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.

WarningTrack

September 15th, 2010
11:36 am

There is a solution to this if the public school system is failing your child: Private School, and there are many excellent ones in this region.
Our high IQ child, with multi talents, was “acing” through the gifted program in public school to the point it was a nice waltz. Private school takes sacrifices but it is well worth the investment. How many years of commitment are you talking about anyway?

a teacher

September 15th, 2010
11:41 am

Sage, the kids aren’t here illegally. They are Citizens just like you. They have the same rights as you.

Their parents may sometimes have come here illegally, but they rent homes in the area. The home owners charge a rent based on property taxes which goes to teh school, so they aren’t the drain you think they are. But even if they were, I am talking about US citizens when I am talking abotu these kids.

catlady

September 15th, 2010
11:49 am

Dan, we have also noticed that we can tell the parents who have been here the longest because frequently their kid revert to the “American way” of misbehavior and poor work. Just our experience here with Latino kids (half of their parents are from Mexico and the other half from Guatemala.)

retired teacher

September 15th, 2010
11:53 am

Gifted kids are being left out in educational planning. Also, I believe, many average to above average and high achieving kids are not receiving the services they deserve. Many gifted pull out programs are not they great…big fun projects little sustenance. After 30 plus years in public education and not 5 ears in retirement…public schools are a mess.

Gifted Ed. Teacher

September 15th, 2010
11:59 am

In GA, students that are qualified as gifted bring additional state funding into the schools. However, many times gifted teachers get no set aside monies for purchasing intructional materials and resources geared specifically for these “special needs” students. Gifted programs are often overlooked because of the total focus is on the lower end of the spectrum.

anonymous coward

September 15th, 2010
12:00 pm

My experiences aren’t currant but cetainly related. I graduated from HS in the late 70’s after the being the first freshman class to attend the new HS. For the first time I went to a school that actually had AP classes and a “Gifted” class and it made a huge difference for me. After my parents moved from California I was automatically pushed forward a grade. Every time our classes took the Iowa skills tests I scored in the 99.9 percentile, and all the reading and writing tests scored as 12+ grade level. Since my parents divorced I was living with a single mom and spend a lot of time helping to take care of my siblings and things around the house. When I got a chance to take all the AP classes in HS, I was in heaven because I actually had access to things that I had only read about – advanced chemistry, advanced physics, advanced english where I was directed to read things that had never occurred to me before. For me and at that time, the AP and gifted programs (which I think were very new) were wonderful. In my sophomore year I was IQ tested as part of the AP program and placed at 146. My struggle was more with the social aspects of high school – I didn’t like it, I didn’t fit in, and it was a waste of time. I tried to convince my mom to let me go back to California to live with my grandparents for a year to establish residency so I could go to UC Berkeley, but they wouldn’t allow it. I got an offer from Georgia Tech to start college in my senior year of high school (I was 16) but they wouldn’t allow that, either. I wasn’t too happy about that so I basically stopped in my HS senior year and did nothing.
Looking back on it, my experience was that the schools provided a pretty good place for me to excel, and I was very fortunate to have some very good teachers, but my parents were clueless even though they wanted what they thought the best for me. I don’t know what things are like today…

Dan @11:21 – what the heck does”excepting of testing mean”?

Sage

September 15th, 2010
12:01 pm

“Sage, the kids aren’t here illegally. They are Citizens just like you. They have the same rights as you.”

Sorry, but that kind of socialist mentallity is why we are at this boiling point. Fine, we’ll call them anchor children. That’s what they are.

“Their parents may sometimes have come here illegally, but they rent homes in the area. The home owners charge a rent based on property taxes which goes to teh school, so they aren’t the drain you think they are. But even if they were, I am talking about US citizens when I am talking abotu these kids.”

Those illegal parents with anchor children do pay rent. But that is not enough for the families per student per rented household. Let’s not forget the WIC $ they get, and the Peachcare they get – all on my back. Brings the word “anchor” to a whole new meaning, with the heavy burden they have on our country. Why are you and others putting blinders on?

anonymous coward

September 15th, 2010
12:03 pm

I meant to write – My experiences aren’t current, as opposed to my experiences being a type of fruit… oh well.

RJ

September 15th, 2010
12:06 pm

” 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.”

I’m sorry, but JJ you are dead wrong, yet again. Are you not the same person that blogged that “Mexican” kids are the fattest kids you’ve ever seen? Your assumptions are way off base. The Latino population in my school are the hardest working. When we request a parent meeting, we usually get 2 or 3 people to come up. Everyone takes an interest in their kids education. Imagine if the American kid’s parents all did the same.

Racism is defined as “The belief that one race is superior to all others.” Does that sound like you?!

Ezra

September 15th, 2010
12:21 pm

“Imagine if the American kid’s parents all did the same”
Then they would call us racist!

