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Gifted Issues

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Replies to: Gifted Issues

  • mathyonemathyone Registered User Posts: 4,225 Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    Wow, I wish our school administrators would spend some time on this thread. They like to crow about how wonderful our schools are but offer almost nothing compared to what I am seeing here. Our "gifted" identification involves an extensive battery of tests, recommendations, parent questionnaires and student work samples. About the top 10% of students are identified. And after that long process, they are given a label and almost nothing in services or enrichment. I would not be surprised if the majority of the time and energy of the one or 1/2 gifted teacher per school is spent processing all this testing and paperwork to qualify the kids for....nothing. Once they get that label however, no one will take it away. Why would they? There aren't even any services or programs for them after grades 3-5, the only grades in which the program operates, and now the paltry "gifted education" dollars are being spent on delivering gifted education a few hours a week to all children.
  • mathyonemathyone Registered User Posts: 4,225 Senior Member
    Our schools have in fact been backing away from serving gifted kids over the past 2 decades. I could understand if this were due to budget constraints, but it seems to be more a willful denial that gifted kids can accomplish much more than what they are teaching at grade level or at least putting their needs behind priorities that I can't even guess what they might be. For instance, it used to be that our local elementary school would make sure to schedule at least some of the math classes at the same time. So kids who were well ahead could join a higher grade math class and get the instruction they needed. There was the occasional 4th or 5th grader who would go over to the middle school after completing the elementary school math sequence. At some point, and certainly by 5th grade, there were also 4 levels of math offered. Today, there are only 2 levels of math offered, I think only in 5th grade, and I have heard complaints of boredom from many kids as they have to sit through much repetitive explanation that they didn't need. Today, it's somehow much too difficult to construct elementary school schedules so that some math classes are taught at the same time. A kid in 3rd grade can't attend 4th grade math anymore because it meets during English or not even on the same bell schedule--starts halfway through PE. There is also no attempt to coordinate with the middle school and that opportunity has pretty much closed off.
  • deb922deb922 Registered User Posts: 5,694 Senior Member
    The school my kids went to found that at the end of high school, class rank was pretty evenly divided between those who were identified at gifted and those who weren't. I think only around 10% were identified as gifted in elementary school and put into a one day a week pull out program.

    When the school needed at make cut backs, they wanted to end the one day pull out. The parents of those "gifted" were outraged. How could they?
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 76,116 Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    This article was posted on FB by a friend who is facing difficulties in finding good programs for his gifted child

    Where was your friend looking? We had a kid who was musically talented. We were fortunate that our schools had awesome music programs, but we also looked ourselves outside of school. We had no difficulty finding quality programs for our kid.

    There are tons of resources to tap into...community colleges, continuing education programs. The key is to find an area of interest for the kid. There has to be at least one...and then look for opportunities that mesh with that.

    One of my kids was asked to play in the middle school ensembles as a 5th grader (our MS was grades 7 and 8). We declined the offer. After all...even though put kid was a fine musician, the kid was 11, not 13.
  • DolemiteDolemite Registered User Posts: 2,131 Senior Member
    The Charter school my kids went/go to tried having a gifted program when it started but with funding coming from the Philadelphia School District there just isn't money for it. I always tried to supplement my children's education outside the school as best as possible and fortunately being in a larger city there are opportunities. The one school that kids can go to for accelerated learning is really just a high-achieving curriculum which I don't find desirable though I'm sure there are plenty of gifted kids there and some of the profoundly gifted kids that really need a different kind of environment. In the PSD kids are given the WISC-IV to determine giftedness. I'm not sure how useful or accurate that test is but one child scored in the highly gifted and the other profoundly gifted. I think anyone that spent a little bit of time with both my children could easily deduce which one is which. My reading at the time said that kids that score in the gifted/highly gifted generally perform at the highest level in the basic public school curriculum even accelerated but the kids that score profoundly can sometimes have a much lower than expected performance in a normal curriculum. I worry sometimes that PG kid won't meet potential. I know I met a number of these types when I went to my special admit high school junior year. There were kids there with 2.5-3.0 GPAs but scored 1560 on the SAT first setting - no prep in 10th grade. Fortunately the high school was a boon for them as they were finally able to get the kind of instruction they needed to excel.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,501 Senior Member
    deb922 wrote:
    The school my kids went to found that at the end of high school, class rank was pretty evenly divided between those who were identified at gifted and those who weren't. I think only around 10% were identified as gifted in elementary school and put into a one day a week pull out program.

