Are schools failing highly gifted kids in society?

Time magazine takes a provocative look at whether schools are not serving the needs of the smartest kids in society. The magazine asks “Are we Failing our Geniuses? and is generally referring to kids with IQs over 145, many of whom would need to skip three grades to be with their intellectual peers.

The article summarizes it best but also puts it in some pretty vicious terms. From Time.com:

“To some extent, complacency is built into the system. American schools spend more than $8 billion a year educating the mentally retarded. Spending on the gifted isn’t even tabulated in some states, but by the most generous calculation, we spend no more than $800 million on gifted programs. But it can’t make sense to spend 10 times as much to try to bring low-achieving students to mere proficiency as we do to nurture those with the greatest potential.”

“We take for granted that those with IQs at least three standard deviations below the mean (those who score 55 or lower on IQ tests) require “special” education. But students with IQs that are at least three standard deviations above the mean (145 or higher) often have just as much trouble interacting with average kids and learning at an average pace. Shouldn’t we do something special for them as well? True, these are IQs at the extremes. Of the 62 million school-age kids in the U.S., only about 62,000 have IQs above 145. (A similar number have IQs below 55.) That’s a small number, but they appear in every demographic, in every community. What to do with them? Squandered potential is always unfortunate, but presumably it is these powerful young minds that, if nourished, could one day cure leukemia or stop global warming or become the next James Joyce–or at least J.K. Rowling.”

“In a no-child-left-behind conception of public education, lifting everyone up to a minimum level is more important than allowing students to excel to their limit. It has become more important for schools to identify deficiencies than to cultivate gifts. Odd though it seems for a law written and enacted during a Republican Administration, the social impulse behind No Child Left Behind is radically egalitarian. It has forced schools to deeply subsidize the education of the least gifted, and gifted programs have suffered. The year after the President signed the law in 2002, Illinois cut $16 million from gifted education; Michigan cut funding from $5 million to $500,000. Federal spending declined from $11.3 million in 2002 to $7.6 million this year…”

The problem is just not about servicing these students intellectually but socially as well.

“Gael (Oswald), a math teacher, began to research giftedness and found that high-IQ kids can become isolated adults. ‘They end up often as depressed adults … who don’t have friends or who find it difficult to function,’ she says. Actually, research shows that gifted kids given appropriately challenging environments–even when that means being placed in classes of much older students–usually turn out fine. At the University of New South Wales, Gross conducted a longitudinal study of 60 Australians who scored at least 160 on IQ tests beginning in the late ’80s. Today most of the 33 students who were not allowed to skip grades have jaded views of education, and at least three are dropouts. ‘These young people find it very difficult to sustain friendships because, having been to a large extent socially isolated at school, they have had much less practice … in developing and maintaining social relationships,’ Gross has written. ‘A number have had counseling. Two have been treated for severe depression.’ By contrast, the 17 kids who were able to skip at least three grades have mostly received Ph.D.s, and all have good friends.’

I can’t pull any more quotes from the article so I encourage you to read the whole article if you have time. It is very interesting.

So here are my questions:

Do you think schools are screwing the smartest kids in our society? Should kids be able to skip two and three grades ahead to be with their intellectual peers?

What do make of the article’s contention that the kids on the low end of the spectrum are getting too much of the resources leaving the gifted kids out in the cold? At what level should we be spending on the lower-end spectrum? At what level of proficiency should they be brought up to?

Is it right not to spend of the less intelligent kids to spend more on the brightest?

What about the social and mental health implications: how can those needs be met for the highly gifted child?

113 comments Add your comment

mom2alex&max

September 15th, 2010
7:15 am

I’m surprised they used the words “mentally retarded” as opposed to “special needs”. Expect a harsh backlash on that one.

