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The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the aim-high dept.

Education 529

theodp writes "'Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore,' explains The Boston Globe's Amy Crawford in The Poor Neglected Gifted Child, 'have national laws requiring that children be screened for giftedness, with top scorers funneled into special programs. China is midway through a 10-year "National Talent Development Plan" to steer bright young people into science, technology, and other in-demand fields.' It seems to be working — America's tech leaders are literally going to Washington with demands for "comprehensive immigration reform that allows for the hiring of the best and brightest". But in the U.S., Crawford laments, 'we focus on steering all extra money and attention toward kids who are struggling academically, or even just to the average student' and 'risk shortchanging the country in a different way.' The problem advocates for the gifted must address, Crawford explains, is to 'find ways for us to develop our own native talent without exacerbating inequality.' And address it we must. 'How many people can become an astrophysicist or a PhD in chemistry?' asks David Lubinski, a psychologist at Vanderbilt University. We really have to look for the best — that's what we do in the Olympics, that's what we do in music, and that's what we need to with intellectual capital."

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529 comments

Higher SAT scores, etc (5, Interesting)

tomhath (637240) | about 4 months ago | (#46504485)

Fast tracking higher potential students is common pretty much everywhere except the US. Here we "foster understanding and tolerance" by mainstreaming [wikipedia.org] students with special needs. We also ensure the average SAT score is below that of countries that limit who can take it to their top students.

Niggers and Jews (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504539)

Niggers and Jews
Isn't it strange
they're at opposite ends of the IQ range

Niggers and Jews
Isn't it odd
That one loves gang warfare, and the other loves God

But given this
it's no surpriese
That niggers will sink, and Jews will rise

So in fair society
where none can cheat
You'll find Jews in the boardroom, niggers on the street

Re:Niggers and Jews (5, Funny)

StatureOfLiberty (1333335) | about 4 months ago | (#46504721)

Anonymous cowards
Can be deranged
This one’s below the IQ range.

Anomymous cowards
Some say they love God
But this one’s behavior would make that seem odd

Consider this
It’s no surprise
That the stench of his stink, will water your eyes

For in fair society
If you know you are wrong
Post anonymously as none can tie you to your bomb.

.
.
.
.
.Yes, I know that not all Anonomous Cowards posting on this site are like this fine example of humanity. So, my apologies in advance

Re:Niggers and Jews (0)

Cenan (1892902) | about 4 months ago | (#46504797)

Beautiful.

Re:Niggers and Jews (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504751)

Isn't it strange that racist idiots are crap at poetry ?

Re: Niggers and Jews (1)

a4r6 (978521) | about 4 months ago | (#46504885)

A troll like this isn't even necessarily a racist, just a sadist who feels empowered by offending other people / evoking bad feelings.

Re:Niggers and Jews (5, Insightful)

nucrash (549705) | about 4 months ago | (#46504915)

My best student would qualify as on the street in the AC. He may very well end up that way. He is no doubt my best and brightest student that can't make it to class. When he does, he's straight A, all the way. Yet because he's working extra hours just to get by, because he doesn't have backing to focus on school without having to have two jobs to get in, he's struggling to make it to class.

While I know you are just trolling, I do want to point out that I have some of the best and brightest who just can't seem to get the assistance they need and because of that they are struggling with the basics. The bigger point is that we aren't seeking out these bright few and culturing them to become the best and then we wonder why our advanced college programs only have a select few from other countries in them.

This argument, tried and true boils down to the following:
1. We don't have the support infrastructure in place to culture the best and brightest
2. Society is too busy with bread and circuses to care about those of innovative talent. As long as we are fed and entertained, we are happy.
3. We focus on people who use the existing infrastructure to get ahead as leeches.
4. We do not respect hard work at all levels. Ditch digging is hard work, and I don't think you could get a CEO to do that for a day. (A new show idea.)

Olympic athletes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504801)

It's funny they mentioned Olympic athletes. Those folks are not trained in a school's PE class. Their parents hire coaches and training facilities at their own expense. Same goes for music prodogies. If you have a gifted kid, hire tutors and buy enrichment programs.

Re:Olympic athletes (1)

Sique (173459) | about 4 months ago | (#46504895)

And if you don't have the money to do so, future be damned?

Re:Higher SAT scores, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504863)

"comprehensive immigration reform that allows for the hiring of the best and brightest"

Why doesn't the United States of Amerika and Kanada focus on developing home-grown "best and brightest" (cough, cough)? I hate the term "best and brightest" since most of the workforce in any industry or field are mediocre/average whilst only a small number of the so-called "best and brightest" can be supported by an organisation. if every staff member was "best and brightest" the organisation would be dysfunctional. Too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing.

Re:Higher SAT scores, etc (4, Interesting)

ideonexus (1257332) | about 4 months ago | (#46504965)

It's interesting that no one is questioning the basic premise of this article: that the US puts more resources into remedial students than gifted. It makes for just one more thing people can complain and get self-righteous about, but my experience in Virginia schools is just the opposite. Here in Virginia, my gifted friends got to attend special highly-funded magnet schools or got to attend the #1 public high school in the country [tjhsst.edu] and the gifted classrooms at my high school got the best supplies and brightest teachers. As someone who was originally tracked in remedial everything and had to fight his way up to advanced-level courses, I can tell you that the remedial classes received no instruction whatsoever and were basically just holding-pens for students until they turned 18 and the system could kick them out.

Maybe some states don't have a gifted program, but before we all go tilting at windmills, maybe we should realize this is a state-level problem, one that does not apply to Virginia, and may not apply to your state either.

Re:Higher SAT scores, etc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46505029)

As someone who grew up with being told I have high IQ and am "gifted" I can definatly agree the "mainstreaming" stuff ruined my growth.

I was not allowed or given opportunity to try different things, was forced to learn at a slower rate then my natural talent allowed on various subjects.

Worst one was reading, I was in 3rd grade, had reading/comprehension level of 12grade.. While everyone else was struggling over the text in a book, I had finished it.. Got to the point the teacher stopped giving me the whole book and I was only given 3-4 pages at a time. So I could "keep up" with other students..meanwhile I coulda had finished the book and been on a 2nd or 3rd by the time the other kids finished the first.

Reality in the USA.... (5, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#46504491)

Smart and gifted kid? Shove them to the back of the class. Oh that not so bright kid that can run and catch really good? he is a superstar!

We worship the Low IQ and brawn. (NFL players for example) while ridicule anyone smart. It is a culture thing, and in inner city urban cultures being a smart kid get's you isolated badly as your peers try to make you feel as if you are a traitor.

It has always been this way, on top of that Teachers are scared to death of kids that are smarter than them, and will punish the smart kid. Our education system is set up for average and can not handle the two sides of the bell.

