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Education The Almighty Buck

The Poor Neglected Gifted Child 529

theodp writes "'Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore,' explains The Boston Globe's Amy Crawford in The Poor Neglected Gifted Child, 'have national laws requiring that children be screened for giftedness, with top scorers funneled into special programs. China is midway through a 10-year "National Talent Development Plan" to steer bright young people into science, technology, and other in-demand fields.' It seems to be working — America's tech leaders are literally going to Washington with demands for "comprehensive immigration reform that allows for the hiring of the best and brightest". But in the U.S., Crawford laments, 'we focus on steering all extra money and attention toward kids who are struggling academically, or even just to the average student' and 'risk shortchanging the country in a different way.' The problem advocates for the gifted must address, Crawford explains, is to 'find ways for us to develop our own native talent without exacerbating inequality.' And address it we must. 'How many people can become an astrophysicist or a PhD in chemistry?' asks David Lubinski, a psychologist at Vanderbilt University. We really have to look for the best — that's what we do in the Olympics, that's what we do in music, and that's what we need to with intellectual capital."
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The Poor Neglected Gifted Child

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  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:12AM (#46504485)
    Fast tracking higher potential students is common pretty much everywhere except the US. Here we "foster understanding and tolerance" by mainstreaming [] students with special needs. We also ensure the average SAT score is below that of countries that limit who can take it to their top students.
    • by ideonexus ( 1257332 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @09:12AM (#46504965) Homepage Journal

      It's interesting that no one is questioning the basic premise of this article: that the US puts more resources into remedial students than gifted. It makes for just one more thing people can complain and get self-righteous about, but my experience in Virginia schools is just the opposite. Here in Virginia, my gifted friends got to attend special highly-funded magnet schools or got to attend the #1 public high school in the country [] and the gifted classrooms at my high school got the best supplies and brightest teachers. As someone who was originally tracked in remedial everything and had to fight his way up to advanced-level courses, I can tell you that the remedial classes received no instruction whatsoever and were basically just holding-pens for students until they turned 18 and the system could kick them out.

      Maybe some states don't have a gifted program, but before we all go tilting at windmills, maybe we should realize this is a state-level problem, one that does not apply to Virginia, and may not apply to your state either.

    • We also ensure the average SAT score is below that of countries that limit who can take it to their top students.

      First, you do know that SAT's are only used for admission to US schools, right?

      Second, even if you were talking about international tests, your complaint that the US doesn't "limit who can take it to their top students" is a complaint that we don't fudge the statistics the way, for example, China does. If they only count Shanghai, then perhaps we should only count Massachusetts. Then we'll have magically improved our educational system, but ironically only in the opinion of those who know nothing about stat

    • Here in Ontario, Canada we run special programs in most districts for the top 2% children. In some places its one day a week, others its a full-time replacement for normal grade school geared to the gifted.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:13AM (#46504491) Homepage

    Smart and gifted kid? Shove them to the back of the class. Oh that not so bright kid that can run and catch really good? he is a superstar!

    We worship the Low IQ and brawn. (NFL players for example) while ridicule anyone smart. It is a culture thing, and in inner city urban cultures being a smart kid get's you isolated badly as your peers try to make you feel as if you are a traitor.

    It has always been this way, on top of that Teachers are scared to death of kids that are smarter than them, and will punish the smart kid. Our education system is set up for average and can not handle the two sides of the bell.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Australia also has a gifted, oh wait, it is only for sports douche's. Want to know the real reason why this is so, because they sell advertising, and the companies that sell shit get lobbyists to get the government to pay and promote sports, basically subsidising advertising to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Face it, reality is science and engineering types don't not make good advertising tools. Often they are not pretty enough (or average enough looking according to this http://www.faceresea []

    • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:39AM (#46504693)

      Oh that not so bright kid that can run and catch really good? he is a superstar!

      You've really only touched upon the disfunction in American society. I could write a Ph.d thesis on how the United States is breeding itself into obsolecense. We are a country that is more obsessed with brawny men in tight pants moving a ball from one end of a large field to another than we are with keeping our country educated and competitive.

      When I was getting my degree, our school would close off parking for academic purposes so the football spectators could park. Nevermind that we had group assignments to complete; there be a bunch of young boys moving their balls across the field!

      Our society is slitting its own throat.

      • the United States is breeding itself into obsolecense

        Eugenics - how very retro. Please say more about your "thesis".

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:44AM (#46504729)

      We worship the Low IQ and brawn.

      Nah, the USA worships one and only one thing: money

      NFL star of the day is making money. Worship.

