America’s gifted education programs have a race problem. Can it be fixed?

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This article about gifted education was produced in partnership with The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. This is part 1 of the series “Gifted Education’s Race Problem.”

BUFFALO, N.Y. — On a crisp day in early March, two elementary school gifted and talented classes worked on activities in two schools, 3 miles and a world apart.

In airy PS 64 Frederick Law Olmsted, in affluent, white north Buffalo, 22 would-be Arctic explorers wrestled with how to build a shelter if their team leader had frostbite and snow blindness. Unusually for Buffalo’s public schools — where 20 percent of students are white and 46 percent are Black — about half of the fourth grade class was white.

In PS 61 Arthur O. Eve, on the city’s majority-Black East Side, 13 first graders, all of them Black, Latino or Asian American, folded paper airplanes in their basement classroom as part of an aerodynamics and problem-solving lesson. Unlike at Olmsted, the highest-scoring elementary school in the city, students at Eve scored around the dismal city average in math and English in 2019, when fewer than a quarter of students passed state tests.

The gifted program at Eve opened two years ago as a way to increase access to Buffalo’s disproportionately white, in-demand gifted and talented programs. Buffalo educators hoped Eve’s new program would give more children — particularly children of color — a chance at enrichment and advanced learning.

Yet two years in, Eve’s gifted classes are under-enrolled, while Olmsted always runs out of room — last year, more than 400 children applied for 65 gifted spots. And even though the district made it easier to apply for gifted classes, Olmsted gifted classrooms still don’t look like the rest of the district. White families


3,500-pound great white shark dubbed “Queen of the Ocean” spotted off North America’s coast

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A 3,500 pound great white shark dubbed Nukumi — meaning “Queen of the Ocean” — has been spotted off the coast of Nova Scotia. The massive 50-year-old shark was tagged and released by Ocearch, a research and exploring team that hopes its latest trip out to sea provides new clues to unravel the mysteries of great whites.

“When you see these big females like that that have scars from decades over their lives and multiple mating cycles, you can really kinda see the story of their life unfolding across all the blotches and healed wounds on their body,” team leader Chris Fischer told CBS News’ Jeff Glor. “It really hits you differently thank you would think.”   

A 50-year-old, 3,500-pound shark nicknamed Nukumi, meaning “Queen of the Ocean.”

CBS News/Ocearch

Tagging Nukumi, one of the largest great white sharks ever seen, was the crowning achievement of Ocearch’s month-long trip off the North American coast that had them running from storms for 21 days in the middle of an unprecedented Atlantic hurricane season. 

Tagging Nukumi, one of the largest great white sharks ever seen, was the crowning achievement of Ocearch’s month-long trip.

CBS News / Ocearch

At the end, Ocearch was successfully able to sample and release a total of eight great white sharks, including the so-called “Queen of the Ocean.” 

Fischer explained that tracking Nukumi comes with a “great opportunity” to show the researchers “where the Atlantic Canada white shark gives birth” — something that has never been witnessed before. 

Along with gathering more information on their birth, Ocearch’s goal is to learn more about the apex predators that keep the ocean in balance

“If they thrive, the system thrives,” Fischer explained. “The white shark is the balance keeper, and the path to abundance goes through them.”

Without white


Nearly Half of South America’s Mammals Came from North America, New Research May Explain Why | Smart News

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North and South America haven’t always been connected. South America functioned as a continent-sized island for millions of years following the extinction of the dinosaurs, incubating its own strange assembly of animals such as giant ground sloths, massive armored mammals akin to armadillos and saber-toothed marsupial carnivores. Meanwhile, North America was exchanging animals with Asia, populating it with the ancestors of modern horses, camels and cats, writes Asher Elbein for the New York Times.

Finally, when tectonic activity formed the Isthmus of Panama roughly ten million years ago, a massive biological exchange took place. The many species that had been evolving in isolation from one another on both continents began migrating across the narrow new land bridge. Llamas, raccoons, wolves and bears trekked south, while armadillos, possums and porcupines went north.

It would be reasonable to expect this grand biological and geological event, known to paleontologists as the Great American Biotic Interchange, resulted in equal numbers of northern and southern species spreading across the two land masses; but that’s not what happened.

Instead, many more North American mammal species made homes down south than the other way around. Almost half of living South American mammals have North American evolutionary roots, whereas only around ten percent of North American mammals once hailed from South America. Now, researchers who reviewed some 20,000 fossils may have an answer, according to the Times.

According to the paper, published this week in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the asymmetry of immigrant mammal diversity we see today was the result of droves of South American mammals going extinct, leaving gaping ecological holes waiting to be filled by northern species and reducing the pool of potential immigrant species to make the trek north, reports Christine Janis, an ecologist at


Integrity of ‘The 1619 Project,’ America’s education system at risk with election

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OPINION: Trump’s latest campaign demonstrates the racial blindness of the administration and serves as a preview of what we can expect from four more years

Here is the truth, African Americans built this country for free. 

Yes, I said it. The horrors of the American slave trade contributed to America’s current economic success, military might, and role in shaping global culture. Sadly, these truths have not been part of the curriculum taught in America’s public schools. What students got instead was a whitewashed “history” that downplayed the enslavement and commoditization of Black bodies. 

Read More: Trump attacks ‘1619 Project,’ will sign executive order for ‘1776 Commission’

For the nation’s students, this culturally watered-down history of enslavement has actually done more harm than good. Instead of telling historical truth, our students were subjected to storylines about enslaved people being treated well, and the connection between America’s greatness and Western European enlightenment. 

Well, that was until parents, students, community members and educators raised their voices and forced school districts to teach our young people the truth. 

President Donald Trump walks to Marine One on the south lawn of the White House Thursday en route to Bedminster, New Jersey for a roundtable event with supporters and a fundraiser. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump walks to Marine One on the south lawn of the White House Thursday en route to Bedminster, New Jersey for a roundtable event with supporters and a fundraiser. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Truth-telling has drastically changed how our students learn American history. After years of campaigning, students are receiving the fullness of the American story! One of the most recent contributions to this education agenda was The 1619 Project — an ongoing initiative of The New York Times Magazine that started in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of American slavery’s beginning. The 1619 Project bursted onto the scene with an invite to serious dialogue about slavery, race and racism.

Once President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos caught wind of the


America’s Reaction After First Presidential Debate

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Long Island University National Poll: America’s Reaction After First Presidential Debate

PR Newswire

BROOKVILLE, N.Y., Oct. 1, 2020

BROOKVILLE, N.Y., Oct. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Results of a breaking Long Island University Steven S. Hornstein Center for Policy, Polling, and Analysis national poll were announced in the aftermath of the first presidential debate for Election 2020.

Long Island University (PRNewsfoto/Long Island University)
Long Island University (PRNewsfoto/Long Island University)

National poll results found that 80 percent of respondents tuned in to watch President Donald Trump debate former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday evening. High viewership of the event was supported by Neilsen ratings that estimated 73.1 million Americans watched the debate.

Americans were asked who they thought did a better job in Tuesday evening’s debate between Trump and Biden. Among respondents, 41 percent said that Biden did a better job in the debate, while 22 percent said that Trump had a stronger performance. More than a third of respondents (37 percent) said there was no difference (18 percent) or gave no opinion on the matter (19 percent).

After the presidential debates ended on Tuesday evening, Americans were asked who they would vote for if the election were held today. Respondents said they would vote for Biden (48 percent), Trump (31 percent), and another candidate (7 percent). An additional 9 percent of respondents said they were undecided and 5 percent said they wouldn’t vote if the elections were held today.

While a variety of factors were mentioned, the one issue that mattered most on deciding