GiftedForEveryone

September 15th, 2010
12:24 pm

First of all the article title is very misleading…gifted and genius are two different items when it comes to public schools..

Years ago, to be entered into the gifted program REQUIRED genius IQ..and only a very small percentage were in the program. TODAY, EVERY child is gifted in public school, advanced or AP ready..yet check these “gifted” children when it comes to SAT and ACT scores?

MOST of these GIFTED children, shoved into AP and Honors classes much to the bragging rights of their parents, NEED TO TAKE THE COLLEGE ENTRANCE EXAMS MORE THAN ONCE IN ORDER TO ATTAIN ACCEPTABLE SCORES!..Does that SOUND like a gifted child to you?

Chilldren who are “genius” level need to be with a different social setting than children in public schools..a montessori enviroment which fosters learning based on MENTAL ability vs age. Home schooling or private schools are more able to handle these children. Public schools are goverment schools who funding of education is based MAINLY on what it produces on paper to the school board. The more “gifted/geniuses” it shows the more money it gets…

gtmom

September 15th, 2010
12:25 pm

Ok, so you challenge these kids with a gifted program. What next? I found college at Tech to only be challenging if I put in more than required typical course work. And bam… I hit the work force.. My boss could care less if I am challenged or stimulated. I am supposed to do design (engineering) and do it well. It is boring (I have moved up as high as I can technically in 10 years). I miss the days of new classes at GA Tech. Now, I am in real life…and work and life can be boring and not stimulating. So I think I am in favor of teaching kids that life will not cater around them because of their IQ. I know my job could care less about mine. Teach your kids early on that life isn’t about schooling is about making them contributing members of society. I see lots of “geniuses” in my field…. and they are failing. I had to get over my own hump to realize that sometimes I will be bored at work and not challenged (friends that graduated with me are still searching for the grass is green on the other side job – it is not there imho).

Ezra

September 15th, 2010
12:25 pm

These gifted kids we are discussing, exactly what do they contribute to society? If it means they would get a scholarship or grant to study the big bang theory, I think it is a waste of tax payer money. However, we should train less talented that we need ditch diggers, brick carriers, and mud makers. Many times kids can not be as successful as parents want them to be. I do agree we are spending and devoting way to much to retarded children.

ByPassTheSystem

September 15th, 2010
12:29 pm

I gave up on the system..had my daughter finish up her HS classes online, and enter college at 16 because she was ready and simply bored out of her mind in school..

Best decision I ever made…

Melissa

September 15th, 2010
12:29 pm

As parents of a gifted student, we fought hard to get him labeled as gifted at his school when he was testing four grades above his level in kindergarten. The principal told us he would never be above average, only average by skipping grades. Fast forward, he’s 13 years old in 10th grade and an honor student. He wants to go to college next year because he will only have 8 credits left to graduate. He is where he is because we fought for him and still he has not reached his full potential. There are no programs out there to keep these kids reaching higher, unless a parent does the research, but there are several out there for “special needs” students and kids that need additional academic help that are offered by school systems.

Sage

September 15th, 2010
12:31 pm

“Racism is defined as “The belief that one race is superior to all others.” Does that sound like you?!”

RJ by inacurately labeling JJ a racist, you are in fact trying to appear more superior to him/her.
Really, what does that accomplish other than making you look like a hypocrite.

It is the socialist attitudes that have brought us to this point – call everyone that has never welcomed illegals or their children racists or homophobes. RJ, what do you stand to gain by embracing illegal activity? My bet is nothing but a superior attitude towards them and some sort of payback when you feel the time is right for you.

Laurie

September 15th, 2010
12:32 pm

As a mother of a child in the gifted programs, I have a definite opinion on 2 of the questions raised.

Do the kids on the low end of the spectrum get too much of the resources leaving the gifted kids out in the cold? Yes. And the resources are more expensive. There is a family down the street whose child has special needs, and gets a special bus ride to a special school 5 days a week at the expense of tax payers. Ultimately, I think public schools should be responsible for teaching children at the median range of intelligence for their age group. So those parents with kids on the low or high end of the IQ spectrum should pay the difference if they want their children to get an education more specific to their needs. I can’t afford private school for my child, so she would not benefit from such a set up. But it’s the fairest and most efficient way to handle the issue, in my opinion.

Should kids be able to skip two and three grades ahead to be with their intellectual peers? Maybe. My daughter is very intelligent, but she is only as mature as other kids in her age group. I think each child should be evaluated for intelligence and maturity before making such a decision. But the choice should be available. My child is with her age group, and I’m glad because she has an advantage in the classroom, and friends of her own age to play with.

Ezra

September 15th, 2010
12:33 pm

I have a three year old and he can play starcraft. He makes the units gather minerals, builds barracks and other buildings, and trains marines. When attacked he can group the marines to attack the invaders. But you know, he does not know anything about Romeo and Juiet. He must be retarded.