      Former NFL star who blew all his money away? No worship. Might even laugh at him

      Different former NFL star who uses his money to build a business? Worship.

      Note that worshiping money isn't the same as worshiping wealth. As comedian Chris Rock once said: Shaq is rich. The guy who pays Shaq is wealthy.

      Americans worship the rich NFL star, but not the wealthy guys who run the NFL. The truly wealthy people mostly operate unnoticed, or they're seen as "evil rich people". Only a few people worship the wealthy, and they're often called right-wing nutjobs

      • We worship the Low IQ and brawn.

        Nah, the USA worships one and only one thing: money


        Former NFL star who blew all his money away? No worship. Might even laugh at him

        But you're kind of missing that it's a self-reinforcing cycle. We worship them for being rich, yes, but he's only rich because we worship him. Take away our worship, and the rock-stars, movie stars, and pro-athletes never become rich in the first place.

    • This phenomenon is hardly new, nor hardly unique to the US. Just look at old war posters.

      I would also argue that it serves a valid purpose to beatify normal (in the scientific definition). Those in the middle of the bell curve are most helpful to society when they are not threatened.

      That is not to say we should not put special resources into those at the ends of the bell curve, at both ends, and at any bell curve we tend to look at (e.g. art, science, empathy, sports, and even beauty).

      But it is better for s

    • Our education system is set up for average and can not handle the two sides of the bell.

      We can rail all we want about how the education system is so "stupid", but it's not. It produces exactly the kind of people that a monopoly system is required to produce. Look all around - wherever parents have a choice of schools, they send their kids to the best one, often if the costs are severe.

      They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table and think about how badly they're getting fucked

    • by failedlogic ( 627314 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @09:10AM (#46504951)

      "Smart and gifted kid? Shove them to the back of the class. Oh that not so bright kid that can run and catch really good? he is a superstar!"

      I can't speak of the entire job market, but there are a lot of very smart people without jobs right now. If smart kids are encouraged to be smart and pursue higher academic goals, we need an economy that can support them first and not just at the Grad school level. One major hurdle is TFA posted yesterday about Gates predicting workforce replaced by AI/Robots article. We need to plan and prepare for the future by having real discussions on the future workforce. With all the recent unemployed/underemployed Grads right now, there isn't much motivation as it is.

      The start-your-own business model fails miserably when too many people are competing for finite resources.

      "Teachers are scared to death of kids that are smarter than them"
      Not only that but we have an education system that 'forces' everyone to think the same way.

      • by Xyrus ( 755017 )

        In this country, being able to entertain the masses pays much much better than being able to cure cancer. Being sociopathic and ruthless is rewarded much more than being a hard worker. Our culture is broken.

    • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Monday March 17, 2014 @09:54AM (#46505321) Homepage

      I think we also need to seriously reevaluate how we're thinking about which kids are "smarter". At least when and where I was going through school, the school wouldn't "shove the smart kids to the back of the class," so to speak. By high school, they did put the "smart kids" into honors classes and AP classes and spent a lot of time helping them get into college and all that.

      The problem was more that all the "smart kids" were largely upper-middle class white and Asian kids who had no behavior problems, no learning disabilities, and were all sweet little goody-two-shoes who did exactly what their teachers said. If you strayed at any point from the approved path, or from the approved line of thinking, you were a "bad kid" who no longer deserved an education. It very much fit into the complaints that I've read that our education is a "factory model", i.e. children are comparable to cogs being churned out in a factory. If the kids adhere to the specs we have set out, then they're "good" and should be move along in the process. If they don't adhere to spec, then they're defective and need to be thrown out.

      The problem is that there are lots of wonderful and intelligent and useful people who don't "adhere to spec". There may be people with a lot of potential who don't score well on standardized tests. They may be brilliant in some ways but a disaster in other areas of their academic career. We learn, sooner or later, that different people have different strengths, but just because they don't fit the mold of a "perfect student" doesn't make them worthless.

    • You're choosing what you focus on to justify your cynicism. Or maybe elitism. The NFL for example, is not all brute force and no thinking. There's a reason the sports talk shows are TALK and not just movies of players lifting heavy weights. Sports fans who yell at the TV seem to be yelling more about strategy than about "TACKLE THAT GUY HARDER!!!!"

      Likewise I'm sure you can point to specific examples of where jocks were rewarded more than nerds, but I could point at just as many examples of the opposi
  • Such program already exists. Advanced Placement, Science Bowl, International Baccalaureate, etc. Just put more money into those programs.
    • Kinda difficult when all the "extra" money in public education is being spend to destroy public education.