But yeah, I agree 100%. Gifted children surely get the short end of the stick in public schools.

fred

September 15th, 2010
7:17 am

As a public school teacher i hate to say this, but a public school will do no good for a student who needs to be 3 or more grades ahead. there is too much bureaucracy for a school to go through. A student like this needs something outside of the public school system. Public schools are ham-stringed by federal and state laws on how much money they must spend per pupil including SPED so there is little if no money left over for the highest of the high achievers.

catlady

September 15th, 2010
7:18 am

In our system the gifted are the only “special” kids served by the push-in model–for good reason. Their parents, who vote, would raise holy h3ll if their kids did not get a period a day to be among their intellectual peers. Yet the teacher is expected to meet the needs of all other kids in the regular classroom–MID, BD, ESOL, LD, medically fragile, speech, not to mention all the undiagnosed or untreated kids and the regular kids. Teachers are supposed to differentiate, all while keeping classroom order and discipline (frequently with no administrative backup). Is it any wonder, given that, that gifted kids generally suffer? Their needs are low on the priority list.

I do think we spend an inordinate amount of money on the lower end of the spectrum, to the detriment of the average, high average, and gifted.

catlady

September 15th, 2010
7:20 am

The gifted are the only ones served by the PULL OUT model. Sorry.

catlady

September 15th, 2010
7:23 am

mom2: I refuse to use “special needs” when I am talking about retarded because there are all kinds of special needs kids–including the gifted!

DB

September 15th, 2010
7:24 am

Do you think schools are screwing the smartest kids in our society? Oh, HELL yes. There’s always been the attitude that “cream rises to the top”, and that the smart kids will take care of themselves. They may be able to rock a standardized test, but there are seldom academic challenges, except perhaps for watered-down AP courses that pretend to be college-level classes. These kids face a completely different set of challenges, one that schools are ill-equipped to aid.

Should kids be allowed to skip? That’s a hard one. My husband ended up skipping four grades from K-12 (and repeating one when they moved back from a year overseas). He will tell you, frankly, that even though he started college at 16, it was very difficult, because he spent his freshman year in an alcoholic haze trying to “fit in” with kids who were several years older than he was, emotionally. Gifted kids need different kids of support — everyone makes the mistake of confusing intellectual maturity with emotional maturity. The question is, do I trust a school to meet the emotional needs of a child? *Cough, cough* — I don’t think so. That’s ALL on the parent.

Lots of gifted kids get lost in the system because of feeling alienated — they tend to relate better to adults than to their peers, which further confuses the adults into thinking they are “mature.” As a result, you find really gifted kids who do not develop the social skills and discipline they need to really excel in life — they learn to “get by” in school without lifting a finger or opening a book, but they are shocked when they get into the real world and not everyone is in awe of their standardize test scores.

Good grief — just look at that stupid example of the 5th graderl down in Clay County, Florida, who was denied access to the school’s gifted program because of her parents INCOME: http://www.news4jax.com/news/22617540/detail.html How in God’s name can considering the income of a parent possibly be considered meeting the needs of exceptional children?!

Parents have to have a realistic view of their kids’ abilities, though, before charging in and demanding ‘genius rights’. And, face it, some kids are a genius in one thing — but perfectly average in everything else, especially in the early grades when motor skills, etc. play so much into reading, writing, etc. For example, in 1st grade, my son could divide, multiply, and figure out square roots, he had a knack for numbers — but reading was problematical. The 1+1 worksheets just weren’t doin’ it for him! The teacher commented that he was “bored” during math, and I suggested that she give him worksheets for a couple of grades ahead. Her first reaction was, “Oh, I can’t do that, he would get too far ahead of the rest of the class!” SO?! I had to ask her if I really needed to go out and BUY a workbook for him to keep in his desk to work on when the other kids were doing math. To their credit, the school ended up pulling a couple of other math-talented kid out of class at the same time, and they provided a separate math enrichment class where they could do square roots and basic algebra to their heart’s content. By the beginning of third grade, he was reading 8th grade level books. Socially, though — it was always a struggle. He was seldom on the same page with his peers. I thought it was interesting how, in high school, he was part of a small group who ruled the school academically, but not socially — his best friends were valedictorian and salutatorian, one took the SAT twice to see if they could hit a perfect score, and all of them were offered prestigious scholarships at the schools of their choice. He bloomed at a demanding college, though, after having to adjust to the concept of having to actually open a book to do well on a test :-)

