Special educational programs for highly able students are not federally mandated in the United States, so public support for these programs rises and falls over a cycle that historically has peaked every two to three decades. During periods of low support, particularly since the 1970s, criticism of such programs has focused on their alleged elitist nature. Diversity issues have formed the foundation of these critiques, probably because a cursory inspection reveals relatively few students of color participating in programs for the gifted. African American and Latino students, in particular, are underrepresented in gifted education programs in comparison to their presence in the overall school population. In recent years, attention to diversity has broadened to include students from low-socioeconomic-status households and students who are English language ...

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