    • by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <> on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:24AM (#46504579) Homepage Journal

      Those programs have been defunded in favor of Common Core.

      • Re:Existing programs (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @09:38AM (#46505197) Homepage

        ^^^^ Wish I had mod points to mod this up.

        In our school district, they are talking about cutting art and music in elementary school due to lack of funds. However, they are hiring 4 administrators whose job it will be to teach teachers how to implement Common Core the "right way." The "right way" in New York being EngageNY which is literally a script that teachers must read to their students. They are told what to say, how to say it, when to say it and how long to stay on each topic - broken down into 10 - 15 minute segments. They are not allowed to deviate from the script (though some teachers still do, risking getting in trouble in favor of educating their students). All students, meanwhile, are required to learn in exactly the same way at exactly the same pace. Because we all know that all kids are exactly alike, right?

    • When I was a child, my school district didn't have AP programs. Luckily, my daughter has access to them, but like you said, they are under-funded. It's doubly bad since we are in Texas. Our high school stadiums rival many small college's. It's a tremendous shame.
    • by mc6809e ( 214243 )

      "Just" put more money into those programs?

      How many more votes will that give the party in power in the next election? Probably none, so it won't happen.

      Democracy works hard to please the 51% -- not the 5% of parents that have a gifted child.

      Of course those parents pay taxes just like other parents, but that doesn't mean the state has to give a damn.

      Democracy doesn't require that the state please everyone -- it only must please 51%. And the system is constantly adjusting to figure out how to screw the 49% to

    • When was the last time you went to the Science Bowl and it rivalled the crowd seen at your typical Homecoming game?

      Schools suffer the same way society does, in the pursuit of the allmighty dollar. Boys/men tackling one another then spanking one another for a job well done generates more money than little Timmy's discovery of cold fusion in a shoebox. The focus isn't only on sports, it's on bringing the average up as well.

      I have a friend who is a 5th grade teacher and we were discussing what's goin on in ou

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:14AM (#46504499)

    The entire POINT of offering special educational opportunities to gifted children is to help them grow further than they would in a standard classroom. That increases inequality between them and the other children that aren't capable of handling the gifted kids' workload.

    • by eapache ( 1239018 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:30AM (#46504633) Homepage
      And, taking the premise that inequality is bad, then this is bad. In fact, under that premise, meritocracy itself is bad because it awards benefits to those who already have an advantage of some sort.

      The west's obsession with both meritocracy and equality is hilariously impossible.
      • by careysub ( 976506 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:44AM (#46504725)

        And, taking the premise that inequality is bad, then this is bad. In fact, under that premise, meritocracy itself is bad because it awards benefits to those who already have an advantage of some sort. The west's obsession with both meritocracy and equality is hilariously impossible.

        Balancing two competing but important objectives? Impossible?

        No, it is the basic problem of all life. If you can't do that, you can't do anything of value.

        Note the poster has framed this to push the view that it is "worrying about inequality" that must be bad, not inequality itself.

        And of course the premise that attacking inequality must necessarily also attack meritocracy is a false framing. Crony capitalism has far more to do with inequality than "meritocracies" of any sort.

      • And, taking the premise that inequality is bad, then this is bad. In fact, under that premise, meritocracy itself is bad because it awards benefits to those who already have an advantage of some sort. The west's obsession with both meritocracy and equality is hilariously impossible.

        Which is exactly the position we see being espoused in more and more of our governmental policies. The general attitude seems to be that people who achieve more have somehow victimized those who haven't achieved as much. I have an exceedingly low opinion of public schools in general. The ones in my area are bad enough that in my opinion that sending your kid to them comes dangerously close to child abuse. Then I find out that supposedly these crappy schools are in the top 10% of the country. If you have a

    • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:50AM (#46504777)
      I agree. But what I have to wonder if we are missing out in a different way. Some kids develop at a different pace, is it optimal to have a system where a 'late bloomer' is marked as slow or average for their first few years of school? Once that label is put on, it is part of their self image thereafter. What if there are geniuses who don't really come into their own until high school who then never get a chance since they have been 'average'? I read somewhere that when you test people at 35 years these early differences disappear, at least in most cases. Sorry no reference, so it may not be an accurate recollection. Just thinking out loud here, I am not proposing anything.
      • Oops, you're going to hit a nerve with that. Many posters around here consider themselves "gifted" because they learned arithmetic a year earlier than the jocks.

