There was an article in the New York Times yesterday about a topic that is very interesting to me (and you, I suspect): gifted education. You can read it: Some New Help for the Extremely Gifted (registration required).
The article has two components. One half talked about the newly established Davidson Academy, coming to Nevada residents courtesy of the folks at the Davidson Institute (check them out). The Academy itself is not anything earth-shattering — it draws from models established previously by some of the nation’s most successful magnet schools — but I am glad that the news of its opening gave the Times an excuse to write about gifted education. The state of gifted education is the other half of the article, the interesting half.
Here’s an excerpt from that half of the article:
Education experts familiar with the needs of the most gifted students say there are scarcely enough programs to serve them.
“We are undercutting the research and development people of this nation,” said Joseph S. Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, at the University of Connecticut. “No one would ever argue against No Child Left Behind, but when you ignore kids who will create new jobs, new therapies and new medicines, we’re selling them down the river.”
Nancy Green, executive director of the National Association for Gifted Children, said that state and local efforts were admirable but that their inconsistency reflected lost opportunities. A new survey by her association found that among 39 states that responded, 24 spent as much as $10 million on programs for gifted children but 7 spent less than $1 million and 8 spent nothing.
“For a nation, I’m not sure why we value equity over excellence,” Ms. Green said. “All kids are entitled to an appropriate education for their ability, not just those we’re teaching to a minimum standard.”
A 2004 report by the International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa charges American schools with impeding the development of the country’s brightest children and calls the lack of more programs for them “a national scandal.” It warns, “The price may be the slow but steady erosion of American excellence.”
This is a topic we could talk about for hours on end…