Skip to comments.Destroying Gifted Education: A National Calamity on the Installment Plan
Posted on 04/01/2013 10:15:01 AM PDT by marktwain
Imagine that the CIA uncovered a Chinese plot to attack the American economy by undermining our educational system, specifically by making sure that we no longer cultivated the smartest of the smart? The response would be outrage, and rightly so. Some might even call it an act of war, far worse than the usual cyber attack. Alas, what our foreign enemies dare not attempt, we inflict on ourselves. This is a war on gifted education, killing off the intellectually demanding programs targeting the top 3 or 5% of our national brainpower.
This war is a barely noticed guerilla war, one school district at a time but rest assured it will be lethal. Time to sound the alarm and explain how it works.
The latest installment of this nefarious stealth battle was reported in a March 4th in a Wall Street Journal articles-"Gifted Class Imbalance." The article told how New York City's classes for the smartest kids were disproportionately white and Asian. Specifically, while whites and Asians make up a third of all students K-5 they comprise 70% of all students in the city's 110 gifted programs.
The implication was that this imbalance is "unfair" and enrollments should reflect the city's overall demography (yes, this is the Wall Street Journal). The article reported that several educators were "disturbed" by the pattern and one professor from the prestigious Teachers College, Columbia University said that the standardized admission tests should be replaced by a more "balanced" approach that included teacher evaluation and student interviews so as to make enrollments more racially and ethnically representative. Elsewhere in the story this gap was blamed on economic inequality--rich parents can buy expensive books to give their children a leg up in the competition for slots.
It goes without saying that relaxing academic standards via demographic quotas would destroy gifted education. Imagine trying to teach pre-algebra to a class where half the class struggles with arithmetic? A teacher would quickly dumb down the lessons lest the less able students fail the class, a politically unacceptable outcome. Moreover, killing off gifted programs via dilution might well further undermine the city's public schools and therefore weaken the city's tax base. How many parents with intellectually talented offspring denied admission to free public gifted programs will stay put when the private school alternative costs $30,000 a year? Better to escape to the suburbs.
Why, then, do some people, including professors of education still demand filling gifted slots by quota despise the awaiting calamity? Let me suggest two reasons: the radical egalitarian faith and the public's misunderstanding of how education works.
The egalitarian faith is easy to spot. True believers, often in the prestige media (e.g., The New York Time) and the academy are obsessed with leveling differences. It's their passionate religion. They oppose glass ceilings, unequal pay, differences in college graduation rates and anything else that shows group-related gaps in accomplishment. That these unequal outcomes may be intractable hardly deters their boiling anger over supposed unfairness and the need for yet more heavy-handed government intervention.
Soon after she graduated, they shut down the program because it was not "equal".
I went to nerd high school and they’ve been fighting the same battle since before I got there (1982). Always not enough minorities, because Jews and orientals aren’t poor and therefore aren’t minorities no matter how few of them there are.
There’s a battle going on for the NYC science schools. Deplorable.
My own school was destroyed by jealous parents who first weakened it with quotas. Then when friends of the quota-system kids ran wild one weekend and vandalized the gym, they closed the school.
It’s really irrational. They wouldn’t try to close La Guardia High School or Performing Arts High School. Why should academic intelligence be different from any other talent?
Gifted kids SHOULD NOT be in school anyway.
Do we really want people with IQs of 140+ being brainwashed into sociopath doctrine and turning into Democrat advisers?!
The same logic applies to white men. They are clearly a minority in the country, yet are discriminated against with impunity.
One culprit is standardized testing. In order to get better test scores, huge efforts are made to reach the students at the bottom of the ability level, and salvage a couple. As a result, nothing is done for the upper level students.
UHS’ best defense has been other magnet schools in the district, they encourage and assist these other schools that cover UHS’ “weaknesses”. Thus we have magnets that draw heavily from the Mexican population, magnets that focus on the arts, stuff like that. So UHS can say “yeah we’re weak on that, BUT those kids are still getting opportunities”. Of course if TUSD wasn’t a ridiculously large district (far too large really) they wouldn’t be able to use that.
I gots my Obamafone.
Wot U talkin?
Anudda white boy project.
Let me suggest a third reason: the desire of elites to eliminate competition for their own kids (expensively educated at private school) from smart middle-class kids for the best college slots and work slots.
They did the same with mine.
The policy of “inclusion,” aiming for the lowest common denominator.
This has been going on for over 35 years!
The solution has been obvious and avoided for just as long.
Cut out the crap courses to ensure all students have a worthwhile foundation.
Cut the administration staff in half.
