This has been a gifted-heavy blog week, for reasons unknown. It is no secret to those that know me that I happen to love the gifted in all of their messy, misunderstood glory. The general population knows very little about these kids and perpetuates common myths in their daily life: gifted kids are straight-A, super-motivated and chronically well-behaved. The unfancy truth is that some gifted students suffer from crippling perfectionism, emotional sensitivity due to heightened awareness of the world around them, asynchronous development, increased rates of ADD/ADHD (known as twice-exceptional or 2E) and more. They are also some of the funniest, most interesting and intuitive people I have ever met; they are challenging, infuriating and fabulous.
And failing in the public schools.
A recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times pointed this out, specifically highlighting an elementary school in Chicago that announced the closure of its gifted program due to "enrollment pressure," just days after the National Association for Gifted Children released a report detailing the ways in which the gifted have been negatively impacted by No Child Left Behind. The school could not justify the extra, gifted-only classroom.
Apparently, the kids just weren't worth the money.
How about this: let's go ahead and eliminate all funding for teacher's aides for one-on-one assistance for kids who need it (autistic, physically disabled, etc). After all, they are such a small part of the population! Let's just throw them into the regular classroom and hope their needs are met, the same way we are doing with gifted kids.
Offensive, isn't it? So why is it okay to treat gifted kids and their education in this manner?
We need to re-evaluate our priorities and make sure all kids get what they need in school. If not, vote with your feet, parents, and find other options. That's what I did!