That, frankly, was another reason why we went the private school route, in an effort to find a school who was willing to meet the needs of academically gifted kids and who weren’t caught in the trap of having to devote limited resources to marginal kids or justify their funding with contrived scores such as the CRCT. Snobby? Maybe. But just as parents of kids on the other side of the bell curve want what’s best for their kids — so do I. And I was willing to go out and pay dearly for it.

catlady

September 15th, 2010
7:24 am

We will continue to have this problem until regular kids’ parents stand up and sue so they can have a FAPE, not just the “developmentally delayed.”

mom2alex&max

September 15th, 2010
7:28 am

catlady: I wasn’t disagreeing, it just surprised me. Seems kinda un-PC for a magazine don’t you think? I hear a lot that “mentally retarded” is a disparaging term. *shrugs*

Jeff

September 15th, 2010
7:34 am

If parents could take the money the government spends per child and give it to any public school the parent chooses, this would change.

deidre_NC

September 15th, 2010
7:59 am

i have 3 children in the 140’s IQ area and it has definately been a challenge. the schools are not in the position of really helping these kids. i agree it is up to the parent, and if you can afford a private school that would be the way to go. to say i have had problems with my kids would be putting it mildly. for some reason gifted children are sometimes the least motivated. they also bore easily and keeping them interested in learning and making it a challenge is the only way to go. so far, after raising 3 kids like this and 2 ‘normal’ ill take the nornal ones anyday! my youngest daughter was able to take a lot of college classes in high school so that helped her, and i was able to send her to a couple of camps that met her needs for 2 summers. but money was always an issue in being able to deal with the programs i could find for them. i am not a teacher, just a parent, and i sure dont have the answers. it seems if you have financial resources to keep your kids in programs for the highly intelligent its a lot easier on them and you. if not you just have to figure out other ways of doing things. kids that need to be challenged are not always able to challenge themselves with good things and lots of times they fall into bad things. i will be interested in hearing from the ones here who are in the school system and have walked on this sidewalk…wish i had ‘known’ yall when my kids were growing up, i may hve found dome better answers.

motherjanegoose

September 15th, 2010
8:04 am

DB…honey you get the prize for a long post today :)

I was thinking exactly what you mentioned with your husband:

Gifted kids need different kids of support — everyone makes the mistake of confusing intellectual maturity with emotional maturity.

My son was reading UPSIDE DOWN when he was four ( he could hold the book upside down and read it well) . His preschool teacher sat him at the back ( farther away from the print) because if she read a BIG BOOK ( to the class) and missed a word, he would jump right in and correct her. His social skills did not understand that she probably did not want to be corrected by a four year old….LOL. Knowing things and interpreting them correctly ( in social situations) are two different birds. Our son was a June birthday and the youngest in his class. He eventually got pulled out for gifted but when he was reading at a level where the book topics were way beyond him, in accelerated reading, he lost interest.

Not sure what the answer is here!

I will say that my daughter is in Calculus at UGA. She took AP Calculus in HS but did not think she would score high enough on the test to opt out…so she did not take the test for credit. She told me that there were several kids, on the first day of Calculus class, who had NO idea what the professor was talking about. She seems to be holding her own. We will see. I expected that class to be her toughest .

new mom

September 15th, 2010
8:15 am

Happy Birthday, Motherjanegoose! :)

motherjanegoose

September 15th, 2010
8:22 am

LOL…I was JUST thinking about your daughter..my birthday buddy! Best wishes to her too.
I hope she has the pleasure of meeting as many wonderful people, in her life, as I have met in mine.
Hugs to those on this blog who have spent a few hours ( over lunch) with me…I loved every minute of it :)

RJ

September 15th, 2010
8:30 am

Great topic Theresa! I had this very conversation yesterday. Schools are failing our gifted kids every day. But, we are also failing our average kids. We teach to the lowest and are just glad that everyone else is on level or above. We end up really hurting these kids. I am struggling now trying to figure out what to do with my own gifted son.

@Deidre I agree with you about keeping them busy. While most would think that these kids are your straight A students, most often they are not. They tend to get bored very easily and are really difficult to motivate sometimes. I have always felt that the gifted program in Georgia is really lacking. The program at my son’s school is really a joke! The teachers just seem to be happy not having to deal with 30 kids. I really struggle to keep him motivated in school. As a teacher I find this to be true with many boys at this age. Middle school is when we lose kids, yet we keep doing it the same way expecting different results. My husband and I discussed last night how we would be able to send him to Woodward…then we sighed! With my furlough days and his company losing accounts we’re lucky to have jobs. And when you’re in the middle…you qualify for nada. It’s a tough situation to be in.