    • by necro81 ( 917438 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:51AM (#46504789) Journal
      The inequality they are talking about is social and economic. The children from well-to-do families always have opportunities beyond those of poorer children. A precocious or "gifted" child from a wealthy family has access to all the resources necessary to realize their potential. Where can an equally gifted child from a poor family turn? Their potential is completely unrealized in the U.S.'s current educational system, even though their abilities could easily vault them and their families out of poverty and into prosperity. Meanwhile, the mediocre children and dullards from wealthy families, owing to the resources available to them, gain entrance into Harvard. This situation reinforces (social / economic) inequality and ossifies mobility. In a country that purports to be a merit society, this should be disturbing.

      I don't begrudge wealthy parents doing everything they can to provide for their children - gifted or otherwise. But as a societal matter, opportunities should exist for exceptional students no matter what their economic status. It's not simply a matter of fairness or equality - we are talking about exceptional children here, by definition not the same as everyone else - but of developing the best talent for the good of all.
    • by locofungus ( 179280 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @09:10AM (#46504949)

      The problem isn't giving gifted children the opportunity to take advantage of their gifts.

      The problem is that the wealthy will use their wealth to coach, and otherwise promote their average or slightly above average children so that they get into those places for gifted children in preference to the gifted poor child who can only score as average or slightly above average due to lack of opportunity and education.

      I'm sure the same problem happens in the Asian cultures where this is the norm. There is possibly a difference in that educational excellence is seen as something to boast about and so a poor uneducated peasant who has an exceptional child will still want to see them enrolled in a gifted child program unlike in the west where ignorance is sometimes seen as a badge of honour.

    • People seem to forget that "Special Education" is both ends of the curve. Remember that for every genius is another kid with a learning disability. The funding doesn't go directly to the upper echelon, it's split at the school level to cover needed materials on both sides. In many cases the lower end gets more due to the necessary equipment (i.e. catering to movement impairments, special furniture, etc...) required by the students.
      • We've dealt with both ends of the spectrum. Our oldest son has Asperger's Syndrome. Age-wise, he's 10. Intellectually, he's about 12. Socially/emotionally, he's about 6. We've gotten plenty of assistance with helping him with social/emotional issues in school. Things like not eating lunch in the chaos that is the lunch room or using technology to write because he has muscle tone problems that leave him tired and frustrated. However, intellectually, he's basically told to just sit there and wait for t

  • by Third Position ( 1725934 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:15AM (#46504503)

    Wonder what the problem is? You tell me.... []

  • Similar things happen in the UK because schools are assessed on A-C grade achievement. Most of the focus goes on students who are predicted to get C-D.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:26AM (#46504599)

    I think this describes the whole thing.

    As if one had to take away from the one to give to the other. That idea of eihter-or is so cynical I can't believe it.

    The "gifted" are so few that it wouldn't take such a huge amount of money. In the meantime, no investment is too small to raise the "general level" -- but who in power really desires well educated (and possibly critical) sheeple?

    Remember: raising the general level will *help* the luminaries. And of course, the luminaries merit special treatment -- and in exchange will raise the general level.

    • Well said. Mod the AC up please!

    • by ebno-10db ( 1459097 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:53AM (#46504799)

      +5 - someone who thinks instead of priding themselves on being smart.

      Also overlooked is that gifted children should cost no more than average students to educate. Students who are actually gifted should be able to learn more on their own, rather than needing so much handholding. If they can't, then they're not truly gifted.

      • It's not so much that they need more hand-holding as it is that they need curriculum designed to challenge them (instead of leaving them bored with the same things their peers are learning) while not burning them out.

        Sadly, Common Core (at least here in New York with "EngageNY") states that all kids must learn in exactly the same way at exactly the same page. We're raising a generation who are being taught that you MUST stay inside the box at all times because thinking outside of the box is the wrong way t

  • by nani popoki ( 594111 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:28AM (#46504613) Homepage
    I was born in 1948, so I grew up in the era of the "space race". Back then -- at least in the suburban public school system I attended -- the system did emphasize academics for those who scored above average on the standardized tests. (Not that it prevented us nerds from being excluded from the social circles that courted the football jocks.) Science club, math club -- we had them. Local, regional, state and national science and math fairs were common and us over-achievers were expected to participate. AP science, math and English were offered. Yes, the system wasn't as PC as today. But most of the kids who graduated from high school could at least name all the planets in order of distance from the sun.
    • I'm from the same era, and can corroborate nani's experience. Even the football players in my high school -- the guys with scratches on the back of their hands, from dragging them along the ground as they walked -- could name the planets in order.

      Of course, since schools were funded by a property tax on the local landowners, the same opportunities were not available to the poorer kids going to the school on the other side of town. The desire was to raise that school to the academic level of the rich schoo

    • most of the kids who graduated from high school could at least name all the planets in order of distance from the sun.

