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.