New Article: Lifshitz & Katz, Underrepresentation of Ethiopian–Israeli Students in Programmes for Gifted and Talented

Lifshitz, Chen C., and Chana Katz. “Underrepresentation of Ethiopian–Israeli Minority Students in Programmes for the Gifted and Talented: A Policy Discourse Analysis.” Journal of Education Policy 30.1 (2015): 101-31.





Students from disadvantaged or minority backgrounds are often underrepresented in public educational programmes for the gifted and talented (G&T), a phenomenon that has concerned educators for the last two decades. Ethiopian–Israeli minority students (EIMS) are a good example of this phenomenon, as more than 95% of the vast resources allocated to promoting this minority population are directed to advancing underachieving students. To explain the roots of this policy, we analysed all reports presented to the Israeli parliament regarding EIMS during the years 2000–2012, as well as all studies that these reports were based on. A policy discourse analysis revealed that the public-political discourse concerning EIMS focuses almost entirely on the weaknesses and needs of this population. In addition, this discourse is led by policy networks of interest groups that are involved in promoting minority students. Analysis of the relative achievement levels of EIMS suggests that some students, and especially those in lower school grades, are suitable candidates for integration within G&T frameworks. We suggest that a change of the discourse concerning EIMS and emphasizing their strengths may lead to a change in policy, which will promote G&T students and reduce the ‘stereotype threat’ within this group.