David S

September 15th, 2010
12:37 pm

Government schools are failing all children. Parents are failing all of them by entrusting their education to the state. Modern overnment schools were never envisioned to be centers for the education of the young. They are about creating “good citizens” who are indoctrinated into the principles of state obedience.

Expecting anything other than that from the government schools is society’s mistake and failing, not that of the schools.

http://www.johntaylorgatto.com

LAFmom

September 15th, 2010
12:37 pm

I agree gifted kids are not getting what they need in public schools. We were told by many teachers that our son was “slow” because he didn’t do his classwork or homework, but when he took the tests he scored A’s. We had a few teachers notice that he was actually bored and gave him special assignments but overall most teachers considered him a problem. Unfortunately, to our dismay he dropped out of high school because he was bored with it.

Our youngest daughter (10) was getting done with her work before other students and actually got in trouble for helping the slower students. Before we recently moved to a new school system, she was getting very frustrated in her classes since she was bored. The new school is much better than the old one, she is more challenged than before but she still tends to get bored in class. Luckily her and our other daughter (12) love to learn things on their own. They read books constantly, watch history and science shows and research topics on the internet – anything they can to learn more. They always score above average on all the testing the schools do and read 3-5 levels above their grade levels. If we could afford to put them in private school we would.

The kids get their high intelligence from their dad. In high school he was often kicked out of classes for asking questions that teachers were unable (or unwilling) to answer about the subject. Most classes he only showed up on test days, always getting A’s on test and never cracking open a school book. His mom says that he was always reading any kind of book that he could get his hands on. I’m sure that if he had been encouraged more by teachers and the school that he could have gone on further in a career than he has (not that he has done poorly). He has multiple sclerosis and was told by the social security office that due to his education and training that he was smart enough and capable enough of finding other jobs to work so he did not qualify for disability – nothing about the fact that he can barely walk some days or stay awake. So basically they are saying he’s too smart to be on disability!

Sage

September 15th, 2010
12:39 pm

“So those parents with kids on the low or high end of the IQ spectrum should pay the difference if they want their children to get an education more specific to their needs.”

Laurie, I think this is a great solution. At this point, I would love to take my kids out of public schools but that is not feasible. Many parents also are at this point. I feel for the many parents that are in private schools being forced to pull out of private due to finances as well.

Ufortunately, I can think of a myriad of arguments the “other side” will come up with. Equality and racism will be thrown around as well, sit back and watch! :(

PW

September 15th, 2010
12:39 pm

“Gifted” is oftentimes, in the eye of the beholder. Having said that, GA public schools does a poor job of dealing with the education of it’s children PERIOD. The teacher is expected to manage to work with the 2 kids with ADD, the one with ADHD, the 2 with anger issues and the 1 who is so far behind academically he hasn’t got a chance. She is to do this while at the same time, hoping to teach the other 14 kids in her class how to read, write and handle math. Heaven forbid if one of the kids gets stuck and needs her help while she’s wrangling with one of the anger issues kids who just punched another kid in the stomach.

This is not a fantasy situation. It is an everyday occurrence.

We are not just shorting “gifted” kids we are shorting them all.

Big Daddy

September 15th, 2010
12:42 pm

In my opinion, attaching the word “gifted” is the real injustice. Whatever happened to good students and poor students? Another case of the tail wagging the dog.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

September 15th, 2010
12:43 pm

this editorial about gifted students ran in the paper earlier this week

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/gifted-students-bored-and-612385.html

Scared

September 15th, 2010
12:44 pm

The real point should be that the special needs programs are consuming such a large portion of the resources that even those kids only one to two standard deviations above the norm are being short changed. Any child that is above average needs to fight the system just to get ahead.

We also tell many bright kids to persue interests in the arts and ignore the sciences. We tell them we respect doctors, engineers and scientists but the money is in politics and law. The bright kids see this and realize the game is not as we claim it to be.

This is why other countries are catching up with us. They are focusing their educational resources on those with the potential for driving their economies. They also target their high potential students into programs that can drive their economies.

David S

September 15th, 2010
1:07 pm

Whatever happened to not labelling kids period? Gifted is simply a measure of learning ability. A regimented, inflexible system that segregates children based on arbitrary measures such as age fails to account for individual differences in learning progess and provides no flexibility to allow that progress to happen as their particular makeup dictates.

The learning potential of EVERY child is stiffled by the current format of both government and many private schools. Multi-grade classrooms of the past that provided opportunities both beyond and behind a current arbitrary level as well as the opportunity for children to interact with more advanced students in learning circumstances and less advanced students in teaching circumstances provides probably the best scenario for advancing the educational opportunities of all students. Many Montessori schools follow this format as did the small community “one room schools” of the past.

