Is America ignoring gifted children?
We need something new to discuss, so here's an article I found.
Is American Education Neglecting Gifted Children?" by David Nagel, T.H.E. Journal, November 16, 2009 ---
America's 3 million gifted and talented students are getting the shaft in the vast majority of K-12 schools, according to a new report from the National Association for Gifted Children and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted. The report found that gifted students are being neglected at all levels in the United States, from weak or non-existent policies at the state level to uneven funding at the district level to a lack of teacher preparation at the classroom level.
The report, " 2008-2009 State of the States in Gifted Education," pointed to several failures on the part of U.S. education, from a a severe lack of commitment on a national level to spotty services and little or no support to get teachers trained to deal with gifted students.
Some of the findings included:
·A full fourth of states provided zero funding for programs and resources for gifted students last year;
·In states that did provide funding, there was little consistency, with per-pupil expenditures ranging from $2 to $750 last year;
·Only five states require professional development for teachers who work in gifted programs;
·Only five require any kind preparation for these teachers;
·Gifted students spend most of their time in general classrooms and receive little specialized instruction;
·Key policies are handled at the district level, when there are policies in place at all, rather than at the state level, creating "the potential for fractured approaches and limits on funding";
·There is no coherent national strategy for dealing with gifted students.
Most of those interviewed for the report cited NCLB as a factor that has contributed to a decline in support and resources for gifted students. Participants pointed to a number of reasons for this, including a shift in focus away from academic excellence toward "bringing up lower-performing students and maintaining adequate yearly progress" and a shift in staffing away from gifted programs.
"At a time when other nations are redoubling their commitment to their highest potential students, the United States continues to neglect the needs of this student population, a policy failure that will cost us dearly in the years to come," said NAGC President Ann Robinson in a prepared statement. Robinson is also director of the Center for Gifted Education at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. "The solution to this problem must be a comprehensive national gifted and talented education policy in which federal, state, and local districts work together to ensure all gifted students are identified and served by properly trained teachers using appropriate curriculum."
The impact of this neglect is being felt now, according to the report, with "continued underperformance on international benchmarks, particularly in math, science, and engineering, and in the shortage of qualified workers able to enter professions that require advanced skills."
oh h*ck yeah!
and it is a problem. I'm struggling to make sure my ds learns HOW TO LEARN, which honestly is the point of early childhood education. The problem is that it has been so easy for him that he doesn't have to study or do anything... And there are some things that you always have to study (history or science) and inevitably the work at some level will get difficult. I want to make sure he has the tools and the emotional coping skills for when that happens. (he already had a complete fit the other day when there was a challenge problem on a math test -- an extra problem he didn't need to do but the teacher thought he'd be able to do it. Well, he went at it using long multiplication and then froze bc he needed to also do long division (school hasn't taught him either, but he knows the multiplication). He just flipped out. Poor kid. All the teacher was expecting was that he would count out quarter-hour increments until he had done it 18 times (it was a "how long to cook the turkey?" question.) When we don't challenge our kids, we are letting them down (gifted children actually represent a surprisingly high % of the underperformers in middle and high school -- and I think it is bc they are left to their own devices and left unchallenged in grade school).
I've made this point to DS's teachers for the past three years - kids in early elementary school are learning more than the three Rs, they're learning how to learn. If you let kids who already have mastered these skills simply mark time until the rest of the class catches up, they're missing important lessons they'll need to handle more complex work. Overnight, they'll be behind. I really had to push to have them make his lessons challenging so he'd have to work finish them.
There also is this perception that because gifted children are bright, they don't need extra help. They'll catch on. What is lost is that gifted children often have quirks that can look an awful lot like misbehavior. One of the most surprising things I've learned from DS is that gifted children's brains are just wired differently.
And there is the whole money issue. DS's school flat out lied about testing, saying they didn't screen students until third grade, and counting on us not learning that the law requires a school to screen a student if a parent requests it. Part of the goal of gifted education is to provide an opportunity for gifted kids to interact with other gifted kids. There are so few identified at our school - six out of K-6 - and none are in my son's grade.
So to answer your question, yes I do think that gifted children are neglected.