Re:Reality in the USA.... (2, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | about 4 months ago | (#46504603)

Australia also has a gifted, oh wait, it is only for sports douche's. Want to know the real reason why this is so, because they sell advertising, and the companies that sell shit get lobbyists to get the government to pay and promote sports, basically subsidising advertising to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Face it, reality is science and engineering types don't not make good advertising tools. Often they are not pretty enough (or average enough looking according to this http://www.faceresearch.org/de... [faceresearch.org] ) or they are unwilling to lie about the quality of products (it's not lying it's acting being the normal bullshit coming out of athletes mouths). So it not just about sports worship, which in reality is advertising driven, it is about the advertising itself and the government subsidising it at public expense (in return of course, it's not lying it's acting, what great politicians they are, according to those self serving athletes).

Re:Reality in the USA.... (4, Interesting)

StormReaver (59959) | about 4 months ago | (#46504693)

Oh that not so bright kid that can run and catch really good? he is a superstar!

You've really only touched upon the disfunction in American society. I could write a Ph.d thesis on how the United States is breeding itself into obsolecense. We are a country that is more obsessed with brawny men in tight pants moving a ball from one end of a large field to another than we are with keeping our country educated and competitive.

When I was getting my degree, our school would close off parking for academic purposes so the football spectators could park. Nevermind that we had group assignments to complete; there be a bunch of young boys moving their balls across the field!

Our society is slitting its own throat.

Re:Reality in the USA.... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504729)

We worship the Low IQ and brawn.

Nah, the USA worships one and only one thing: money

NFL star of the day is making money. Worship.

Former NFL star who blew all his money away? No worship. Might even laugh at him

Different former NFL star who uses his money to build a business? Worship.

Note that worshiping money isn't the same as worshiping wealth. As comedian Chris Rock once said: Shaq is rich. The guy who pays Shaq is wealthy.

Americans worship the rich NFL star, but not the wealthy guys who run the NFL. The truly wealthy people mostly operate unnoticed, or they're seen as "evil rich people". Only a few people worship the wealthy, and they're often called right-wing nutjobs

Re:Reality in the USA.... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504923)

Nah, the USA worships one and only one thing: money

NFL star of the day is making money. Worship.

The truly wealthy people mostly operate unnoticed, or they're seen as "evil rich people". Only a few people worship the wealthy, and they're often called right-wing nutjobs

I don't think you've come to the correct conclusion.

The USA worships FAME, not wealth, which is why we're running the largest deficit EVER so we can buy ourselves some fame and power.

Reality in the world (0)

HetMes (1074585) | about 4 months ago | (#46504771)

What use is a above-average brain if the person lacks the social skills to apply their intelligence? No, they are not single-handedly going to invent the cure for cancer.

On the other hand, the NFL star leads by example, unites us in support for our team and might very well have a much larger beneficial effect on society than the nerd in the back of the class room could hope to have.

Of course, this idea, that intelligence is not as important as some might want it to be, might be lost on a forum that ironically calls itself 'news for nerds, stuff that matters'.

Re: Reality in the world (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504959)

Then again, which child was nurtured and told through his whole life that he was special? The smart kid, whose abilities are ignored and who's made fun of four doing well in school, or the kid who can knock site all the other children? Perhaps the awkwardness isn't genetic...

Re:Reality in the USA.... (2)

fortfive (1582005) | about 4 months ago | (#46504831)

This phenomenon is hardly new, nor hardly unique to the US. Just look at old war posters.

I would also argue that it serves a valid purpose to beatify normal (in the scientific definition). Those in the middle of the bell curve are most helpful to society when they are not threatened.

That is not to say we should not put special resources into those at the ends of the bell curve, at both ends, and at any bell curve we tend to look at (e.g. art, science, empathy, sports, and even beauty).

But it is better for society as a whole to promote generally the qualities of exceptionally normal, as that is what most folks are (including us here on slashdot, with a predictably few exceptions).

Re:Reality in the USA.... (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 4 months ago | (#46504931)

Our education system is set up for average and can not handle the two sides of the bell.

We can rail all we want about how the education system is so "stupid", but it's not. It produces exactly the kind of people that a monopoly system is required to produce. Look all around - wherever parents have a choice of schools, they send their kids to the best one, often if the costs are severe.

They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fuckin' years ago. They don't want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork. And just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime and vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And now they're coming for your Social Security money. They want your fuckin' retirement money. They want it back so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later 'cause they own this fuckin' place. It's a big club and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club. ...The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged and nobody seems to notice. ... Nobody seems to care. That's what the owners count on. The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that's being jammed up their assholes every day, because the owners of this country know the truth. It's called the American Dream, 'cause you have to be asleep to believe it. -
George Carlin, Life Is Worth Losing (2005)

Re:Reality in the USA.... (4, Insightful)

failedlogic (627314) | about 4 months ago | (#46504951)

"Smart and gifted kid? Shove them to the back of the class. Oh that not so bright kid that can run and catch really good? he is a superstar!"

I can't speak of the entire job market, but there are a lot of very smart people without jobs right now. If smart kids are encouraged to be smart and pursue higher academic goals, we need an economy that can support them first and not just at the Grad school level. One major hurdle is TFA posted yesterday about Gates predicting workforce replaced by AI/Robots article. We need to plan and prepare for the future by having real discussions on the future workforce. With all the recent unemployed/underemployed Grads right now, there isn't much motivation as it is.

The start-your-own business model fails miserably when too many people are competing for finite resources.

"Teachers are scared to death of kids that are smarter than them"
Not only that but we have an education system that 'forces' everyone to think the same way.

Existing programs (1)

DraconPern (521756) | about 4 months ago | (#46504497)

Such program already exists. Advanced Placement, Science Bowl, International Baccalaureate, etc. Just put more money into those programs.

Re:Existing programs (1)

El Puerco Loco (31491) | about 4 months ago | (#46504523)

Kinda difficult when all the "extra" money in public education is being spend to destroy public education.

Re:Existing programs (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 4 months ago | (#46504579)

Those programs have been defunded in favor of Common Core.

Re:Existing programs (2)

B33rNinj4 (666756) | about 4 months ago | (#46504589)

When I was a child, my school district didn't have AP programs. Luckily, my daughter has access to them, but like you said, they are under-funded. It's doubly bad since we are in Texas. Our high school stadiums rival many small college's. It's a tremendous shame.

Re:Existing programs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46505003)

When I was a child, my school district didn't have AP programs. Luckily, my daughter has access to them, but like you said, they are under-funded. It's doubly bad since we are in Texas. Our high school stadiums rival many small college's. It's a tremendous shame.

You should be enrolling your daughter in an associate degree programme offered by a university via distance education (on-line delivery platform) instead of wasting time on AP courses. If your daughter is earning at least 80% in her regular high school courses, she can handle earning an associate degree before graduating from high school. In my opinion, every student should have earned an associate degree by the time they graduate from high school; it would reduce the number of freshmen drop-outs and fail-outs at colleges and universities while giving the students the comforts and support of living at home. If I get married and have children, rest assured by the time they graduate from high school they'll have earned an associate degree and possibly a bachelor degree depending upon their ability and interests. For the most part associate degrees cover the same subjects (liberal arts and science) as high schools. There is no reason a child maintaining an 80% GPA in high school cannot successfully handle the challenge of earning an associate degree at the same time. In a perfect world high schools could serve as the physical place where students come to take college-level courses towards an associate degree and the delivery would be by colleges and universities while the high school teachers act as mentors and teaching assistants. With on-line course delivery and a focus on learning through practical assignments (essays, projects, etc.) instead of taking tests the students would benefit.

