore, are they cheating the system in doing so? What impact does redshirting have on the success of children’s lives in and outside of the classroom? And what inequalities have the practice of redshirting created?

            Redshirting comes from the practice used by college athletic teams, a technique where an athlete sits out for a season. Redshirting is important because studies have shown that parents that are redshirting their children are more affluent. Not all students are able to get this advantage because there are parents who must put their children in school as soon as possible in order to defecate childcare costs (Schmidt). This ties in to another inequality in schooling that is a popular phenomenon called cultural capital. Cultural capital is when a student comes from an affluent family and are culturally exposed and educated before they even enter school. The students who are commonly redshirted are affluent and have already had many cultural and educational experiences before entering school and on top of that, redshirting gives them the opportunity for an additional year for culturally educating. Not only does this give the children a year for more cultural experiences, but also another year for their brain to develop. Studies have shown that there is a substantial difference in a child’s brain from year five to year six; a difference much greater than the difference between a twenty and twenty-one year olds (Konnikova). There is also a substantial amount of data on the social advantage redshirted students are getting. Research has shown that the older students in the class are typically the ones who take leadership positions and they also have an advantage in sports, because redshirted students are typically bigger because of that extra year of growth.

However, parents aren’t the only ones who are taking advantage of the system, the schools are as well. Schools aren’t necessarily opposed to redshirting because it is also beneficial to them, holding back kids at entry may order up the schools standardize testing scores (Safer). The working class parents who cannot financially keep their children back and the typically more affluent children are the ones redshirted they are more developed. Research has shown that the poorer students repeat grades three times more than more affluent children (Hansen- Bundy). The achievement gap tends to be a popular topic when it comes to the U.S education system. The achievement gap is high and some studies have shown that redshirting has contributed to this gap(Hansen-Bundy).

I started my research watching an intriguing 60 minutes on CBS by reporter Morley Safer. This informative 60 minutes started to get me thinking about the short and long term affects that redshirting has on a student, and also the disparity that it has created in the U.S education system – causing problems in both private and public systems. I read different blog posts and continued to further my research finding something that I originally hadn’t thought twice about was such a popular phenomenon with a lot of scrutiny around it. I also found several book reviews and books that have substantial data showing the ramifications that redshirting is having on the lives of the individual student that was redshirted as well as the effects that it has on the students classmates. I always assumed the purpose of holding a child back was so that they are not the youngest in their grade, but my research has proven that this phenomenon has a much larger effect on the student, his/her peers, and the education system as a whole.



Works Cited

Hansen – Bundy, Benjy. “Political MoJo.” Mother Jones. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

Konnikova, Maria. “Youngest Kid, Smartest Kid?” The New Yorker. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.

Moyer, Melinda. “Can Your Kid Hack It in Kindergarten, or Should You Redshirt Him?” Slate Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Apr. 2014.

Safer, Morley. “Redshirting:Holding Kids Back from Kindergarten.” CBS. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2014.

Schmidt, Michelle. “Kindergarten ‘Redshirting’: A Leg Up or an Unfair Advantage?” SparkPeople. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2014.

The Relationship Between Charter Schools and Catholic Schools

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Research Question:  How has the growth of charter schools negatively affected catholic schools over the past two decades? What does this growth look like on a national level as well as a local one, specifically in the city of Hartford?

Relevance:  School choice has been a heavily studied topic throughout our semester and is constantly debated by education reformers at a national level. The rise of charter schools throughout the country continues to increase as families have become more dissatisfied with traditional public schooling and look for alternatives. Charter schools have been highly criticized by education reformers who don’t believe that they are a long-term solution to ensuring all children have access to a public school education. One reformer who is particularly against the implementation of charter schools over traditional public schools is Diane Ravitch. The reason I’ve decided to focus my research on the impact charter schools have had specifically on catholic schools is because of a comment she included in her book that was particularly interesting to me. Though she is against most programs within the school choice movement, she is not against catholic schools as an alternative for students who live in low-income communities.  I think it will be particularly interesting to examine how, as charter schools continue to increase across the country, what this does to catholic schools. Often times, catholic schools are forced to shut down or are replaced by chartered schools because they have more government support and access to funding.  I’m going to examine this relationship in urban areas throughout the country, specifically in low-income communities, as well as providing one specific example of a catholic school in Hartford, St. Justin, which was replaced by Jumoke Academy, a charter school.