And personally I am tired of hearing how much $$$ is spent on special ed. It is not equitable. Every child is to be educated to their fullest potential, except of course for gifted kids. They get ignored because they have good test scores. And the schools wont charter them out because then the whole schools scores drop.
Do you live in my house?
I've been singing this song to DD's school since she was about 3; now that she's in 4th grade she still flips out when she doesn't get something immediately. Violin practice can be excrutiating -- because you do have to puzzle it out to make it sound good, and there's nothing else in her life that provides that kind of a challenge.
Originally Posted by sfpierce
That's a very real problem. My son has an IQ of 150 and he has always hated school. His grades were horrible. Everything was easy to him so he never learned how to work at anything that was hard, so he would give up at the slightest challenge. He skipped two grades and graduated early with an honors diploma and tested out of his first year of college. He's now 18 and a college dropout working at a minimum wage job. I know he's still young and will probably go back to college at some point and realize that he will have to work at some things, but I think his early education failed him.
Hang in there! Has your ds ever really encountered anything that someone said he wasn't capable of doing/learning? That's what often motivated me when I was being a bum. I just had to show them they were wrong. Granted your ds is about 10pts above me and sounds like he has an extremely powerful brain when focused. My social development always lagged my intellectual skills - Jed Clampett would say I had lots of book learnin' but not so much walkin' around sense?
I quit college after the 1st year, worked in fast food and took a couple of classes at the local junior college, went back to college, flunked out, more junior collge, ... eventually enough time passed that I grew up a bit and ended up finishing w/ a degree in Statistics (turns out you can't get the geek out of the girl - even with lots of beer and bourbon), crappy GPA, but I did finish. Then I became an actuary - even geekier than Statistics, but finally a real challenge for me to sink my teeth into.
I bet if he has some time to mature emotionally and socially (he is only 18 after all), he will likely turn out just fine. He's just got to find something that intrigues him enough or makes him mad enough to persist... or a girl that makes him want to be in college - that's what seems to be working for my 23 yr old nephew.
Thanks for the encouragement. I do try to keep hoping that someday he'll understand that he has amazing opportunities that he's wasting. I think that kids with very fast intellectual ability often have slower social/emotional development and maybe with some maturity he will finally get his life on track. It's too bad that geeky girl he met at the Summer Institute for the Gifted and still considers a friend lives so far away...
In the county I live in (SC) we have a gifted program that starts at 3rd grade.
They are for the 97 percentile and up.
My 2 oldest are in the gifted program and my youngest didn't test into it last year and I recently had her retested. She is bright.
I am happy w/the academics of it and the honors classes in High School is definitely more challenging....something my bright but lazy 9th grader has found out because his grades went from A/B honor role to C's and D's.......I could just strangle him.
My 7th grade DD is doing fantastic in school and is making straight A's...she is an abstract thinker. They are allowing her to take 7th grade Honors Algebra this year and she will have in 8th grade Honors Geometry. I wonder what will happen when she gets to high school.
What I find difficult is the difference between the middle school and high school levels and what is expected. I know some of the kids aceing middle school are struggling w/the honor classes in high school
School is definitely a lot different then when I went in. I do not want my kids bored but I don't want hem burnt out. I want them to also realize a good work ethic....
One last hypothesis......I also think school nowadays is more geared towards GIRLS in learning then BOYS......If you go to an all boys class the kids are moving around they don't just sit and absorb. I remember my teacher saying there are different ways of learning and we all don't fit into one type.
Now saying all this.....in Kindergarden my straight A gifted child was implied to have a "LEARNING DISABILITY".....I just sat there and said NO she is an abstract thinker....and I have been proven right.....she did need extra help w/reading but so what? she is definitely not learning disabled......
I also wonder how many ADHD kids are just really creative and bright and are being diagnosed to fit the NORM........Mine have never been diagnosed that but I watched this one child who I thought as an astute kid get put on medicine for ADHD and I saw how his play stopped being so creative after that.
Yes! Gifted kids learn differently and don't do "fine" without schools that pay attention to their needs. The most highly gifted kids often drop out of high school or college and never live up to their potential.