Re:Existing programs (2)

mc6809e (214243) | about 4 months ago | (#46504695)

"Just" put more money into those programs?

How many more votes will that give the party in power in the next election? Probably none, so it won't happen.

Democracy works hard to please the 51% -- not the 5% of parents that have a gifted child.

Of course those parents pay taxes just like other parents, but that doesn't mean the state has to give a damn.

Democracy doesn't require that the state please everyone -- it only must please 51%. And the system is constantly adjusting to figure out how to screw the 49% to please the 51%. Public education gets caught up in the process like everything else touched by the democratic process.

Re: Existing programs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504997)

That's only in a two-party system. And even in those, the actual number is usually lower.

Re:Existing programs (2)

ausekilis (1513635) | about 4 months ago | (#46504977)

When was the last time you went to the Science Bowl and it rivalled the crowd seen at your typical Homecoming game?

Schools suffer the same way society does, in the pursuit of the allmighty dollar. Boys/men tackling one another then spanking one another for a job well done generates more money than little Timmy's discovery of cold fusion in a shoebox. The focus isn't only on sports, it's on bringing the average up as well.

I have a friend who is a 5th grade teacher and we were discussing what's goin on in our education system. The standard school year is 180 days. With No Child Left Behind taking ~10, we are left with 170. State standardized tests whittle away another 6. Other (i.e. placement/advancement) tests take up another ~4. It comes down two one entire educational month, 20 days, are taken up by standardized testing. That means 180 day curriculum has to shoehorn into 160. In addition, with all this comes teacher/school reviews that focus on how well the students do, not how well the teacher does. If one class gets a "C", the whole school does and goes into remediation. Add the typical funding cuts and you can see the hurt. The focus is on bringing the lower percentile to the middle, not on helping the upper percentile succeed. Sorry folks, not everyone gets to be a Doctor/Astronaut/Physicist when they grow up.

He also tells me horror stories of how parents just don't give a crap about their kids education. In his class of 30 (state says max of 23, btw) each year, I hear about maybe 2-3 sets of parents that are truly involved and want their kid to succeed. The rest just go with the flow or don't care at all. That's another discussion altogether.

Of course it's going to exacerbate inequality. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504499)

The entire POINT of offering special educational opportunities to gifted children is to help them grow further than they would in a standard classroom. That increases inequality between them and the other children that aren't capable of handling the gifted kids' workload.

Re:Of course it's going to exacerbate inequality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504621)

Please mod (+1, Harrison Bergeron).

Re:Of course it's going to exacerbate inequality. (5, Insightful)

eapache (1239018) | about 4 months ago | (#46504633)

And, taking the premise that inequality is bad, then this is bad. In fact, under that premise, meritocracy itself is bad because it awards benefits to those who already have an advantage of some sort.

The west's obsession with both meritocracy and equality is hilariously impossible.

Re:Of course it's going to exacerbate inequality. (5, Insightful)

careysub (976506) | about 4 months ago | (#46504725)

And, taking the premise that inequality is bad, then this is bad. In fact, under that premise, meritocracy itself is bad because it awards benefits to those who already have an advantage of some sort. The west's obsession with both meritocracy and equality is hilariously impossible.

Balancing two competing but important objectives? Impossible?

No, it is the basic problem of all life. If you can't do that, you can't do anything of value.

Note the poster has framed this to push the view that it is "worrying about inequality" that must be bad, not inequality itself.

And of course the premise that attacking inequality must necessarily also attack meritocracy is a false framing. Crony capitalism has far more to do with inequality than "meritocracies" of any sort.

Re:Of course it's going to exacerbate inequality. (1)

usuallylost (2468686) | about 4 months ago | (#46504873)

And, taking the premise that inequality is bad, then this is bad. In fact, under that premise, meritocracy itself is bad because it awards benefits to those who already have an advantage of some sort. The west's obsession with both meritocracy and equality is hilariously impossible.

Which is exactly the position we see being espoused in more and more of our governmental policies. The general attitude seems to be that people who achieve more have somehow victimized those who haven't achieved as much. I have an exceedingly low opinion of public schools in general. The ones in my area are bad enough that in my opinion that sending your kid to them comes dangerously close to child abuse. Then I find out that supposedly these crappy schools are in the top 10% of the country. If you have a particularly gifted child, or even slightly above average, and want to see them achieve things in life the public schools are a bad start.

"the wests?" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504945)

actually most (west) Europeaan countries have had multi-tiered (3 or 4) education systems for decades, where the top 10-20% of pupils go to special high schools that prepare them to go directly to university in 6-7 years.

the remaining top half is prepared for a collage-university equivalent in 5 to 6 years, and the bottom half prepared for trade-collage (from say construction to basic IT).

Re:Of course it's going to exacerbate inequality. (3, Interesting)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#46504777)

I agree. But what I have to wonder if we are missing out in a different way. Some kids develop at a different pace, is it optimal to have a system where a 'late bloomer' is marked as slow or average for their first few years of school? Once that label is put on, it is part of their self image thereafter. What if there are geniuses who don't really come into their own until high school who then never get a chance since they have been 'average'? I read somewhere that when you test people at 35 years these early differences disappear, at least in most cases. Sorry no reference, so it may not be an accurate recollection. Just thinking out loud here, I am not proposing anything.

Re:Of course it's going to exacerbate inequality. (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#46504855)

Oops, you're going to hit a nerve with that. Many posters around here consider themselves "gifted" because they learned arithmetic a year earlier than the jocks.

Re:Of course it's going to exacerbate inequality. (5, Insightful)

necro81 (917438) | about 4 months ago | (#46504789)

The inequality they are talking about is social and economic. The children from well-to-do families always have opportunities beyond those of poorer children. A precocious or "gifted" child from a wealthy family has access to all the resources necessary to realize their potential. Where can an equally gifted child from a poor family turn? Their potential is completely unrealized in the U.S.'s current educational system, even though their abilities could easily vault them and their families out of poverty and into prosperity. Meanwhile, the mediocre children and dullards from wealthy families, owing to the resources available to them, gain entrance into Harvard. This situation reinforces (social / economic) inequality and ossifies mobility. In a country that purports to be a merit society, this should be disturbing.

I don't begrudge wealthy parents doing everything they can to provide for their children - gifted or otherwise. But as a societal matter, opportunities should exist for exceptional students no matter what their economic status. It's not simply a matter of fairness or equality - we are talking about exceptional children here, by definition not the same as everyone else - but of developing the best talent for the good of all.

Re:Of course it's going to exacerbate inequality. (3, Insightful)

locofungus (179280) | about 4 months ago | (#46504949)

The problem isn't giving gifted children the opportunity to take advantage of their gifts.

The problem is that the wealthy will use their wealth to coach, and otherwise promote their average or slightly above average children so that they get into those places for gifted children in preference to the gifted poor child who can only score as average or slightly above average due to lack of opportunity and education.

