Expert explains ‘favorable’ impression of U46 gifted programming (Sun-Times Media)

by Emily McFarlan Miller

CHICAGO — An education expert Wednesday praised a key Elgin School District U46 program for gifted minority students as the trial continued in the federal discrimination lawsuit against the district.

“As I understand from your testimony, you are very favorably impressed with the SET SWAS (Spanish English Transition School Within A School) program,” Judge Robert W. Gettleman said.

That’s true, replied Carolyn Callahan, a professor at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education.

In fact, Callahan said, she couldn’t think of anything she specifically would change about the program for gifted Spanish-speaking students in U46.

“I would say it’s a program that serves a very important function in helping students transition,” she said. “I’d like to see more students served by it.”

That program is at the center of the claim the second-largest school district in Illinois did not offer students who were black and Hispanic access to its gifted and academy programs.

The lawsuit against U46 also claims the district discriminated against minority students in its 2004 school boundary plan by placing them in overcrowded schools, and that it did not offer appropriate help to English Language Learner students.

For the rest of the story, read Expert explains ‘favorable’ impression of U46 gifted programming (Sun-Times Media).