Jan 30, 2014

The Trouble With "Gifted"

Most public schools have a program, some enrichment classes, or something for those students identified as "gifted."It sounds great, but really provides more flash than substance.

If a child has a high IQ, or is otherwise unchallenged by his regular classes, how is one class a week going to fix that? A lot of parents complain that their son or daughter is getting into trouble at school because they are done with their work, waiting for the rest of the class to catch up, and are just bored sitting there.

 Teachers complain because they have enough special ed kids, each with his own IEP, and enough "differentiated instruction" going on. How many jobs can one person do, after all? Common Core complicates teaching to a new dimension! (That's a topic for another day.)

Kids who are labeled "gifted" put undo pressure on themselves to maintain good grades. They can become anxious if they're not the "best" in all their classes. They may be smart, but they often don't know the difference between knowledge and wisdom.

The better fix might be to track kids into learning abilities. Stop worrying about hurting their feelings. Everyone can't be in 1st place. Everyone isn't in the "top" reading group. It's ok. All the tomatoes on the vine ripen eventually. Let's group them by progress so that kid who needs more time gets it, and the kid who moves faster can keep on learning.

Learning is better than waiting - if indeed the goal is education.

Homeschooling is gaining popularity. I can understand why.

What goal do you (and the federal lawmakers, and State BOE) have for YOUR children today?