I'm sure the same problem happens in the Asian cultures where this is the norm. There is possibly a difference in that educational excellence is seen as something to boast about and so a poor uneducated peasant who has an exceptional child will still want to see them enrolled in a gifted child program unlike in the west where ignorance is sometimes seen as a badge of honour.

Re:Of course it's going to exacerbate inequality. (1)

ausekilis (1513635) | about 4 months ago | (#46505013)

People seem to forget that "Special Education" is both ends of the curve. Remember that for every genius is another kid with a learning disability. The funding doesn't go directly to the upper echelon, it's split at the school level to cover needed materials on both sides. In many cases the lower end gets more due to the necessary equipment (i.e. catering to movement impairments, special furniture, etc...) required by the students.

immigration only option? (0)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 4 months ago | (#46504501)

'Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore, 'have national laws requiring that children be screened for giftedness, with top scorers funneled into special programs.

So instead of doing the above program in the USA to help their own country, America's tech leaders want to use immigration?
Yeah, i can see why you guys need those gifted Chinese.

Re:immigration only option? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504571)

So instead of doing the above program in the USA to help their own country, America's tech leaders want to use immigration?
Yeah, i can see why you guys need those gifted Chinese.

America's tech leaders have no choice.

Radical egalitarians and teacher's unions control education in the USA. Tech leaders are no match for the political power of "education" workers.

Re:immigration only option? (2)

Boronx (228853) | about 4 months ago | (#46504645)

America's tech leaders want to reduce wages.

Re:immigration only option? (2)

Tom (822) | about 4 months ago | (#46504829)

Well, the USA has thrived on draining brain from the rest of the world for most of its existence. Space program? Thank the german rocket engineers...

It's part of the american system - offer really cool universities that are way too large for ourselves (which is why they get filled up with football players and crap) so they attract the brightest minds from elsewhere.

Re:immigration only option? (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#46504699)

So instead of doing the above program in the USA to help their own country, America's tech leaders want to use immigration? Yeah, i can see why you guys need those gifted Chinese.

You got the "actual agenda" question right. Unfortunately many others here didn't. They get a fail by falling for some of the most elementary propaganda tricks. A particularly effective one here is flattering people's egos. It's amazing how book smart people can be so gullible.

Color me surprised. Not. (3, Insightful)

Third Position (1725934) | about 4 months ago | (#46504503)

Wonder what the problem is? You tell me.... [nydailynews.com]

Re:Color me surprised. Not. (1)

number17 (952777) | about 4 months ago | (#46504615)

Up north we are going back to voluntary segregation [thestar.com] .

Re:Color me surprised. Not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504781)

All segregation are voluntary. Now is the black peoples that want their own thing, back in the day it was the white peoples that wanted their own things.

I do not understand how such black-only school have been been banned for being racist already. I guess racism is wrong only when it does not favour your kind... to these niggers at least. Yeah, mod me down because I said nigger. Some words are just too powerful for you to handle.

Re:Color me surprised. Not. (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 4 months ago | (#46504785)

I wonder if a gifted program full of Asian kids would be insufficiently diverse.

Special Ed is sucking away the money (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504505)

Have you ever noticed how many teachers a special ed class has. Yeah it's not PC to mention it, but that doesn't make it less true. The US is spending a crazy amount of money on students who will, maybe, be able to wipe their bum consistently when they leave the education system. That's where the money is going.

Re:Special Ed is sucking away the money (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#46504735)

Do you have some *gasp* numbers to demonstrate that the "crazy amount of money" you claim is such a high percentage of education budgets that it impedes the ability to deal with gifted students, or are we just supposed to accept the assertions of a smart fellow like you?

Re:Special Ed is sucking away the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504869)

I said it's not popular. I suspect any parent with a child on the ever expanding autism spectrum will take offense. Yeah I know. I'm terrible for pointing out the elephant in the room. I have family in education so my opinion is really not popular, I know. They work in a special ed class with 6 children. There are 2 teachers, and aide, and one assistant. There are multiple classes setup like this. Basically they are trying to create a dual system. One for regular kids with the usual 20+ kids to 1 teacher model and the 6 kids to 4 educator system. Come on. That's not feasible. But we're not heartless either. I don't know the solution. I'm just pointing out a problem.

Re:Special Ed is sucking away the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504805)

I was in special ed classes.
I was also (at the same time) in gifted and talented classes.
I was in a special ed class (one of 3-4 students) while at the same time being in AP European History (one of 20 students)

I can honestly tell you I learned more in AP European history than I ever did in the special ed classes.
There is a fallacy in assuming that a high teacher to student ratio leads to better education... It comes from a place of truth, where a high teacher to student ratio leads to a better quality of baby sitting. It is a sad state of affairs that people can confusing babysitting for teaching. Gifted students, particularly those who want to learn, don't need 1 on 1 attention, they can be more self sufficient, but they do need to be taught something different from the rest of the masses...
They need to be taught that you not only can stand out, but that you should. They need to learn that they are exceptional, which is actually hard to do with a gifted child in a class of gifted children. Most importantly you need to be challenged... not just given difficult material and expected to pass, but given difficult material and expected to excel, to not settle for good.

You know what happens to many gifted children? (Myself included) they stop trying, and they still succeed... some times even in gifted classes.... it isn't until they hit a level where everything changes (college for some, high school for others, maybe just a certain level of material) that they need to try... and they never learned how to put effort into learning... because it all came so natural up to that point.

If we want people who are outstanding, we need to teach them to stand out, and putting them in a class with everyone else who is exception isn't the way to do that. BUT if we want these same students to excel up to their full potential, we need to challenge them...

I'd like to propose a solution to the conundrum I presented above, but I'm not an educator, and I don't know what the solution is.
I'm both hardly qualified to speak on the topic, and yet uniquely qualified to speak to it having been on both sides of the bell curve, at the same time.

If I were pressed I guess Ultimately I would say we need to get as many gifted children into a class as possible, Load the class full of students, but don't put in a single student who needs a babysitter... babysitting will detract from any efforts the teacher makes to be an educator, it will eat up their time and their energy...
Then we need to teach these teachers how these children function, and what they need to know, not to be productive members of society, or make up an informed electorate, but what they need to learn to excel well past the point of any of their "peers" How to continue to learn even though everything has always come easy. How to stand out in a crowd as being exceptional when they are exceptional.

Re:Special Ed is sucking away the money (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#46504961)

Gifted students, particularly those who want to learn, don't need 1 on 1 attention, they can be more self sufficient

So they should cost no more, and arguable even less than regular students to educate. This "no money for gifted students" is a ploy to get more money.

they do need to be taught something different from the rest of the masses...

The masses? Are you trying for self parody?

How to continue to learn even though everything has always come easy. How to stand out in a crowd as being exceptional when they are exceptional.

Two things which work against each other. One of the biggest problems with very good students is that, as you observe, they become lazy. Telling them they're "oh so special" exacerbates that problem because it explains and rationalizes why they don't have to work so hard. Don't tell them they're "oh so special", which is no different that the other feel good crap you find in education these days, and put them in classes where they're held to very high standards. That will make them feel less special, since they're surrounded by equally good students, and teach them they actually have to work to compete.

