Thursday, August 30, 2012

What Should Be on the Tombstone of Gifted Education? Part 2: Separate Gifted Program in All Schools

A Gifted Man
A Gifted Man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
by Louis R LaMont

What Should be on the Tombstone of Gifted Education? A 5-part Series on Gifted & Talented Education

Part 2: Why There Needs to be a Separate "Gifted" Program in All Schools

From Part 1, we have seen background information provided that set the stage for why gifted education is about to be dead and buried in the educational system. The greatest factor working against gifted students was the infiltration of the programs by students who do not need to be there.

These mediocre and unmotivated students distract teachers and their resources away from the truly gifted kids. As a result, the learning experiences and the goals of the gifted child are decidedly reduced in effectiveness and efficiency. This leads to gifted students trying to advance their own education without the teacher's assistance.

Another factor working against modern gifted education is that the programs designed to educate gifted children are being closed in favor of transferring these funds into state testing preparation materials or other such programs.

During my own years in the classroom in preparation for state testing, the primary focus has always been on the lower level student and the so-called "bubble student" who is only a few points away from passing. Ninety percent of the test prep resources are geared for these children and all of the activities are designed to review or teach the at-risk kids.

The gifted child who is going to pass these tests regardless is purposefully left out of the test review process. For three to four weeks during the test review, the gifted child is left out of the educational process and expected to simply fend for themselves.

Since educational testing is the key to success in schools today, there is no real need to have a dedicated gifted program. It is this type of thinking that has eliminated gifted programs all over the country.

However, rather than abandon the gifted child, the gifted program should be expanded and made available to each and every school in every district. By doing this, the school could make arrangements to provide the gifted children the advanced instruction that they require while at the same time working with the middle and lower level students who require more of a dedicated test prep environment.

In terms of test prep, it is the gifted child that raises the "commended rates" of test scores. By establishing special test prep for gifted students, the school could increase every testing category and radically improve their political position in the state.

The distribution of gifted program facilities is generally done by making a single facility within the district a "gifted" school. In very large districts, a magnet school is designed to bring students from all over the district.

Having a central location has the advantage of isolating the instruction of the gifted group but it is extremely competitive and several gifted students are rejected. A more effective method of gifted student distribution is to have an in-house gifted program in each school that can potentially reach many more students. This would also have the advantage of allowing teachers to create more varied gifted programs and curriculum that would widen the activities within the district.

Coming in Part 3: Worsening Classroom Activities for the Gifted Student

The Prairie Science Academy exists to seek out students who are highly motivated to begin a career in the sciences and provide a series of accelerated educational experiences. Our graduates finish the PSA program with a two-year head start on all public school graduates with the same goals.

If you or your child is interested in an accelerated education, please fell free to visit our web site at and see the consulting and educational services we can provide to your child.
Louis La Mont, Executive Director & Lead Instructor

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