My name is Anne Mason and I am the Gifted and Talented advocate for Palm Elementary. I'm also the art teacher at Palm. Your current article bothers me because you didn't interview any of the Austin ISD Advanced Academics (GT) staff, but you interviewed Round Rock ISD and Manor ISD ["Fair and Bright
," News, Nov. 22].
Austin ISD has been leading the charge for equity in GT testing for at least 2 years now – I was part of the community committee that spent months evaluating the old way we nominated and tested students and redesigned it with equity and the latest research in mind, and that was at least three years ago. Your only mention of Austin ISD is two parents, and one of those stories is old – Yasmine Smith is grown up now, and yes, 20 years ago your headline would probably have been true then. The Chairmain Mackson story has no date on it, so it could also be 20 years old. Your article implies, by old news and omission, that Austin ISD is discriminating against children of color, when you clearly didn't interview any of the Advanced Academics staff for Austin ISD. Austin ISD has a lot of problems right now, and my school being on and "off" the list of closures has given me a slightly cynical lens with which to view my employer, but I will say that Austin ISD is trying to do GT right and trying to be equitable and fair to all children. We are expected to maintain percentages per demographic group that are actually higher than the state expects. For example, if the state expects at least 7% of all African American students are in GT in Texas, Austin ISD expects 8%. Part of schools' Campus Accountability rating is based on how well we are achieving equity in our GT programs at each school.
, booooo. You should be ashamed of yourself. My husband and I are both shocked that YOU would throw Austin ISD under the bus like this.