Gifted unfortunately has been turned into an unfortunate “badge” for those so labelled, but we fail as a society by not treated every child as gifted, for if they were provided with the right learning environment, all would outperform their current limited potentials.

But as I said before, that is not the goal of modern (post Dewey)government schools.

Sage

September 15th, 2010
1:17 pm

Well this discussion has been an eye opener for me. I guess my role as a good parent and advocate has become even greater and more challenging. The hardest part of this whole situation is that I have taught my kids to “be” and “do” all the right things, when all this time there are more forces than I have ever imagined undermining all my hard work. I am also starting to see why we have become such an “entitlement” driven society. After this discussion, I feel “entitled” to fight for me and my family and our future.

I just hope that everyone that is embracing the wrong people for the wrong reasons has figured out that they truely are have the most to loose when it is all said and done.

Good afternoon!

deidre_NC

September 15th, 2010
1:17 pm

@catlady–happy birthday to your miracle son!!!

deidre_NC

September 15th, 2010
1:28 pm

@sage….’illegals’ are not the only ones by any means who get food stamps and wic…i work at a place where every 1week of the month i see tons of white people coming in and buying $300 to $500 worth of groceries…and let me tell you they dont buy what i buy…i work my butt off and we eat very budget wise food-these people buy steaks and shrimp and whatever they want…and same for a lot of wic recipients. then they also buy their smokes and beer and wine and dvds and cds…things a lot of people who work their butts off cant afford it buy. we also have the mexicans who usually come in on sunday mornings and i have yet to see one of these families use food stamps. some do have wic, but the income requirements for wic are quite hight…you can get that even with a failry decent income. we also have a small asian population in this area (thank god they own the asian type restaurants!!) and they also never use food stamps. its all white people. im sure that may be different in some areas, but my experience has been that the asians and hispanics are very hard working and will do whatever kind of work they can find to support their families. i have often wondered who would fill their shoes if they were all made to leave.

sorry to get off task here :(…just got my feathers a little ruffled.

deidre_NC

September 15th, 2010
1:32 pm

and since my feathers are already ruffled i wont go into the nightmares i had trying to get the school to help my above average kids…it was hell. and it was years ago so i see things havent changed much. it really is up to the parents to make sure your highly intelligent kids are given the resources they need to excel. if you dont-and cant afford extras like camps and private schools, you could very well end up with a juvenile deliquent on your hands. do whatever you can do to make sure they have the resources they need to use their abilities as they should and not left to their own devices!

Mom of 4

September 15th, 2010
2:08 pm

I think the article makes several good points.
I don’t think we need to bash education outright, though. It used to be, if you were disabled, your family was not provided any assistance at all, and now we have become a more enlightened society and realize that disabled students deserve an education as well. Yet, we do need to compare the costs. I know as a former high school AP science teacher, that I worked hours and hours and hours after school to set up labs, write challenging tests, tutor my students in the difficult subject I taught, keep in contact with parents, and grade VERY time consuming lab reports and papers. Sometimes, it would kind of irk me to see people who got paid my same salary have 2 students to care for all day and basically have no work to take home at all and no reason to stay late or come early to work (which I did every day). And when you do the math – you realize that the cost to educate the 2 students that teacher taught was far more expensive than the 120 students I taught – even when you consider that those 120 students had 4 or 5 other teachers. Yet, I don’t think we need to discontinue support for students on the low end of the spectrum – I think it is very difficult for many of us to understand what a hardship taking care of some of those students can be – but perhaps we need to reevaluate and rebalance a bit. We do need to focus more on high achievement tests like AP tests rather than minimum skills test like graduation tests. By always focusing on getting 100% of students to reach the same minimum, we lose time and resources that could be used to get a less than 100% achievement at a MUCH higher level. As a mom of a gifted student (and 3 younger ones not old enough for a “gifted” program) I have been very happy with the schooling my students have received. I think I’d worry more if I had a “middle” student. Those students seem to get few of the “extras”. In the end, our schools often do a pretty good job educating a wide array of students. And this article just points out some improvements that are needed.

As far as skipping grades, I think, as a former educator, that this is usually NOT in the best interest of the child. I’m sure there are instances in which this is useful, but there are lots of smart kids out there. A lot! And there are lots of opportunities in AP classes in high school for those students to take – even in 9th grade – without having to skip a grade.

Denise

September 15th, 2010
2:10 pm

Happy Birthday, MJG! Many blessings to ya!

motherjanegoose

September 15th, 2010
2:26 pm

catlady…congrats to you and your son. That was a wonderful story.

deidre…you are singing the same song I have sung for years…why are able bodied folks not working and “purchasing” better food on my dime? Is there ANYTHING they could do? I have been attacked on this thinking before ( MOMANIA) but I see and hear it ( from educators) all over the country. Becky knows about it too. Are we the only three?