Fire the Unions who perpetuate such waste.
Then you will have plenty of money, with existing income, to provide a substantial and meaningful mainstream track, as well as gifted and learning disadvantaged programs.
Warning! Blog within a blog... The tyranny of equality its the BIG THING! Most are for it (who could oppose) but what is equality and who gets to define it? One equality that of before the law (that used to govern us) and where wealth and social standing are of no benefit is foundational to our Constitution. But a more sinister form of equality (a pathogen IMHO), is among us. Wearing a mask of benevolence it is ANYTHING but in fact, it is malevolent! The equality of outcome, regardless of effort or talent applied by the individual. This equality is the ENEMY of excellence and must be enforced (top-down) by a very unequal oligarchy of academics, government officials and media enforcers. Most evident in the public educational system where more and more we see the de-emphasis of honors programs (Valedictorian/Salutatorian) the outstanding are diminished and even marginalized less some less accomplished have their all-important feelings hurt.
So the outstanding are NOT to be recognized and thus often discouraged from their pursuit of excellence. This trend is gaining as people (especially minorities) are basically told by their leaders and authorities, government and academic, to STAY PUT in whatever societal position they currently occupy. Our safety net is often not a hammock but a PRISON from which there is little chance of escape! This idea of equality has more in common with the equality of slaves, than of free people. As again this version of equality must enforced (root word FORCE) as those who seek excellence are told they need not apply, less they become unequal (the 21st Century original sin). Such equality is tyranny and chains! Are we observing the sad evidence of a once great nation now in decline? God save us from equality!
They didn't know what to do with me, so they just sent me to the library every day. I helped the librarian, and she came up with projects for me to do.
That's how I got involved with model rocketry, and also when Mensa invited me to join.
I declined Mensa's invitation. This was late 70s.
Nice blog. You should start your own.
It is clear most freepers are in the top 10%.
My poor granddaughter was in the gifted program because she excelled in her school work. Then they decided that they had to have a certain IQ and they sent her for testing. She pretty much flunked the IQ test, LOL.
They kept her in the class because she was smart and was a good motivater but they didn’t get any extra money.
We knew that the IQ test was wrong and as time went on we found out that she stresses so badly that she almost seizes.
She was in a race in HS was beating everyone and stopped at the last hurdle and stared at it do seconds like she didn’t know what it was then her head cleared and she backed up and jumped it and went for the finish line.
After she took the ACT she broke out in fever blisters and canker sores. She only scored a 22 and was going to take it again but her parents told her not to, she had a good enough scholastic record that she could get scholarships and she did.
She is in college and doing great, she is a cheerleader which takes at least 3 hours a day, she works 20 hours a week.
I served in the U.S.Navy for six years as a crypto-linguist.
There were very few blacks at language school, and none were in my Chinese language course.
When I arrived at my duty station overseas, there were no black sailors serving as a crypo-linguist. There were morse key operators, administration and technical equipment personnel who were black, but they were few in number.
Signals intelligence tested extensively for the specific requirements to each rating. It wasn’t the linguistic tests that kept blacks or hispanics out; it was the tests for cryptanalysis.
Must you be so insensitive? Everyone deserves the right to be sociopathically educated.
The programs for intelligent children are “Racist.” So shut “Em” down! It is also an offense against “humanity” to point out that our experience with certain groups have been a disaster against the United States; a Social disaster, Political disaster and Economic disaster!
The most segregated activity in urban high schools is probably athletics. I demand quotas NOW! Basketball teams should reflect the diversity of America. Besides, NBA players earn vastly more than the nerds in the science magnets ever figure to make. We need affirmative action hiring there as well.
Exactly. The only thing that will save education is to get government out of it. Privatize all of it, cut property taxes drastically so people can afford to send their kids to the school of their choice, and give vouchers to the poor.
Trying to save government schools is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
This country is cooked. Stick a fork in it.
It’s not “income inequality” that is causing this “gap” of representation by race.
It’s a “give a damn about my kids” gap that’s causing the disproportionate representation.
IE, it’s cultural.
Richard Feynman, Nobel prize winner and one of the most influential scientists of the 20th century, had his IQ tested when he was in high school... he scored 125.
He was sensitive about the subject of IQ for the rest of his life.
Well, we are a small school, but we are identifying our Gifted & Talented kids and putting them in Honors. I guess one of the nice things about having a school that is 99% Latino is that our Honors class looks just like all the others.
Exactly right. Parent/teacher conference night is usually the night I meet the families of my 'A' students. The others don't care enough -- and don't tell me they can't take the time off work, because when they want to go to Vegas, they manage.
