Congressman Cohen Introduces the Diversity Advancements in Accelerated Academic Programs Act

July 13, 2021
Press Release
Goal is increasing diversity in Advanced Placement and Gifted and Talented programs

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today reintroduced the Diversity Advancements in Accelerated Academic Programs Act, a measure authorizing the use of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) funding to create equity offices in state departments of education or local education agencies that would develop programs to improve diversity in Advanced Placement (AP) and Gifted and Talented (GT) programs.

Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“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.”

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.

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