I am truly hopeful that one day somebody will wake up and realize that we will never have a level playing field due to students backgrounds. If my mom taught me to read at 4 and yours didn’t even teach you your name (instead of your nick name), I’m already well ahead of you. That’s our reality in public education. In one neighborhood kids start school on or above level. In another neighborhood, kids come to school happy to get a hot meal. Do politicians really think we can level the playing field with such disparities?

Becky

September 15th, 2010
8:34 am

I have to agree with fred and DB on this..Of course, there’s never been anyone in my family that fit into this subject, so….:)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHERJANEGOOSE..Hope that all goes very well for you today…

DB

September 15th, 2010
8:44 am

Happy Birthday, MJG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you have a lovely day!

@Deidre_NC: My mother-in-law was a godsend when it came to structuring a challenging environment for my son. After all, she was the one who had to deal with her child (my husband) being thrown out of preschool because they couldn’t “meet his needs” — i.e.,at 3, he just wanted to sit in a corner and read books, and got annoyed with picture books. :-) She had a lot of spot-on observations and suggestions, and reflections on things she wished she had done differently. Of course, she’s a Phi Beta Kappa, herself, but no one ever remembered that because they were always so in awe of my FIL’s intellectual gifts — lets just say that the apple didn’t fall very far from THAT tree!

deidre_NC

September 15th, 2010
8:45 am

happy birthday MJG!! hope you have a fantastic day!!

Sage

September 15th, 2010
9:11 am

Yes, our gifted kids are being “dumbed down”. Ironically my gifted middle school daughter came home recently and proclaimed one of her teachers said that kids loose their “gifted” abilities in middle school. I would think a teacher actually saying this to students would be a sign for them to start just giving up. A couple of parents are still waiting to get a meeting with this particular teacher. Why would a teacher say something so blatent?

Schools in the US would be in much better shape if they were not trying to cater JUST to the lowest. Just look at what Georgia has to deal with in illegal population. We spend more time embracing and educating those that don’t fund (taxes) our schools and leave the paying “customers” to fend for themselves. The silent majority is very disgruntled and too scared to say anything for being labeled a racist or homophobe.

I also think the more intelligent students can be pushed to the extreme to make up the difference on the other end. I look at the brighest kids and hope they do not explode under pressure to be the best. There is just too much at stake for their future. The challenges they will face as adults terrifies me as a parent.

Warrior Woman

September 15th, 2010
9:23 am

Gifted children are routinely underserved and ignored. Even when they’re allegedly served by pull-out OR inclusion models, it’s often just more work at the same level instead of the truly advanced work that they need to encourage them to excel. Of course, the above-average that aren’t technically gifted are screwed over even more than the gifted, since these children usually get nothing. For both gifted and above-average, parents have to push continually to get services and opportunties their children need.

We spend far too much money on the lowest end of the spectrum, to the detriment of average, above-average, and gifted. It’s worse now than ever, with budget constraints encouraging schools to increase gifted class sizes and reduce advanced content classes.

JATL

September 15th, 2010
9:27 am

Without a DOUBT gifted kids get a royal screwing in our public schools! I have to say, if one of my children tested extremely gifted (or even just gifted), I would visit and interview the private schools in this city, find the best one for him and put him there. I may never be able to retire because of it, but hey -it would be worth it! Unfortunately for those who absolutely cannot send their kids to private school no matter what, if they have a gifted child it’s likely their kid will be bored and become a behavior problem. Our schools REALLY need to look at that when evaluating the behavior of many children.

If a kid can function socially 3 grade levels ahead, then I say let them!

