The gifted-and-talented pilot announced Monday by DCPS may be the first of its kind, but it’s not the first. As several readers have pointed out, the system had one in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Peter Rosenstein, a D.C. political activist and former executive director of the National Association for Gifted Children, said the school system had an office devoted to the program and sent representatives to the organization’s annual meetings for years.

Rosenstein said he is not clear on exactly what happened, although budget issues and opposition to “tracking” students probably contributed to its demise. Former superintendent Paul Vance is quoted in a 2000 Post story as wanting to identify at "the earliest age possible" students who could benefit from gifted-and-talented programs. The new effort, to be piloted at Kelly Miller and Hardy middle schools, will not be selective. All students enrolled at the schools will be eligible.

“I applaud the District for going back to look at this,” said Rosenstein. ”And for making sure that kids in all parts of the city have access to it.”