UK School Assessment (2)

Rob Earl (3469423) | about 4 months ago | (#46504569)

Similar things happen in the UK because schools are assessed on A-C grade achievement. Most of the focus goes on students who are predicted to get C-D.

Re:UK School Assessment (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#46504747)

Much like it does in Finland, which has some of the highest scores on international tests.

"Steering the money"? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504599)

I think this describes the whole thing.

As if one had to take away from the one to give to the other. That idea of eihter-or is so cynical I can't believe it.

The "gifted" are so few that it wouldn't take such a huge amount of money. In the meantime, no investment is too small to raise the "general level" -- but who in power really desires well educated (and possibly critical) sheeple?

Remember: raising the general level will *help* the luminaries. And of course, the luminaries merit special treatment -- and in exchange will raise the general level.

Re:"Steering the money"? (1)

careysub (976506) | about 4 months ago | (#46504739)

Well said. Mod the AC up please!

Re:"Steering the money"? (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#46504799)

+5 - someone who thinks instead of priding themselves on being smart.

Also overlooked is that gifted children should cost no more than average students to educate. Students who are actually gifted should be able to learn more on their own, rather than needing so much handholding. If they can't, then they're not truly gifted.

Back in the day... (2)

nani popoki (594111) | about 4 months ago | (#46504613)

I was born in 1948, so I grew up in the era of the "space race". Back then -- at least in the suburban public school system I attended -- the system did emphasize academics for those who scored above average on the standardized tests. (Not that it prevented us nerds from being excluded from the social circles that courted the football jocks.) Science club, math club -- we had them. Local, regional, state and national science and math fairs were common and us over-achievers were expected to participate. AP science, math and English were offered. Yes, the system wasn't as PC as today. But most of the kids who graduated from high school could at least name all the planets in order of distance from the sun.

Indeed. (2)

dtmos (447842) | about 4 months ago | (#46504911)

I'm from the same era, and can corroborate nani's experience. Even the football players in my high school -- the guys with scratches on the back of their hands, from dragging them along the ground as they walked -- could name the planets in order.

Of course, since schools were funded by a property tax on the local landowners, the same opportunities were not available to the poorer kids going to the school on the other side of town. The desire was to raise that school to the academic level of the rich school, by spending more on education in general, but what seems to have happened is that the funding was just averaged between them, leading to the poor neglected gifted child syndrome.

How many (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504661)

How many can become a phd in chemistry? I don't know how many can become a drivers licence? Oh you mean a research chemist. People shouldn't be referred to as their qualification but what they do.

Smart people need less help. They need stuff, freedom, encouragement, safety, engaging work, something to extend them. But they don't need the whole budget to do it, just support in the right areas.

Of course smart people are best put to use on working out ways for people to click on ads (http://www.google.com).

Meanwhile we get dumber and dumber and people focus on more and more banal projects.

  No, I'm not so sure we need to focus heavily on the top 0.1%, to live in fancy ivory towers. I do think it is more important that we look at the top 10% and the bottom 30%.

Re:How many (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 4 months ago | (#46504985)

Smart people need less help. They need stuff, freedom, encouragement, safety, engaging work, something to extend them. But they don't need the whole budget to do it, just support in the right areas.

Hear, hear! Teaching the smartest kids should cost no more than regular students.

School is boring smart kids (5, Insightful)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about 4 months ago | (#46504665)

By standardizing everything, and focusing on the those who are struggling, we are boring the smarter kids. They go through school with little struggle, because they pick up the content quickly. Later, when the concepts get harder, they have trouble because they were not challenged earlier in the educational process.

Re:School is boring smart kids (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#46504733)

This is so true. I have received a few comments from my daughter's teachers that it's amazing to find a student who not only understands the material, but also participates in class.

I'd also like to point out that we shouldn't be directing the "gifted" children into certain fields but rather trying to figure out what they want to do. When I was in school, I got noticed as gifted, along with a few other kids, and they started a program for us. Mostly a lot of the older sciences like biology and chemistry, which I was really never interested in. They never bothered to ask me what I wanted to learn. Had there been extra computer courses or something along those lines, I would have got a lot more out of the extra work I had to do.

Re:School is boring smart kids (4, Interesting)

Tom (822) | about 4 months ago | (#46504775)

True in parts and yet horribly wrong in others.

Disclaimer: I was a "gifted child" and yes, I was bored in school, so much that my parents sent me to a psychologist (who told them there's nothing wrong with me except that I'm bored) and then to special gifted-child after-school courses. I had my first chemistry course 5 years before I had it in school, and I had computer lessons and shortly after my own computer in 6th grade, at a time when computer stuff was an optional course in high school.

And yet, I don't blame school for ruining my chances. On the contrary, I believe school should be much like it used to, i.e. roll back the dumbing down you've done to it just because you want better PISA scores. Schools purpose is to create a baseline, a solid level of basic education that later on in life you can expect everyone to have. As such, it has to be so that everyone can acquire it. Some easily, some will struggle, but it is a (low) standard and exactly because of that it is useful.

What needs to change is the attitude that school covers everything. These days, not only have people largely stopped understanding that you can (*gasp*!) educate yourself out of school, in addition to whatever you get there, but you should also (*big gasp*!!) let the school do the teaching and keep things like teaching manners and basic social skills at home with the parents who desperately need to stop thinking they can outsource the raising of a child.

If more people understood school correctly as a standardized base-level, less people would send their kids to school and think that covers their parental responsibilities and aside from that it's just feeding and housing the brat.

Re:School is boring smart kids (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 4 months ago | (#46504835)

Parents need education to do these things -- I work woth Indian colleagues who put their kids in advanced Saturday math classes. My parents would never have dreamed of doing that for me 30 uears ago. Dumped into a public school, their job was done -- after all, politicians and teachers say so! When not begging for more money to do more of whatever it is they do that's so awesome.

Someone mentioned AP, well, that's too late. This needs to go on in grade school onward. When I got to U-M, kids ran around bragging about AP credits, and I'm like what's an AP credit? If parents don't look, and teachers don't care, well...

Even this discussion is permeated with government-as-solution. Family emphasis on scholastics has been shown to be far and away the biggest factor in educational outcomes, so both parties argue from a false premise.

NYC G&T program is done to cut cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504667)

Here in NYC, we have G&T classes, they put 32 kids in one classroom. It was done to cut cost, because G&T kids are easier to teach, also, they don't need extra funding for ESL or after school help. Only the big city-wide program gets extra funding, not from DOE, but rather from PTA fund raising. For the top 3 city G&T programs (Anderson, NEST, BSI), their goal is $1000 per student per year(or per semester, I forgot which). And they usually met their goal, because parents are very very dedicated, and have a lot of resources($$$). For district program, having a G&T program in school actually means less $ per student for the school.

we vouch equality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504685)

since we cannot make everybody equally smart, at least we've tried hard to make majority of people equally stu...
there is no way he can win

It's okay to screen for exceptional athletes. (4, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46504687)

But somehow, if you begin to screen for exceptional intelligence, you are (horrors) implying that some of the snowflakes aren't so special after all.

