When Alexandria Superintendent Morton Sherman walks the halls of the city’s schools and peers into classrooms, he can often guess whether the class he’s watching is gifted.
“Standing at the door, looking through the glass, you can tell what kind of class it is” by looking at the colors of the students, he said. “It shouldn’t be that way.”
Alexandria is a majority-minority school system, except in its gifted program. White students, 25 percent of the total enrollment, are 58 percent of those labeled “gifted.” Hispanics and African Americans, 25 and 40 percent of enrollment, respectively, account for about 10 and 20 percent of those in gifted classes.
Sherman, at the helm for a little more than a year, is bringing fresh attention to equity issues that have long confounded the small urban school system, where half of the 11,000 students live in poverty.