Research strategy:  In order to fully understand the relationship between charter schools and catholic schools, I plan on doing a substantial amount of research on what the major differences are between these two types of schools, and how they vary in teaching approach, student population, and funding. The library database will be exceedingly helpful in this respect because of the various databases focused specifically on education. Education Full Text and JSTOR have already been really helpful, and I plan on continuing to use them as I get further into my research. will also be useful when I’m discussing the impact of charters on catholic schools at a national level. My strategy for finding information on the transformation from St. Justin’s to Jumoke Academy will be much different.  I’m going to search the Hartford Courant Historical, as well as Lexis Nexis Academic to find news stories specific to Hartford.


Booker, Kevin, Tim R. Sass, Gill, and Ron Zimmer. “The Effects of Charter High Schools on Educational Attainment.” Journal of Labor Economics 29, no. 2 (April 1, 2011): 377–415. doi:10.1086/658089.

Brinig, Margaret F., and Nicole Stelle Garnett. “Catholic Schools, Charter Schools, and Urban Neighborhoods.” The University of Chicago Law Review 79, no. 1 (January 1, 2012): 31–57. doi:10.2307/41552894.

Cavanagh, Sean. “Catholic Ed., K-12 Charters Squaring Off.” Education Week 32, no. 2 (August 29, 2012): 1–13.

Donlevy, J. Kent. “Catholic Schools: The Inclusion of Non-Catholic Students.” Canadian Journal of Education / Revue Canadienne De L’éducation 27, no. 1 (January 1, 2002): 101–118. doi:10.2307/1602190.



The School-to-Prison Pipeline Research Essay Proposal

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Research Question:

What is the “school-to-prison pipeline,” and what steps have various reform groups taken to halt the funneling of students into the criminal justice system in major U.S. cities over the past five years?


The school-to-prison pipeline plagues schools and youth across the country, specifically minority and disabled students in urban areas. Due to policies employed in elementary and secondary schools across the United States, students are funneled directly from the school system into the criminal justice system. Many of these schools have metal detectors at every entrance, law enforcement officers staffing the buildings and campuses, and intense zero-tolerance policies that treat minor and major infractions with similar severity. Authorities and educators have shown an increasing dependence on suspensions, expulsions, and outside law enforcement to intervene when faced with disciplinary issues in the classroom. The removal of students from the classroom setting regularly for both major and minor disciplinary infractions poses significant physical and emotional risks to youth. Often, young people living in urban settings are led to feel that arrest and incarceration are inevitable and are simply what lies ahead in their futures. Recidivism rates for juveniles are shockingly high and the school-to-prison pipeline only adds to these figures. The fact that school policies could be, at least in part, responsible for guiding students into the criminal justice system is alarming; any policies or campaigns to put a stop to this pipeline are incredibly important.

Research Strategy:

To start my research, I used Google, Google Scholar, and JStor to search “school to prison pipeline” in an effort to gather broad, background information about the school-to-prison pipeline. After gathering information about the way the pipeline is defined and framed, I narrowed my search to “school to prison pipeline new york city” and “education policy school to prison pipeline.” Next I moved on to create a working list of groups dedicated to tackling the pipeline by searching “school to prison pipeline reform” and “education reformers new york, ny.” I then searched some of the names that I found cropping up in multiple articles to expand my list of reformers and campaigns. While I do have a list of individuals who are prominent leaders in the field and their accomplishments, I would like to delve deeper into not only the reform methods that they have tried and succeeded with, but also those attempts that were not successful.


“A Look At School Discipline | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State.” A Look At School Discipline | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State. New York Civil Liberties Union, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

“A Look At School Safety | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State.” A Look At School Safety | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State. New York Civil Liberties Union, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

Kim, Catherine Y., Daniel J. Losen, and Damon Hewitt. The School to Prison Pipeline: Structuring Legal Reform. New York: New York UP, 2010. Print.

“Medgar Evers College President William L. Pollard and Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes Present a Symposium on Race, Law and Justice: Strategies for Closing the School-to-Prison Pipeline.” CUNY Newswire. The City University of New York, 14 Feb. 2013. Web. 05 Apr. 2013. <>.

Resmovits, Joy. “School-To-Prison Pipeline Targeted By Judges, Education Officials.” The Huffington Post., 12 Mar. 2012. Web. 04 Apr. 2013.

“School-to-Prison Pipeline.” American Civil Liberties Union. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Apr. 2013.

“The Student Safety Act | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State.” The Student Safety Act | New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) – American Civil Liberties Union of New York State. New York Civil Liberties Union, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

Wald, J. and Losen, D. J. Defining and redirecting a school-to-prison pipeline. New Directions for Youth Development, 2003: 9–15. doi: 10.1002/yd.51

Welch, Kelly, and Allison Ann Payne. “Racial Threat and Punitive School Discipline.” Social Problems 57.1 (2010): 25-48. JSTOR. Web. 02 Apr. 2013.

“YCP.” YCP. Kings County District Attorney Office, n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2013.