We have an active religious lobby in the US that discourages free thinking, preferring indoctrination that includes no Bayesian interference.

Unless and until equivalent accolades are placed upon the throne of intellectual exceptionalism, American society is doomed to do well in the Olympics and poorly in graduating advanced math/science/physics wunderkind.

what an idiot (4, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about 4 months ago | (#46504701)

But in the U.S., Crawford laments, 'we focus on steering all extra money and attention toward kids who are struggling academically, or even just to the average student' and 'risk shortchanging the country in a different way.'

No, you utter imbecile. The problem of the western culture is not fund distribution. It's attitude.

Our "stars" are musicians, actors and professional athletes. Certainly people who work hard and having natural talent definitely helps - but it's not the smart, gifted people we adore in our culture. There's no science-based equivalent of the Super Bowl. The closest we get is that we sometimes thing astronauts are pretty cool.

You want more smart people in your country? I don't have a magic pill for that, but I can give you an indicator of how close you are: When the sexy girls fuck the geeks instead of the football studs, you're getting somewhere. When this map [fastcodesign.com] has more scientists on it than coaches, you're pretty close. When we pay two-digit millions in salary not to people who pretend to be a robot from the future on camera, or throwing an air-filled dead pig gut around, but to people who work on curing cancer or inventing new methods for energy production, then you won't have to worry about not having enough brains in the country.

The funding thing is just a small part of that culture.

Re:what an idiot (3, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46504867)

You want more smart people in your country? I don't have a magic pill for that, but I can give you an indicator of how close you are: When the sexy girls fuck the geeks instead of the football studs, you're getting somewhere.

Parent is describing Nerdtopia.

And there's something else in there about higher pay, too.

The Problem with "Equality of Outcome" Thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504713)

Unfortunately the prevailing paradigm in the United States is that we must achieve so-called "equality of outcome" for everyone. We waste billions of dollars every year trying to convince ourselves that all kids really are the same and that there is no possible way one kid could simply have higher potential than another. This is so obviously absurd, but it is the foundation of our entire education system.

Of course, there are only two ways to make everyone equal - bring the bottom up, or bring the top down. You can't make just snap your fingers and bring a low-potential kid up, so the only thing you can do is deprive the smart kids of an education fit for their potential.

Re:The Problem with "Equality of Outcome" Thinking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504841)

Do you know what the biggest factor in achievement is? How rich your parents are. It's not how talented you are, how much "potential" you have, it's how wealthy your parents are, the money being pumped into education is to try and bring equality in that achievement.

Of course, people will say "I did alright for myself and my parents were lower class/poor", you are the exception - not the norm.

The opposite could be to just concentrate on the top 20%, and make sure they earn enough to support the bottom 80% by paying more taxes.

At the same time... (4, Insightful)

bluegutang (2814641) | about 4 months ago | (#46504717)

why are we looking Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and China as our models? What scientific advances have come out of those countries recently?

US universities still generate a disproportionate fraction of scientific research, and US companies generate a disproportionate fraction of technological innovation.

There's nothing wrong with spending money on gifted kids, but something is wrong with how those countries do it.

Re:At the same time... (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 4 months ago | (#46504917)

It could be they're still losing quality graduates to emigration.

One of the perceived strengths of a life in the West is the better standard of living, complete with better individual freedoms in everyday life.

It makes you wonder why we're working so hard to alter these perceptions.

Race (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504731)

The most important thing is to ensure all minority groups are properly represented. Nothing else matters. Without it the country will fail.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504741)

This is the problem with the pursuit of "equality" mostly from people on the Left. To people on the Left, it's not fair that dumb people can't keep up, so their answer is to pour money and effort into focusing on the dumb kids, while the smart kids are bored and are not being brought to the full level of their ability. Separately, this is the problem with "equality" and the aspirations of the Left. We have to reward the smart and the winners rather than rewarding the dumb and the losers. Survival of the fittest works quite well. Pouring money into the dumb kids is a bad investment. Sure you might be able to find a success story here and there but the vast majority never amount to anything in life. If you were investing your own money would you put it into the bright kid or the dummy?

As a former gifted student I do wish that there were more programs and opportunities for the gifted kids to thrive. I grew up in a tiny farm town over 20 years ago in the middle of nowhere and had taken all of the harder classes by the time I was a HS sophomore. I didn't know where to go from there, nor did my counselor or my parents. I wonder where I would have been had someone/anyone helped me get to the next level. People in the school system don't know what to do with bright kids, they just know what to do with kids with sub average IQs.

Re:The squeaky wheel gets the grease (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504817)

"Equality" is the most poisonous concept ever introduced into political discourse. You'll find mischief wherever you hear it mentioned.

"The doctrine of equality! There exists no more poisonous poison: for it seems to be preached by justice itself, while it is the end of justice."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Home school (5, Insightful)

aethelrick (926305) | about 4 months ago | (#46504743)

Having spent pretty much my entire school life bored out of my mind and unchallenged by uninterested and uninteresting teachers, I recognized this starting to happen in my own son's life. After some initial reluctance and self-doubt, my wife and I removed him from mainstream education and started to home school. We're fortunate that my wife is a stay-home mum dedicated and intellectual enough to do a fantastic job teaching our kids. I help out with the sciences, maths and programming lessons in evenings and on weekends.

In short our choice to home school is the best thing we could have done for our kid, he's significantly happier, learning much more and crucially he's capable of much more than he would be at school because we're prepared to teach him at HIS pace.

We periodically test our son to check how he compares to other students in core subjects like english, maths etc. The last time we did this was a couple of months ago and he was comfortably working at GCSE level in these core subjects. He's well beyond GCSE level in the fields that interest him. He's eight years old.

His teachers could not sufficiently challenge him or make the most of his talents so he was side-lined and ignored at school. My wife and I are now quite confident of our abillity to impart knowledge to our son so we've decided to do the same thing with his little sister.

I don't think mainstream education makes the most of our kids and I don't think it makes great employees either. Having recently tried to hire new junior programmers for my team I was astounded by how weak the candidates were even though they had CS degrees from good universities. Like lots of things in life if you want them doing well you're probably best doing them yourself. Homeschool for the win!

Better than skipping them (4, Interesting)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about 4 months ago | (#46504757)

When I was in primary school, it was pretty evident that I was bored in class, simply because it was too basic. You know what they did? The just pushed me forward a year. And then another, and another, and another. This meant I was 10 when I started high school. You know what sucks about being 10 in high school? Everything. Other kids are assholes - even more than usual - because you make them look bad. Teachers expect more from you, but at the same time, they don't really want to put up with you. Even PE is bullshit at that point, because 10-year-olds suck at physically keeping up with 14-year-olds.

I'm not sure about the numbers, so I don't know if this is a worthwhile endeavor, but here's what I always thought would be a better solution: gifted students should progress at a social pace similar to other kids. This means they would be in a class with other students their age who had also been placed in the gifted student program up until the age of 17 or 18, when they would normally graduate high school anyway. The major difference would be that these students, at a time deemed fit by qualified educators, would begin earning college credits. That way, they would have a running start upon entering college, and not be socially crippled.

