Gifted children in the current policy and fiscal context of public education: A national snapshot and state-level equity analysis of texas

Bruce D. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Should we be concerned if educational resources for gifted and talented children vary widely from school to school, district to district, or state to state? Does it matter whether those resources are distributed unevenly by race or social class? This article begins by addressing the basic underlying question: Do gifted and talented children require supplemental resources at all? Two alternate theoretical perspectives are discussed. Under one, the standards-based cost function, there is no need to provide supplemental resources to gifted children, whereas under the alternative resource-cost model, there may be a reasonable need. Accepting the resource-cost model assumption that gifted children do require supplemental resources, this article then explores the distribution of gifted and talented programming opportunities across a national sample of students (The National Educational Longitudinal Study of 1988) and the distribution of fiscal and human resources to gifted education within the Texas, a state long considered a national leader in gifted education. National results show that Hispanic and Native American students are less likely to have access to gifted programs in the eighth grade than Asian/Pacific Island students. Also, students in the lowest socioeconomic status (SES) quartile are far less likely than students in the highest two SES quartiles to have access to eighth-grade gifted and talented programs. Students in districts that are large or suburban, or both, are more likely than those in urban districts to have access, and students in Southern and Western states far more likely to have access than those in the Northeast. Texas results show substantial variance (CV = 125%) in spending per gifted pupil across districts. They further show that district level fiscal resources and community economic characteristics influence spending and the availability of specialized personnel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-250
Number of pages22
JournalEducational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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