I like the image of the Procrustean bed, where those to tall to lie on its comfortable have their legs chopped off and those too short are stretched till their legs are pulled from their sockets.
I blame the culture. Cultures that prize high intelligence produce kids who are highly intelligent, in part because of who they choose to marry. There is a theory that Jews in eastern Europe were highly intelligent because the sons of rabbis married the daughters of rich merchants. I have read, however, that in this country, the number of smart Jews is declining because of so many love matches.
Well, let us flip the coin and see how many kids who are athletically gifted receive huge subsidies from the schools. Black kids who can run fast and jump high get paid far more attention than the smart ones. Not too many great Jewish athletes.
Which is not going to happen.
Kinda like how Kim Jong il wanted to control the development of triplets because he feared that they could oppose him (due to local superstition).
Democrats fear that plebeian children will become too smart. Only “selective” elites are allowed to have a proper education. The rest must be controlled and herded like cattle.
You are correct. Washington D.C. spends some of the most on K-12 education of anywhere in the country. They have some of the lowest test scores.
They hired a consulting firm to find out why.
Very short hand of what they found: The parents did not value learning, and kids that worked hard in school were bullied and accused of “acting white”.
D.C. does not have a culture that values learning, so there children to not do well academically.
“there children to not do well”
their children do not do well
I blame it on the spell checker!
This is nothing new. When my kids were elementary school age, teachers’ kids were automatically slotted into the gifted program even if they were dumb as a bag of hammers. We used to call the program the Teachers Travel Club for all of the nice, expenses-paid trips they went on.
One of the easiest ways to equalize outcomes is to hold back the smarter kids to let the slower ones catch up. All this does is frustrate the smarter kids and kill their desire to excel. And now we wonder why our kids hate math and science and would rather be entertainers or athletes - at least on the ball field you are permitted to excel. It’s the exact same principle by which socialism inevitably destroys work ethic and creativity - why bother?
It was probably a bad day for him. I did badly on one of those tests when there was a Flutophone class in the classroom right below us. The sound of those things was horrendous and got on my nerves. Everyone was walking on air after the test except me—I knew I did badly. I think it was the National Merit exam. I didn’t even get a letter of commendation.
Interesting article. I have a different perspective on gifted programs. My mother chose to homeschool us in large part because she'd been in a G&T program in the 70s. It was designed to turn the "smart" kids into nice brainwashed liberal puppets and it took her years to throw off the programming.
Remember, the point of government schooling is to turn 95% of kids into welfare bums/factory workers/worker bees, and 4.5% into the managers and supervisors for the 95%. Only about .5% need to be truly educated in order to rule society the way our benevolent overlords want. If you haven't read John Gatto's book, Underground History of American Education, you really should, it's available online for free.
The party hasn’t changed in over a century and a half. SSDD(Same s!$+, different day)
indeed! Good point!
And ...it will still be godless and a socialist entitlement and one of the most serious threats to our continuing freedom.
And ...it will still be godless and a socialist entitlement and one of the most serious threats to our continuing freedom.
Gifted or non-gifted they are all learning to think and reason godlessly just to cooperate in the godless classroom. And the lucky tax payers are under police threat to pay for it.
Any parent and teacher night I have ever attended has been a complete waste of my time, the teachers time and the tax payers money. If teachers were honest they would admit that anyone need ending a conference needs more than the puny 5 minutes allotted per parent.
I taught school (long-term sub), then worked, then homeschooled, knowing what I knew about the inside of a classroom: I could never help the gifted kids, could never help the below-grade-level kids, just had to focus on most of the kids.
After our son graduated, however, I volunteered in a local Middle School, wondering if I would want to teach again. While there, I attended several Gifted conferences and workshops. Not for me. I didn’t see the liberal brainwashing part of ‘gifted ed,’ but I saw how it could not work in a classroom setting. Really.
I left for 1:1 tutoring when I was told, off the cuff, ‘You are the wrong color; you cannot teach math here.’ Ahh, but I can volunteer?
That kind of ‘equality’ is what made the French cut off heads of those who disagreed with them. It is very bad, the fruits are very bad - they (leaders) emulate it at our peril.
Are you still tutoring? In what sort of setting?
I finished homeschooling last spring and have been working as a tutor and as a substitute teacher this year. I love the tutoring. Subbing...not so much. All it does is make me very happy that my four kids were not in the system. It is not as bad as everyone says it is. It is worse. Many of the kids in the schools are quite aware that their time is being wasted.
I know teachers at schools that have day and evening conferences to accommodate every ones schedule. Only the A student parents show up.