What's gifted? (1)

RazorSharp (1418697) | about 4 months ago | (#46504773)

I was steered into "gifted" classes as a child but math never came as second nature to me. I don't have Asperger's syndrome or anything -- I never read particularly fast or could effortlessly absorb patterns. What landed me into the gifted program was the fact that I came from a family of educated individuals. People who spoke English, not some broken dialect that violates basic grammatical rules. They also imposed high expectations, taught me much through travel, and made a point to buy me books rather than toy guns.

Excluding those very rare individuals who have some disorder like Asperger's, children generally have approximately the same academic potential. They're like seeds from a tree. Minor genetic variation exists among them and some really are more predisposed to success than others, but much more important than predisposition is the environment in which they're grown. "Gifted" children in the United States aren't neglected because the vast majority of those who will test as gifted will have one common factor: they come from educated families. Having opportunity doesn't make one gifted.

you fa1l 1t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504787)

ASSOCIATION OF during pl4y, this mod poin ts and

America has a LONG way to go to inequality based o (1)

a4r6 (978521) | about 4 months ago | (#46504809)

What we have is so far from being based on merit it's deplorable. The only kind of intelligence that is in high demand in our upper ranks is social intelligence - people that can lie and manipulate well. Everyone else is just *used* for profit.

Last place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504823)

I have been complaining about this for the past twenty years that my kids have been in school. Move the slow and the 'unwilling to learn' to the front of the class and the best and brightest to the back. In other words, last place. And whatever we do, DO NOT let the brighter kids shine.....it is unfair.

Education (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504825)

There's no doubt it needs a shake up here in America. What we need are stronger public schools. We need to stop draining the money from them. Do NOT privatize them, or you'll end up with walmart education.

As for failing our gifted students... we're failing EVERY student with the current state of affairs. We need to stop the standardized testing which isn't helping our children learn anything. We need to flip the classroom as Salman Khan has been working toward. We need to support our teachers. And yes, TEACHERS need to come up with a plan for fixing poor teachers.. but only AFTER we've fixed everything else and evaluations can be fair.

We need to give every child a chance to be a scientist or an engineer instead of just mostly the white kids. (I'm white, we are wasting many precious resources this country has because of the color of a child's skin) and if that means helping the children who are going slower than their classmates, so be it.

The only thing right about no child left behind was the title. We need to stop leaving children behind.

Gifted students need support as well. Those students who get the school work need to be helped to move forward. I remember that in grade school math and language skills came easy to me. There was nowhere to go with math though. No special programs, nothing to increase my abilities beyond what everyone else did. Language skills were different. There were several tiers of reading and we were separated into groups according to ability. There just wasn't anywhere to go after a certain level. We could have went farther.

i'm from singapore.. (1)

laggist (784355) | about 4 months ago | (#46504871)

..and while gifted children are funneled into special programs as advertised by the article, an outsized amount is spent on students who struggle academically via large vocational training centres known as the Institute of Technical Education (ITE). comparatively, much less is spent on students studying in Junior Colleges (which lead to the British GCSE "A" Levels). I suppose it's important to look after both ends of the spectrum; in this respect, I'd say that at last the U.S. have got half of it right.

well... (1)

buddyglass (925859) | about 4 months ago | (#46504877)

...find ways for us to develop our own native talent without exacerbating inequality.

Good luck with that.

"gifted" is racist (1, Funny)

moke (574418) | about 4 months ago | (#46504881)

I think gifted kids growing up in the richest country in the world will be just fine...

We need to shovel more money at trying narrow the achievement gap between men and women, also minorities. That's not to say we shouldn't have gifted programs. We should. We just need to fill them with people who lack the natural talent and drive to succeed in those fields. And then focus on hiring better teachers to narrow the gap. I'm not sure exactly how much money this will take, but let's just call it "a lot more". Until teachers are better paid than professional athletes and wall street bankers it makes no sense to argue whether teachers are overpaid.

We need to understand that when we see someone excel at something, it's merely the result of gender/racial bias, in need of correction. All humans have equal potential, despite obvious evidence to the contrary, which I will simply assume is the result of unconscious bias. Though I fully believe in evolution, I don't think any selection pressure could cause different populations of humans to be naturally more or less bright as a group, nor could there be any inherent differences between males and females, because this would make me feel bad about the world in which I live.

</liberal>

But it's the only way to make us equal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504897)

I think the problem here is that we have a decent and loud percentage of people who don't just want equal treatment but think the law and government are there to create equal outcomes. Meaning we have to suppress the gifted or just lucky while wasting resources hoping one in ten down's syndrome kids learn to tie their shoes on their own. Anyway time to refer to one of my favorite short stories. [archive.org]

The problem is the govt school monopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504907)

The real problem is the near-monopoly that the govt has on K-12 education. A one-size-fits-all system invariable caters to the fat middle of the IQ curve and it is politically easy in America, where most people have enormous sympathy and want to help those, such as retards and cripples, who find themselves in difficulty through no fault of their own, to find tons of extra money to spend on "special needs" - I hate that term; high IQ students have special needs too - students.

Add to all of that the natural revulsion of Americans toward any kind of education program that funnels students early on onto paths that limit their life aspirations and it is easy to see why govt-run education short-changes high-performing students.

One of the best things about America is that there is no test that children take early on that limits how far they will be able to advance in life. Such tests are common in other countries, but in the U.S. a person can be a high school drop out, decide to get a GED at age 28, attend any college they can qualify to get into and eventually reach the pinnacles of career success. That's one reason why the U.S. has traditionally been the number one immigration destination in the world; America has traditionally been a place where the only barriers to success are the limits of one's talent and willingness to work hard. Any solution to the problem of not properly educating high-performing students must preserve that. Not everyone has their head on straight at age 12. No one's life should be crippled because they didn't perform well on a standardized test at such an early age.

Hoping the smart with rub off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504929)

When I was in school, a common trick my teachers employed was to distribute the smart kids into desk groups with dumb kids hoping the smart kids would help out, and rub off. It wasn't entirely misguided. If you want to get good at something, it helps to do that thing with people that are better at it than you. The result though was some intimidating kid expecting me to let him cheat off of me for every test, saying "yo! how you do dis?!" That was fun. Way better than getting to sit with my friends.

Who is gifted? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46504947)

I had very inconsistent performance through-out school. I had teachers accuse me of being learning disabled during my earlier years (grades 1-3), but I graduated high school with ~95% average and went on to graduate with honours from a top engineering school. I would definitely not have been allowed to join the gifted group had I been subject to this kind of profiling early on. Why should my success or failure be based on the evaluation of largely incompetent people?

I have a relative who only started speaking after the age of 4. He almost certainly would have been moved into the challenged group under this system of identifying the gifted. Instead, under the existing system he flourished graduating from high school at 15 and going on to receive multiple advanced degrees, including one from Harvard.

Truly gifted people succeed despite not being treated with special regard. If you feel that your failure is the fault of your school not pampering you then you are not truly gifted.