And, while I definitely agree with educational programs for mentally retarded people, slow people and those with below average IQs, and I definitely believe they can be important contributors to our society, I think we should pour more money into gifted programs than programs for kids who truly will not be able to function in society (and I know many will, but severe and profound kids -really?). Personally I had rather make sure the needs of a kid who may discover the cure for cancer are met at the public school than the kid who will top out bagging groceries. Go crazy on that comment if you will, but I’ve seen this from the inside, and we’re wasting an amazing amount of talent and ingenuity that frankly our entire country REALLY needs! It’s not that I don’t feel sorry for families with mentally handicapped kids or the people themselves. I’m not advocating going back to the old days and institutionalizing them or not offering any education, but the lengths we go to in order to make sure that Johnny knows his ABCs and shapes by 8th grade when he actually will never use that skill are ridiculous.

@DB -your husband and I have that in common! I went to college after my sophomore year at age 16. Academically it wasn’t a problem, but I think I took 20 years off of my liver that year! When a kid skips into high school or out of high school and into college, the parents REALLY need to factor emotional intelligence into that equation. It can be very hard.

***As to the use of “retarded” -I am SO SICK of people being SO sensitive about this term! Look it up -it means “slow, behind or delayed in progress” -in our public schools, GIFTED kids are part of Special Ed, and therefore “special needs.” If you’re using it to make fun of a mentally retarded person, then it’s wrong (and you’re in need of a punch in the face), but it’s not some kind of dirty word.

@RJ -AMEN!

Happy Birthday MJG!

theresa

September 15th, 2010
9:27 am

happy bithday mjg!! I hope you have a great day. New mom which daughter has her bday today??

JATL

September 15th, 2010
9:29 am

@TWG -I just posted a long comment with a lot to say and it’s not appearing! Please find it!

mom2alex&max

September 15th, 2010
9:30 am

Warrior Woman: Amen to that sister. Frankly, I am sick of it. It falls on me to motivate and encourage and challenge my above average and slightly gifted children. I don’t even wanna THINK about how many resources are used to ensure “no one gets left behind”. Gag.

Andrea

September 15th, 2010
9:36 am

Happy Birthday MJG! Hope you have a super fantastic day. :-)

Andrea

September 15th, 2010
9:43 am

My kids attend public school and I have knowledge on both ends of the spectrum. One is gifted and one is special needs. I was asked to skip her 2 grades for math and 3 grades for language arts, social studies and science and I declined. While she has the intellect to do the work, she doesn’t have the social skills to adapt to peers that would be much older than she is. It has been my experience that the public schools don’t serve either segment well. But, of the two, those with learning disabilities have more resources as opposed to the gifted children (but again, both in my opinion leave ALOT to be desired).

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 15th, 2010
9:48 am

jatl — i’, looking for it

easter

September 15th, 2010
9:52 am

As a gifted specialist, I give parent workshops about advocating effectively for your gifted child. I tell my parents, “The schools are designed to serve kids that fall within one standard deviation of the mean – as they should be. This lets them focus their resources on the majority of the population. If your child is three standard deviations above the mean, realize that you will have to do a lot to meet their needs. Public school isn’t set up for it, never will be, and frankly shouldn’t be.” I also hate seeing, ‘Oh, we spend all this money on special ed and nothing on gifted.” Special ed does not mean only low IQ. It may also mean cerebral palsy, autism, severe epilepsy – any number of problems that require special equipment and trained teachers and nurses and that are unrelated to IQ. The other thing I took issue with in the article was the oft-repeated argument that if we don’t pour billions into our gifted kids, they will never cure cancer or become the next J.K. Rowling. There is an IQ threshold for that kind of success, but it is much closer to 120 than 145! Research has shown that many other elements – persistence, family background, socioeconomic status, ability to delay gratification – impact eventual success much more heavily than IQ. We aren’t designing any programs to help the persistent reach their full potential, though. This isn’t to say we should ignore our gifted kids, of course. I’ve taught hundreds and parent four myself, and they are great kids who, like all kids, deserve our support. However, I am frustrated by the hand-wringing. If the schools focus the majority of their energy on the majority of their students, isn’t that sensible? Advocate for your gifted kids. Encourage them to advocate for themselves. But be reasonable.

