INEQUITY IN EQUITY: How "Equity" Can Lead to Inequity for High-Potential Students
Camilla P. Benbow and Julian C Stanley (1996)
Over the past three decades, the achievement of waves of American students with high intellectual potential has declined as a result of inequity in educational treatment. This inequity is the result of an extreme form of egalitarianism within American society and schools, which involves the pitting of equity against excellence rather than promoting both equity and excellence, anti-intellectualism, the "dumbing-down" of the curriculum, equating aptitude and achievement testing with elitism, the attraction to fads by schools, and the insistence of schools to teach all students from the same curriculum at the same level. In this article we provide recommendations for creating positive change—recommendations that emphasize excellence for all, that call for responsiveness to individual differences, and that suggest basing educational policies on well-grounded research findings in psychology and education. Educational policies that fail to take into account the vast range of individual differences among students—as do many that are currently in use—are doomed to be ineffective.