We had some WONDERFUL Hispanic contractors paint out house. They were recommended by a good friend. They worked so hard and did extra things too. I would recommend them in a minute. The job looks great! I treated them with respect, as they deserved it for giving ABOVE AND BEYOND an honest day’s work for an honest wage. Refreshing!

Thanks for the birthday wishes…I even got an e-mail ( today) from someone I briefly met in Texas on Saturday…so thoughtful!

RJ

September 15th, 2010
2:29 pm

@Sage, I call it as I see it. You don’t have tlike it, but it’s how I see it!

“call everyone that has never welcomed illegals or their children racists or homophobes.” Homophobes? Do you even KNOW what you’re talking about. Secondly, I never stated that I accepted illegal activity, however continuing to rant about a race of people is definitely racism. I support all efforts to close our borders to illegal aliends, but I won’t judge innocent kids. Somehow this makes me a hypocrite. As for payback, hmmm…I’ll just let that one go since it makes absolutely no since to me. But again, I don’t think that you even KNOW what you’re talking about; just wanted to have something to say. Next time please THINK before speaking. Of course if you have nothing else to say you can call ME a racist, socialst hypocrite!

You are welcome to rant on about what you THINK you know but understand this…I’ve yet to call out any one race of people and make blanket statements about them repeatedly. All Mexicans are not ILLEGALLY here. I’ll let you get back to you tea party! Peace!

gee ezzra

September 15th, 2010
2:32 pm

I’m sure you are so proud. I felt the same when my kid saved the princess in Mario II

Becky

September 15th, 2010
3:05 pm

Preach it deidre…Of course as MJG said, only so many people see it..I see it a lot and yes it pisses me off..As y’all do, I get up and come to work everyday to buy things that I want and need..BUT, I buy these things 95% of the time on sale and as deidre said, these people are out buying filet while I’m eating bologna..Or they are buying engery drinks at 3 or 4 bucks a pop and I’m drinking water..Or the big one that gets me (sorry for the repeat) is the pizza place that accepts the EBT card..WTF??

HB

September 15th, 2010
3:32 pm

Becky, some states allow elderly, disabled, and homeless food stamp recipients to purchase food at restaurants that have signed contracts with the states to provide meals to those customers at discounted rates. It’s an effort to make it easier for those who cannot easily prepare their own food, either because they have physical difficulties or lack access to a kitchen, to get hot meals.

David S

September 15th, 2010
3:34 pm

When government controls the process, politics will always run the show.

Dan

September 15th, 2010
3:39 pm

@ a teacher sorry I didn’t realize you spoke for all teachers, and while clearly no one method is applied to all but all that I have mentioned has been discussed on this blog and my particular exposure to it was based on the information my 10yr old niece brings home from her Dekalb public school as well as a few teachers in my social circle. While I applaud you and your school for not falling into such a trap, if you are unaware of the proliferation of such inane procedures perhaps you should look outside your school

Becky

September 15th, 2010
3:40 pm

@HB..I’m all for that, but the people that I know that use food stamps to purchase pizza are none of the things that you mentioned..Nor is the person that goes to the grocery store and buys energy drinks..I’m all for people getting help, but I really think that there should be limits on what can be bought with food stamps..

HB

September 15th, 2010
3:45 pm

Well, if they’re buying the pizza, my understanding is the card they swipe must belong to someone who the state thinks is homeless, over a certain age, or disabled. Not all cards can be used at restaurants.

motherjanegoose

September 15th, 2010
4:10 pm

HB…deidre, Becky and I are seeing things you are not seeing and I am meeting folks from coast to coast who are seeing it too. I know that the 3 of us have been around the block more than once. I have been around several blocks and in lots of grocery stores. If I did not know better, I would think I am the only one who thinks this idea is crazy ( of those who eat better on food stamps than the rest of us) but I hear it from hundreds out there. Maybe it is not happening in your area?

If anyone can afford a swanky cell phone, PLEASE buy your groceries with money you have earned and not mine. YOU DO NOT NEED THAT FANCY CELL PHONE….people all over the world are REALLY starving and they do not have cell phones….they simply need dinner and would be happy with a bologna sandwich…not crab legs.

Becky

September 15th, 2010
4:13 pm

None of the above, it’s just allowed there..Not sure why, but it is..

TechMom

September 15th, 2010
4:59 pm

Haha – I had to laugh at this statement from the editorial: “At its core, this solution must begin with an unflinching commitment to identify all students who are gifted regardless of what they look like, how much money their parents earn or whether they live in Hahira or Atlanta.” I lived in Hahira from 8-12th grade. They should have chosen Morvin or Ray City, which doesn’t feed into one of the largest high schools in south Ga (Lowndes) that has a gifted program (and lots of AP courses & joint enrollment with Valdosta State). The interesting thing is that there was not a gifted program in middle school but there is gifted, AP and joint enrollment when you get to HS. If kids didn’t completely check out by the time they got to HS, there was some opportunity to actually take advanced courses but the numbers of kids who were ‘lost’ in middle school is probably not a pretty number… just adds to my point that I think the public education system really falls apart in middle school.