    When the school needed at make cut backs, they wanted to end the one day pull out. The parents of those "gifted" were outraged. How could they?

    Why the "" around gifted? Is it doubt that gifted kids exist and actually do have special academic needs?

    The issue is not a simple one and "one day pull outs" cannot compensate for being bored the other 80% of the time (assuming that the 20% is actually mentally engaging, which is equally questionable.)

    A possible reason for only 10% of the gifted by rank in high school:
    http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10316.aspx
    The most intellectually gifted students in the United States typically have little good to say about their schooling. Gifted children are usually bored and unengaged in school; they tend to be highly critical of their teachers, who they feel know less than they do, and they are often underachievers. In the best-case scenario, teachers recognize a student as gifted but, unable to teach at this level, they let the child learn independently. In the worst-case scenario, teachers fail to recognize a child as gifted and classify the child as unmotivated or even hostile.

  • mathyonemathyone Registered User Posts: 4,225 Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    Far more interesting than the article posted by the OP is the commentary section on that article with a long list of testimonials from those who were gifted children and pretty much unanimously agree that their school systems did not challenge them or address their needs.

    It is also the case that the usual class ranking systems don't favor the most gifted students. My kid's rank dropped because she took some post-calculus level math classes. She could instead have joined her friends in the "easy" APs and boosted her rank.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,891 Senior Member
    One of my kids is PG. My kids went to a school that was solid academically, but did not offer acceleration for gifted kids. OP, we used a LOT of external resources to keep my kid happy intellectually. Your friend should have their kid test for the talent search in your part of the country (CTY, NUMATS, TIP, etc). That can open up some opportunities (did for my kid). Also, give them this link:

    http://giftedissues.davidsongifted.org/BB/
  • deb922deb922 Registered User Posts: 5,694 Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    @Mom2aphysicsgeek, sorry for putting gifted in quotation marks. I deleted a bunch of what I had written. The school system through testing identified approximately 70% of the class as being gifted. (We lived in Lake Webegon ;) )

    I felt that many, not all for sure, were in the program through parent involvement and not true giftedness.

    I do believe many of the things you said. There were kids who were bored and unengaged. i just felt the process to identify the gifted was very political.


  • MassmommMassmomm Registered User Posts: 3,898 Senior Member
    I have a daughter who is gifted, and also cursed with a mood disorder, so maybe my POV is skewed, but I think her elementary education was mostly very suitable. She was identified as gifted in K, but we moved in the middle of the year back to our home state of Massachusetts, where there is little to no gifted education. We were in a district full of high-achieving,super pushy alpha parents with very bright kids, so our elementary school offered no formal gifted program. The principal explained to me that gifted programs in districts like this cause more problems than they solve, and I well believe it!

    The lack of formal programming turned out to be a good thing, because the teachers felt free to give individualized instruction to the kids who required acceleration. It wasn't perfect, and it depended on the teacher year to year, but in general, her educational experience was quite positive.

    In middle and high school, it all fell apart because there was more of an emphasis on quantity, rather than content, of work in the top level classes. But in college, things have greatly improved. I don't think the world will ever be an easy place for a sensitive, highly gifted person, but ease isn't a very good goal for anyone.

  • mackinawmackinaw Registered User Posts: 3,016 Senior Member
    I commented earlier on this thread about how our public schools made a minimal effort to accommodate gifted kids, especially before high school. They did have my son going across the street to the middle school to take a higher level math of when he was in the 5th grade. But they had no systematic way to allow for advanced math training prior to high school (9-12th grades). There was a leveling attitude: don't make the gifted kids stand out, don't make the other stand out either. In some ways our son was indifferent about this. He had his own agenda, his hobbies. He completed all his required work extremely fast, so had lots of time for his hobbies and (later) his EC's. But the school's curriculum was not demanding enough and a lot of the required work was boring to him.

    Other school districts have a much more differentiated set of courses and curricula. When I was on sabbatical leave in Palo Alto one year, our son was starting the 7th grade. Our first task was persuading the middle school there that he belonged in the "high" 8th grade math class. He had just competed in the council of teachers of math competition and placed 3rd among 6th graders in our state. But when we went to enroll our son in the middle school in Palo Alto and I said that I thought he belonged in the high 8th grade math, they were initially skeptical. After a brief discussion, however, the registrar said, "Here kid, take this test." He went into the next room and returned in 10-15 minutes; the registrar looked over his test sheet and quickly declared, "You were right!" He got into the high 8th grade math as a 7th grader. The teacher was the best math teacher he ever had.
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