JATL

September 15th, 2010
10:06 am

mom2alex&max

September 15th, 2010
10:16 am

easter: I have to agree with you on spending the majority of the energy on the majority of the students. Makes sense. Public schools are, after all, a public institution and should serve the majority of the public. HOWEVER, the issue (in my eyes) here is that the rest of the resources are NOT evenly distributed to the the rest of the kids in the other ends of the spectrum. The way I see it, WAY, WAY, WAAAAAAAAYYYYYY more is used for the lower end than the higher end. Call me callous and a “female dog”, but I think it should be reversed. I agree with JATL on this.

Sage

September 15th, 2010
10:20 am

“But be reasonable.”

I think we as parents are tired of hearing that. It has taken a withering economy for us to figure out we are continually putting more in and getting less in return. Those of us that have always and will continue to do the right things are tired of being ignored. I am tired of being reasonable.

Bunch of Yentas

September 15th, 2010
10:27 am

So, almost everyone on here has a gifted child? That seems realistic.

How do you know your children’s IQs. My 7 year old hasn’t had an IQ test. They did put him in the gifted program at his school, but I have no idea how they determined that he needed that. Maybe just because he could read when he started school. But, that is probably attributable to the fact that we read to him everyday more than any inate abilities. Who knows?

I suppose I should find a reliable IQ test and administer it to him.

JJ

September 15th, 2010
10:30 am

Dang, I see DB is channelling MJG today…LOL…..

Yes, yes, and Yes. The schools HAVE to carter to the dumb kids, and everyone learns on the same level. The smart kids are bored, and they have NO challenges. A lot of illegals are draining our school system. They can’t speak english but they still have to be catered to and everyone is held down to their level.

The government wants our kids to be little solder drones. Line up, be quiet, and there is absolutely NO individuality.

A teacher

September 15th, 2010
10:57 am

JJ, I’d like to address your comment regarding “illegals”.

I have no way to address this without making broad generalizations, so I apologize in advance.

My middle school is ethnically diverse.

Again, these are generalizations.

The caucasion kids and the black kids are wild cards, they can be great students, organized and ready for class or they can be completely disorganized and not have the needed materials. I can’t classify them in a general group.

The Hispanic kids are amazingly well prepared. Not only do they have the materials they need, the homework is finished, but they have levels of maturity that I don’t see in any of the other students. Many of them are care givers for younger siblings and they are far better at taking care of themselves than any other students. Their intellegence levels vary, but I have none below intellegence.

The Asian kids are the by far and away the highest achievers academically. You never see one needing to borrow a pencil or without his assignment ready. But not only are their assignments ready, they are performed at levels higher than expected. However, their maturity levels are not as high as the hispanics. They have fewer responsibilities at home.

Basically, if you removed all of the white and black children from my school, we would have no discipline problems, everyones homework would be in on time and no one would be without their materials.

Clay

September 15th, 2010
11:01 am

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Your kids are above average. They aren’t gifted. Mozart was gifted.

David Granger

September 15th, 2010
11:04 am

Gifted students are always lumped in with the “mentally challenged” kids under the designation of “special needs”. But the thinking is that gifted kids will learn no matter WHAT you do, and since “special education” funds are limited, the lion’s share always goes to the education of the mentally challenged.

Bunch of Yentas

September 15th, 2010
11:05 am

I often say, “Do you have any idea how dumb ‘average’ is?”.

DB

September 15th, 2010
11:09 am

@Bunch of Yentas: No, not all of our children are gifted. And many of the kids are only gifted in certain areas. In middle school, a lot of the “giftedness”, or heightened aptitude, starts to level out, as kids start to catch up physically and in brain development. Up until then, they are all over the board, but at that point, the kids who are truly gifted, the ones with IQs over 145, really need the mental stimulation, and they just don’t get it.

My son’s IQ was tested by an educational psychologist when he was in 1st grade at his teacher and principal’s recommendation – they wanted to get a handle on exactly what they were dealing with. No one was surprised at the results, but he was definitely fast-tracked after that.