Heather

September 15th, 2010
5:18 pm

I WAS a gifted kid in the public schools, with IQ above 145. Back in the ’70’s and ’80’s. Gifted kids have ALWAYS gotten the short end of the stick in the public schools, and I think they always will. Public schools are simply not formatted to give gifted kids what they need, and, as soon as anyone really tries, we hear a lot of noise about it being elitism. My public school system did at least try to do something for me, but it wasn’t close to enough. My husband’s school system never even tried. Our kids are little, still, but are already showing signs of high IQ (for example, my 3 year-old figured out how to read right about her 3rd birthday–without any special help from us). They’ll be homeschooled. My parents didn’t have a choice, and neither did my husband’s. But we do, and we won’t knowingly put our kids through what we went through.

deidre_NC

September 15th, 2010
5:19 pm

ok..when i got laid off from a failry well paying job (as some of you may remember for NINE months) i applied for food stamps (and everthing else i could) for what i thought would be a very short time…it ended up being 9 months of unemployment, all my savings gone and credit cards maxed out. i didnt even qualify for food stamps being on unemployment. i actually didnt qualify for anything. i did hit the food bank a couple of times, but at that time the food banks were having a really hard time keeping food so i xtopped going there, thinking others really needed the little the banks had worse than i did I was still thinking it was going to be a short unemployment time..haha) point is….my daughter and i had cell phones, and i would have gladly cancelled them but i had a contract. they will only let you suspend it for certain period of time…i did have the tv service suspended for 6 months…the limit…so i can understand when people on food stamps and such have a cell phone…maybe they have a contract they cant get out of. my point is…why is it allowed to buy a freaking birthday cake from the bakery on food stamps? why is it ok to buy a whole live lobster? how much does it take to by a cake mix and make the blasted cake? this is happening so often in my area it just kills me. ill get off that rant..its not even the subject…my point earlier was that i have not seen the first hispanic family using food stamps. i know that may not be the case everywhere. and i am definately for closing our borders somehow….but the people who are here and working leave them alone. its more than i can say for a lot of americans. if they shoved all the illegals or whatever you want to call them out…whos gonna work in the stinky smelly nasty chicken houses…or who is going to work in the 100 degree weather picking tomatoes or whatever? id say if they could get rid of all the illegals there would be a lot of work left undone.

Steve

September 15th, 2010
5:28 pm

It is amazing how a person expresses their opinion and gets bashed for speaking. Sounds like what is happening in D.C. and everyone speaks how dysfunctional and sorry they are. It is a person’s opinion and they have a right to it. For all you bashing each other I hope you have a really bad day.

HB

September 15th, 2010
5:34 pm

MJG, I never said abuse of the system doesn’t happen or that people don’t ever make frivilous grocery purchases like crab legs with EBT funds (I’m really not sure where you got that idea). Becky wondered why a pizza place would accept food stamps, so I shared what I know about the restaurant program. She then said she knows of people not in that situation who use EBT at restaurants and didn’t think that should be allowed. My point was that there are indeed limits and those not meeting certain criteria are not “allowed” to purchase food at restaurants. If people do not meet the criteria for participating in the restaurant plan but still buy the restaurant food, then appears that either a) they are using the card of someone who does fall into one of those categories, b) the cards are misprogrammed, or c) they committed fraud when signing up for food stamps by saying they do qualify.

motherjanegoose

September 15th, 2010
6:05 pm

HB…I got the idea about crab legs because I SAW it when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with my daughter and my blood pressure spiked so high, my husband was worried. It was Easter Sunday. We went to church and then out to dinner, as we both were working and could readily afford to eat out. I ran into Kroger to pick up some things. The lady in front of me was using FOOD STAMPS to buy crab legs, an Easter cake and was furious that she could not use them for a bag of ice as ‘I AM HAVING A PARTY AND NEED ICE …I NEED IT NOW AND HAVE NO CASH!” See, I would not have known a thing about the FOOD STAMPS except the fact that she was arguing with the cashier who would not allow a bag of ice to be purchased with FOOD STAMPS. THAT is where I got the idea. Most of the IDEAS I share on this blog have actually happened to me and since I have now been in 50 states, I have seen just a few things. At age 51 ( today) I have seen MORE than just a few.

FRAUD HB is everywhere…many are proud they are beating the system. The rest of us pay for it.

How about the lady who tried to buy DOG FOOD with food stamps and when the clerk refused…she came back with a ROAST and said, “guess he will eat good tonight!” I saw this with my own eyes.

deidre…point taken about the phone…what about those who are driving fancy cars with acrylic nails…that has to cost a bit more than a box of cereal or a can of soup.