I know this is Slashdot, but... (3, Interesting)

superdude72 (322167) | about 4 months ago | (#46504967)

Let me pose a counter argument.

In many fields, we already have more PhDs than we know what to do with. There aren't enough university positions for all of them. Their salaries end up not being commensurate with all those years spent in school, and they live miserable frustrating lives trying to raise funding for their research.

On the other hand, in the USA the public debate still revolves around things like supply-side economics, climate change, and what God thinks about abortion. Issues that are settled among educated people who aren't demagoguing an issue for personal gain.

I would posit that we are already doing enough for the gifted in our society. What we really need to do is *raise the average*. If that means we end up with plumbers who speak three languages and have a B.S. in chemistry, so be it. We are better off as a society when the average person is equipped with the skillset of a university graduate. If you look at the Nordic countries, they're pretty much already there, and better for it.

This was the reason people like Thomas Jefferson supported public education. Not as job training, but as a prerequisite of citizenship. For democracy to succeed, the average person must possess the "ars liberalis"--the liberal arts--literally, the arts and skills of being a free person.

All part of "No Child Left Behind". (2)

Jaywalk (94910) | about 4 months ago | (#46504983)

This is inevitable under the No Child Left Behind Act [wikipedia.org] . The law states that all children have to meet a single standard. The intended consequence is to raise the abilities of the less able and the disadvantaged. The actual result is that the gifted and average, who meet the standard easily, are considered "done" and ignored after that point. All the resources go into raising the abilities of the less able; sometimes an impossible task.

The end result is that the actual potential of most children is what gets "left behind".

on a more productive note... (2)

buddyglass (925859) | about 4 months ago | (#46504995)

There's no screening in the U.S., but I'm not sure we do so terrible a job of serving gifted children depending on where one lives. It's just hit or miss. The city and state where I grew up don't have a reputation for being "good" in terms of education, but there were selective magnet programs at the junior high and high school levels that were pretty decent. My elementary school split its classes by ability, so even at that level I was in a classroom with kids in the top ~quartile. That's more rare these days, but my son's public elementary does the same thing starting in 2nd grade.

What a load of crap. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46505001)

Many many many schools have Extented Learning Programs (ELP) or Advanced Learning Programs (ALP), or some such classes for advanced students. Even 30 years ago when I was in elementary they had advanced classes for accelerated math and reading, is see no shortage of opportunities for my kids to participate in extended learning for math, science, engineering, and even the arts through public school. You want to get the "best and the brightest" to go into science and engineering... increase the pay, prestige, and fun in science and engineering at all levels.

Why is "all extra" money steered to special needs or the "average" students: BECAUSE PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LEARNING OF ALL STUDENTS. Not just the best, or worst, all.

Schools are not keeping up (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 4 months ago | (#46505033)

I was born in 1967.
In the 1970s when I was in elementary school, even in our small rural school (the whole grade was ~50-60 kids), there was a gifted/talented program. It was informal, open to kids solely as recommended by teachers, and essentially took the 4-5 of us in the school who were wasting hours per day doing nothing (Kristi, Steve, Vincent, and later Bob...you might recognize yourselves) in class waiting for the others to catch up, and took us to learn more on pretty much whatever we as a group wanted to do - meteorology, dinosaurs, math, astronomy, etc. It was absolutely great and AFAIK there was no (apparent) resentment by those not in the program, nor did we make a big deal about it.
When I hit 6th grade, we moved to Bloomington MN, and there was a 'high achiever' program for that much larger school district. In this (only for 6th grade) the ~50 kids that qualified after teacher recommendation, testing, and evaluation by (I'd guess?) developmental pschologists and the district were segregated into a totally separate school for the whole year. That was personally rather hard (I don't know that I was mature enough to be in this program in a totally new school, even if I was smart enough) but a second year would have been much, much better, I expect.
The problem was, there WAS no second year...ever. After this 6th grade of extremely high-level classwork, we were all dropped into the mainstream. Maybe those who went back to their old friends had a better experience, but I found 7th grade extraordinarily hard, just going back to utter boredom - and both my grades and attitude reflected the problems. Tough time of life to be even more adrift, imo.
Finally, in high school, there was nothing. I'd completed advanced Chemistry, AP Calc, and Engineering Physics as a junior and had literally nothing left to do as a senior. Fortunately, this was the first year of the Post-Secondary Educational Options (PSEO) program, so I went to a local junior college my whole senior year, but even that wasn't much educational advancement. (The program was also entirely new, and had some teething pains.)

Now, with my own kids 20-30 years later, I see the same thing happening - except there are no actual programs that support gifted/talented at all (while there are ample monies available for the 'mainstreaming' of kids who *might* eventually learn to eat without assistance). Constant boredom, programming that is deliberately designed to hobble advanced students and prevent them getting 'too far ahead'. Some teachers at the elementary level did try, at a personal, individual-class level to help support and address these kids' needs, but by junior high/high school, that level of personal attention absolutely vanished. PSEO is much better, but still, essentially this means that the taxpayers - who already are paying for the schools - are FURTHER subsidizing a school district's inability to sufficiently address educational needs by paying to send those students to local colleges.

Why can't we do this properly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46505035)

OK, posting as AC to avoid accusations of bragging etc. etc....I really don't give an F about mod points.

I was the G&T kid in a down and out area of the UK, far too many years ago. No special treatment, no differentiation. In my day, you learned to keep your quiet and just get on with it. I didn't really let anyone, even my teachers, know what I could do...until it came to A levels, then I pulled the cat out of the bag, got my grades, and chose any university I wanted. Following that I got my Masters and my Ph.D. and ended up in a very nice R&D career thank you very much...time in the US and the UK, created a few industry initiatives and generally made a few waves here and there. It's been fun.

My early education did mark me though. It wasn't cool to be smart, so I wasn't. I played dumb and did dumb things. I never got the highest scores in class and generally kept my head down. I mingled with one or two of the more thuggish elements of the class and generally made sure I wasn't the spof who stood out. Academic excellence was never encouraged. I never got to be stretched or challenged or learn the true exhilaration of working with people who are as smart or smarter than you are - you can run together and achieve great things....It wasn't until I got to University and realized I was still at the top of the heap there (but it was then acceptable to be able to think) that I thought I might have quite a capable stone of meat in there.

The consequence is that I missed opportunities to be _truly_ special, to really stretch out and make a mark. Don't misunderstand me, I've had a great career and I'm very well paid, but I do sometimes wonder what it would be like if I'd been recognized at the earliest stage.

Our son, who is now 12, is also pretty smart (He's also a great sportsman). The difference now is that he's been streamed with 19 other kids who are _also_ very capable and he's being properly stretched. I don't know what he'll do with his life, but he's certainly getting a better runway onto it than I had....I'm pleased to be able to say that he _is_ being stretched, and he can't complain that the system let him down.

The moral? Smart kids are special needs, just like the ones who are at the other end of the spectrum. Treat them like they are and you'll get the best out of them. 50% of the population has below average intelligence. Don't be afraid to recognize both the -3 S.D.s _and_ the + 3 S.D.s....they both need the same amount of help, just different help.

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