Usually, in public schools, the TAG programs (Talented and Gifted) are open to kids who score over a certain score on standardized tests and demonstrate academic ability. If you don’t know WHY your child was put in a gifted program, why in the heck aren’t you asking? Frankly, the TAG program in Fulton County is a joke –for automatic screening, they have to have a minimum of 85% on all tests and at least 90% on two of the three standarized tests (math, reading and comprehensive battery.) In addition, they have to be in the top 20% of students IN THE SYSTEM on the CRCT, and they have to have an overall average of 95% or higher. The TAG program is particularly subject to Type A parents who have their children “privately tested” when the school-administered scores don’t quite add up. But, of course, there is the subjective evaluation, which can override the testing: “Classroom teachers use the Characteristics Instrument for Screening Students (CISS) to identify students with superior abilities in five or more of the following areas: motivation, interests, communications skills, problem-solving abilities, memory, inquiry, insight, reasoning, creativity, and humor.” In other words, if the kid can talk a good game and not piss off the teacher, the teacher might just decide that they are “gifted”. So yeah, according to this — there’s a bunch of gifted kids out there.

Also, Bunch of Yentas, keep in mind that most of the parents on this blog tend to be pretty hands-on parents — which also encourages academic achievement.

catlady

September 15th, 2010
11:12 am

A teacher: My experience is the same as yours, but my school only has Anglo students and Latinos. And, extremely disproportionately, the Latinos are the honor roll kids, the Citizen of the Month kids, the perfect attendance kids, and the kids you don’t see in ISS. They may be poor, and have uneducated or illiterate parents, but they are clean and ready to learn. Their parents emphasize it, since many of them did not have the money to go in their “home country.” Of course, most of our “illegals” are NOT, just their parents are. 95% of the kids were born here. I’d ask JJ to come to Awards Day at my school and see who is bringing our school down. (Hint: It isn’t, in general, the Latinos.) It’s the good ole Georgia-bred white kids.

Let me be sure to say that not every Latino kid is on the honor roll. But instead of the 16% that is their makeup in our school, 50% of our honor roll is made up of bi-or tri-lingual students. And most teachers prefer to teach them for the above-noted characteristics of motivation and behavior.

SE GA Resident

September 15th, 2010
11:16 am

One issue I have regarding gifted is the use of gifted teachers. Gifted classes do not begin immediately at the beginning of the school year. These gifted teachers are having to do testing, not gifted testing, but general reading tests, etc. Also, there are students who get into the program in the 1st grade who are not really gifted but were early readers. I have seen lower IQ’s in the program who really struggle as they get older.

Dan

September 15th, 2010
11:16 am

Of course they are shorting gifted kids, the very premise of public school is to promote fairness “everyone is equal” which is of course hogwash. They don’t have honor rolls for fear of hurting the feelings of the average student, they don’t mark in red pen because it is a “hostile color” inevitably everyone becomes a C student BUT they give them A’s to help their self esteem

catlady

September 15th, 2010
11:16 am

Happy birthday, MJG. My son had his 30th yesterday. He is the child who was not expected to see his 4th birthday due to a traumatic brain injury (I told you about him). I am thrilled that he had his birthday! I cried at his party over the weekend–from joy!

Dan

September 15th, 2010
11:20 am

Good point Cat Lady, many immigrants are good students because they see the school as an opportunity, too many students here have the mind set that it is their right to be taught (which is exactly what the entitlement pols are telling them) as opposed to their opportunity to learn.

Bunch of Yentas

September 15th, 2010
11:20 am

That’s interesting DB. Thanks. His gifted teacher asked us to come to a conference this year and I am taking off to attend. He has been in that program since kindergarten, but honestly, I have no idea what they do in there. I generally haven’t asked a lot of questions or bothered the teachers as I know they have a lot to deal with when it comes to the other students. My kid hasn’t ever gotten into any trouble and have not missed any assignments or made anything but perfect scores so far, so I figured leave well enough alone.

He got a perfect score in all categories last year on the CRCT.