Fed Up

September 15th, 2010
7:17 pm

This all boils down to entitlement. The government let illegals and ghetto mamas take and take for so long, now what your seeing is former hard working folks sitting back and milking the system. I personally am not buying into the fact that someone says they ’see all white and no hispanics’ use our welfare system, that is just plain piffle.

Our illegals and aliens of today are NOT the same as the immigrants that passed through Ellis Island. The current generation of “immigrants” is raping our country and we are letting them. They are teaching Americans how to crack the system. If we let this continue, we all just give up and give into socialism. That may be the ultimate goal of some but is pretty sad that we are turning on our own people to appease the illegals and aliens.

You people are tossing aside bright American kids to fight for themselves or deal with it. How can you show more compassion to strangers than your own. Your creating a class warfare and you’ll be the ones that are left behind.

Betty

September 15th, 2010
8:54 pm

I haven’t had a chance to read all of the comments today and don’t know if this article has been mentioned but I looked it up to share because I remembered reading it in Newseek a while back–it was written by the mother of a son with Autism and an advanced daughter who feels that school funding should be shifted.

To quote the author, Stephanie Lindsley in in 2009

” My son will probably meet minimum standards, but most parents of autistic children describe goals for their kids in much more modest terms: being able to bathe themselves, get a job, or live semi-independently. My daughter has the potential for much more. If she were given even a fraction of the customized education that my son receives, she could learn the skills needed to prevent the next worldwide flu pandemic, or invent a new form of nonpolluting transportation. Perhaps she could even discover a cure for autism.”

http://www.newsweek.com/2009/02/27/autism-and-education.html

deidre_NC

September 15th, 2010
9:10 pm

i actually clarified my remarks about hispanics not using food stamps….where i live and work i dont see it. i said that im sure that is probably different in other areas. what i do see are people buying very expensive food with their ebt cards and then using their cash for beer and cigarrettes. and phone cards. and dvds and cds and games for their xbox or whatever. i see this every day. welll…5 days a week. and the people i see where i work are white people. some you can tell are victims of recent misfortune…they are a tad hesitant..a little ashamed. then you see the ones, the mom is there with her ebt card….her daughter and her kids are their with theirs…trust me when i say…when you are around this everyday you can tell the ones who were raised to be on government assistance and the ones who werent. i have no problem with people getting help when they need it. i have a problem with those to whom it is a way of life. sometimes for generations. and their kids are automatically put on the free lunch and breakfast program at school, so they dont even have to buy the kids but 1 meal a day. my problem is that people work hard for a little money and dont qualify for anything. i work very hard at my job…and there are times when i can barely buy groceries. it hasnt always been that way for me…not until i lost my job due to this stupid recession. i just think working people should be able to get some kind of help when they need it. i know older people who get under $1000 a month in social security and are not able to work and get between $10 and $25 a month on food stamps. this system is so twisted it is incredible.

Alecia

September 15th, 2010
11:13 pm

I love the folks that get in line at the Dekalb Farmer’s Market with the EBT cards and buy expensive imported cheese and organic meats. When you spend $100 on an EBT card, but only have 2-3 small bags of groceries, then you are abusing the system.

HB

September 15th, 2010
11:44 pm

sigh

MJG, as I said before (please read what I actually wrote), I’m not claiming people never abuse the system, and I never said otherwise. In fact, I actually said that the system only “allows” certain groups to purchase restaurant food, and that those doing so who do not meet those criteria could be committing fraud.

So what I don’t understand is where you are getting the idea that I think no one on food stamps ever buys frivolous items. I was not questioning if you had actually had seen someone buying crab legs — I believe you have. I was questioning why you seemed to think I’m arguing that abuse of the system doesn’t exist and then proceeded to lecture me about it. Just because I dared to point out the reasoning behind states allowing EBT cards being used at some restaurants? I honestly thought that Becky might want to know that since she seemed perplexed by it. I wasn’t expressing an opinion or criticizing someone else’s — I was trying to share some facts about a specific program! But I guess as usual you read my posts looking for something to disagree with, and once again managed to twist what I write into something else entirely. It’s like you’re having an argument with yourself! SHEESH

motherjanegoose

September 16th, 2010
4:07 am

HB…yes, I do tend to disagree with you…you are correct on that. We live in different worlds…so it seems. Becky, deidre and now Alecia live in mine, others too! I am all for helping people but generations of abuse does not IMO help people.

HB

September 16th, 2010
7:46 am

You still don’t get it, do you? I didn’t write any of the things you were lecturing me about or express any disagreement with Becky (or even address anything that dierdre wrote in her very thoughtful posts, but I really enjoyed reading them). The only thing I disagreed with you on is your misinterpretation of what I wrote. Honestly, I think you decide what you want to lecture me about and completely disregard what actually write. Either that or you have really poor reading comprehension skills.

catlady

September 16th, 2010
3:02 pm

Thank you, deidra and MJG–God blessed us beyond measure by “bringing him back” to us. I rejoice every day, through the good and the bad.

