The enduring misperception that rural places are homogeneously White may contribute to the underrepresentation of Black students in rural gifted education programs. In this study, we sought to understand this relationship by examining the underrepresentation of Black students in rural gifted education programs through a theoretical framework of critical Whiteness studies, critical pedagogies of place, and spatial injustice. Using logistic regression, we analyzed data related to identification processes used in 11 high poverty rural school districts. These identification processes included local district-led identification strategies and study-led methods which were designed to increase equitable access to gifted education by administering a universal screening assessment, collecting teacher ratings for every student, and using local norms to interpret scores. Data analysis confirmed that Black students were identified for gifted services in greater numbers with the study-led methods and that district-led identification strategies often overlooked Black students for gifted identification. Results also indicated that teachers rated Black students lower on traits associated with giftedness even when the students had comparable scores on the universal screener. These findings point to promise in using more inclusive identification strategies and centering place in the interpretation of data as a step toward equity, but they also point to a significant need to disrupt Whiteness in rural gifted spaces. We discuss these implications and offer suggestions for further research to improve the rate of inclusion of Black students in gifted education programs as an issue of equity in rural schooling.
While there are many calls for enhancing support of Black and Latinx students on college campuses, much of the existing literature promotes deficit thinking and assumes monolithic experiences. Drawing upon Yosso’s model of community cultural wealth, we used a qualitative case study approach to examine the assets 13 rural Black and Latinx students brought to their higher education experiences in the context of a specific campus-affiliated program, Emerging Scholars. This program provides college access and college success support to high school and college students from rural communities. All participants in the study were involved in the Emerging Scholars Program at Clemson University. We held focus groups based on students’ academic year classification, and student participants shared resources and assets they employed as they navigated their pre-college and college experiences, including aspirational, familial, navigational, and social capital.