TechMom

September 15th, 2010
11:21 am

My parents got to fight both battles- I tested on the very high-end (144) and my brother on the very low end (~75). Our elementary school suggested I skip a grade but that was the year my parents held my brother back (much to the school’s dismay) and my mom didn’t want us to be in the same grade. Seemed like a really cruddy reason to me but I really don’t think my mom understood how much smarter I was than my peers and she really thought I was being fulfilled by the gifted program. But gifted programs are not created equal and at the time, while I loved the gifted teacher, I only saw her about 2 hours twice a week. The rest of the time I was left to fend for myself in my regular class. Lucky for my teachers I actually wanted good grades so I always got my work done first but then that left me with lots of free time. Some teachers figured out to give me harder work, some let me read and some let me help other students.
My parents could not afford private school so I was lucky enough to go to a really big high school where there were about 40-45 gifted students in my grade. That allowed for a gifted track and most of us shared academic class for 4 years (well 3 for me b/c I went to college full time my senior year). In those classes, you could ‘fit in’ b/c we were all more or less on the same level. We were allowed a little more leeway in thinking & there was little ‘busy’ work. But alas, some of my peers have gone on to do great things (advanced degrees & such) and others have floundered. I think a lot of us could have gone on to greater things had we been challenged a little more. I don’t feel like I’m living up to my ability at work by any means and perhaps if I had been exposed to more challenging ideas, I would have opted for a more challenging education and career.

Dan

September 15th, 2010
11:21 am

Interesting how people are excepting of testing in this regard??

a teacher

September 15th, 2010
11:24 am

“Of course they are shorting gifted kids, the very premise of public school is to promote fairness “everyone is equal” which is of course hogwash. They don’t have honor rolls for fear of hurting the feelings of the average student, they don’t mark in red pen because it is a “hostile color” inevitably everyone becomes a C student BUT they give them A’s to help their self esteem”

Uh, none of the above is true. We have honor roll, and awards day. We use red pen and our grades generally follow a Bell Curve.

Perhaps your reality is formed by the forwarded emails you receive from your oh-so-smart brother-in-law, but its just not real.

Sage

September 15th, 2010
11:25 am

@ A teacher Well if the Hispanics are illegally, they really don’t belong in our schools. Quite frankly, I am funding their well preparedness. I am sure their parents instill a sense of discipline in them to ensure they don’t “rock the boat” and create attention to themselves – in otherwords don’t screw up our families’ free luch in America. Their parents make sure they are getting their monies worth (what a joke) while I and others WORK AND PAY TAXES to keep them in school. In my school, which is diverse as well – it’s the White, Asian & Indian students that are the high achievers. The Hispanic are average, and in my particular area most are probably here “legally”.

Call me whatever you wish, but I am sure I speak for a lot of parents that are tired of making the money and the sacrifices for my kids. I am tired of being “reasonable”. If this kind of mentallity continues I really feel sorry for my kids and the adults that I dreamed they would possibly become.

sad APS dad

September 15th, 2010
11:26 am

I have two, gifted children. Yes, public schools are not serving gifted children. If my children were classified as mentally deficient or behaviorally disturbed, the system would bend over backwards to make sure they were placed in an environment where there academic and social needs are met. Because the “special need” of my kids requires a challenging academic curriculum in a disciplined, organized setting; the system doesn’t give a damn about where my kids go to school and won’t allow me to change their school unless the whole school fails AYP. But before everyone jumps down my throat for making my issue society’s fault, YES – I have placed one child in private school and next year the second will begin private school.

Mattie

September 15th, 2010
11:30 am

We have experienced gift programs in three states. In NJ, my oldest was one of 14 students in our district identified as highly gifted, and in 6th grade was bused to another school to take all his classes with this core group. It was not a good fit for him. He missed the kids he had been with since kindergarten, and also was not allowed to attend the monthly special events traditionally held for the 6th grade at his home school, even things that occurred after school hours. He stuck it out, but hated being “different”.

In FL the GT program was more of a tracking process, and that worked out well for my youngest in elementary and middle school.

Here in GA, the TAG option is a waste of funds, at least for the high school students. If kids want to do self-directed research and internships they don’t need a TAG teacher, just accessibility to resources. Fortunately, the AP and dual enrollment classes we have available have provided the higher level education my son needed.

benny hollars

September 15th, 2010
11:36 am

Sorry, there are more “low level” kids in school that “real gifted kids” so that means there are more voting parents from the low leve segment. It is about lawsuits. Why do you think there are no industrial arts programs in middle schools? The claim is they channelled the low level kids. At the school I am (which has a gifted program – actually only 3 gifted and 37 bright or politically connected students) the upper level kids take ag and the low level get the rest of the connections classes. Sort of a segregation.