Warrior Woman

September 16th, 2010
4:26 pm

@Mom of 4 – AP classes aren’t offered until high school. If you wait that long to challenge gifted and above average children, you’ve blown it. The ability to move ahead in areas where you are gifted is critical, and skipping grades, as difficult as it is, may often be the only achievable way to move on in public elementary and middle schools.

light

September 17th, 2010
7:05 am

Let God will be done thru this blog http://lightoftheearth.blogspot.com/

www.honeyfern.org

September 17th, 2010
10:54 am

Commented and it still says “awaiting moderation.” Is it?

Juliet

September 17th, 2010
2:12 pm

Mental retardation is a classification, just as is emotional disturbance. “Special needs” is too broad a term for the context of this article. This article is speaking of students who have severe deficiencies and whom fall at the IQ benchmark of 55 or lower. It’s significant for a few reasons. One, there are many types of “special needs” students who CAN actually benefit from education and grow and learn. However, students with such severe disabilities can’t. It’s not something I say to be cruel. It’s reality.

Despite the fact that there is a comparable number of students with a “gifted” IQ, the students who are gifted have no protection in most states, and nothing on a federal level. When you talk about FAPE (Fair Appropriate Practices in Education) the students with IQs of 55 or lower are assured “education,” but the students who are gifted are not included at all.

It’s absurd. I am, for various reasons, opposed to public education entirely, but I am especially opposed to a public education system that ensures that students who are mentally incapable of learning get an “education,” when the students who could be world leaders, inventors, scientists, etc are not given adequate or appropriate educational opportunities.

Most people are afraid to be so blunt, as it isn’t PC to discuss the disabled so boldly. I am not afraid. I feel that if we’re going to support “special needs” that needs to include the special needs of ALL students.

It’s a sad situation and says a lot about our society that gifted children are scorned and not given the opportunities they need. I grew up in a family that had several students in special education. I was one of them. I was “emotionally disturbed,” and I got that classification and an IEP because – at 15 – I asked for it. I went to an alternative placement and that school was designed for students who were both “emotionally disturbed” but also very bright. It is not a typical school at all, even as special education programs go.

So, I am not at all opposed to special education. I just think that we’re using resources very poorly when we spend so much on students who simply cannot learn and so little on students who not only can learn, but often need and desperately want educational challenges.

Rolade Berthier

September 19th, 2010
5:11 am

Yes, we should do something about our gifted children. Giftedness is a life experience. One day our gifted children will be parents, employees, employers, policy makers, politicians, etc… Our way of life has been influenced, and will be affected, by decisions and actions of gifted people, e.g. inventors, historians, artists, Nobel Prize winners, etc. Giftedness is wasted or under-utilised due to lack of recognition, encouragement and appropriate measures.

Yes, most public institutions don’t cater to giftedness and thus there has been a rise in private education and specialised schooling. Unfortunately, those from low socio-economic background families miss out on this.

I identify with Oswald’s results. These have also been my findings and experience.

Rolade
Author ‘Intelligence, Giftedness: Pre-cradle to Post-grave’

Louisa Russo

September 19th, 2010
3:08 pm

I am telling my story to maybe help someone else…

I have traveled an exhausting road that has worn me down with disappointment, heartache, and many times overwhelming despair. One might think that a child that is gifted would make it somehow. There were days of profound reasoning; to explain to my son why he had to go to school when he felt he was unchallenged. In the years that have past in grade school he had lost that spark. He has always felt that he was a mismatch between goals of the grade he was in and the skills he had already mastered. Many a day he has woken up in the morning crying and begging not to go to school. I always asked for him to do his best; however, signs of his motivational paralysis were displayed through daydreaming (common in giftedness) and underachieving in school. He really never showed his true capabilities. If he were given that opportunity, he would have shown it. It was his frustration of having to show what he knows in order to get those higher level academics, and even if he did he could not go there. He knew that.

So, with a heavy heart I made the decision to withdraw him from Public School and then Private School. All I ever wanted for him was to be healthy and happy. He was never happy in all his grade school years. He has never wanted to go enthusiastically to any school.

Now, he is home schooled. I see that gleam in his eye and that flame within him ignited again because he is learning what comes natural to him. He is learning Algebra I, Electronics, and Physical Science. You should have seen him solve for X in his head, this is who he is and all he ever wanted was to be recognized for his abilities and given the opportunity to do so.

The Mom in me loving my son beyond all else had to do what my son so hungers for. These are the decisions in life that I will look back upon. Whether he attends college at 12 years old, has his PHD in his twenties, or maybe does something that changes the world, I had to do this, to follow his heart and know this is the best decision I can make based upon all of the above and the peace within me making that decision.