      And the sequence ended in pizza or pancakes. Now it ends in nachos. Nachos are not a meal!

  • by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:35AM (#46504665)
    By standardizing everything, and focusing on the those who are struggling, we are boring the smarter kids. They go through school with little struggle, because they pick up the content quickly. Later, when the concepts get harder, they have trouble because they were not challenged earlier in the educational process.
    • by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:45AM (#46504733) Homepage
      This is so true. I have received a few comments from my daughter's teachers that it's amazing to find a student who not only understands the material, but also participates in class.

      I'd also like to point out that we shouldn't be directing the "gifted" children into certain fields but rather trying to figure out what they want to do. When I was in school, I got noticed as gifted, along with a few other kids, and they started a program for us. Mostly a lot of the older sciences like biology and chemistry, which I was really never interested in. They never bothered to ask me what I wanted to learn. Had there been extra computer courses or something along those lines, I would have got a lot more out of the extra work I had to do.
    • by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:50AM (#46504775) Homepage Journal

      True in parts and yet horribly wrong in others.

      Disclaimer: I was a "gifted child" and yes, I was bored in school, so much that my parents sent me to a psychologist (who told them there's nothing wrong with me except that I'm bored) and then to special gifted-child after-school courses. I had my first chemistry course 5 years before I had it in school, and I had computer lessons and shortly after my own computer in 6th grade, at a time when computer stuff was an optional course in high school.

      And yet, I don't blame school for ruining my chances. On the contrary, I believe school should be much like it used to, i.e. roll back the dumbing down you've done to it just because you want better PISA scores. Schools purpose is to create a baseline, a solid level of basic education that later on in life you can expect everyone to have. As such, it has to be so that everyone can acquire it. Some easily, some will struggle, but it is a (low) standard and exactly because of that it is useful.

      What needs to change is the attitude that school covers everything. These days, not only have people largely stopped understanding that you can (*gasp*!) educate yourself out of school, in addition to whatever you get there, but you should also (*big gasp*!!) let the school do the teaching and keep things like teaching manners and basic social skills at home with the parents who desperately need to stop thinking they can outsource the raising of a child.

      If more people understood school correctly as a standardized base-level, less people would send their kids to school and think that covers their parental responsibilities and aside from that it's just feeding and housing the brat.

    • Parents need education to do these things -- I work woth Indian colleagues who put their kids in advanced Saturday math classes. My parents would never have dreamed of doing that for me 30 uears ago. Dumped into a public school, their job was done -- after all, politicians and teachers say so! When not begging for more money to do more of whatever it is they do that's so awesome.

      Someone mentioned AP, well, that's too late. This needs to go on in grade school onward. When I got to U-M, kids ran around b

    • by gsslay ( 807818 )

      This is very true. And you don't even have to be gifted to suffer from it.

      I was not a "gifted" child, merely above average. Yet I can still recall the horror of classes taken by teachers who insisted that everyone progressed at the same speed as the slowest pupil. So I'd be forced to sit idle while listening to something being explained to the entire class, something that many of us had already successfully mastered. I was bored stupid, hated the teacher, and not progressing at the rate I was capable of

    • Contrarian: The main thing you get for demonstrating being smarter is MORE classroom time, after-school classes, extra homework, more difficult stuff . . . so why do it? Or at least that's the way it was for a bunch of years - not getting BETTER stuff, or MORE INTERESTING stuff, just more crap work. At least nowadays there are more interesting programs like robotics, *if* your school happens to have it - and if, unlike some friends of ours, the school helps you work with it (athletes get allowances for
  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:38AM (#46504687) Journal
    But somehow, if you begin to screen for exceptional intelligence, you are (horrors) implying that some of the snowflakes aren't so special after all.

    We have an active religious lobby in the US that discourages free thinking, preferring indoctrination that includes no Bayesian interference.

    Unless and until equivalent accolades are placed upon the throne of intellectual exceptionalism, American society is doomed to do well in the Olympics and poorly in graduating advanced math/science/physics wunderkind.

  • what an idiot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom ( 822 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:40AM (#46504701) Homepage Journal

    But in the U.S., Crawford laments, 'we focus on steering all extra money and attention toward kids who are struggling academically, or even just to the average student' and 'risk shortchanging the country in a different way.'

    No, you utter imbecile. The problem of the western culture is not fund distribution. It's attitude.

    Our "stars" are musicians, actors and professional athletes. Certainly people who work hard and having natural talent definitely helps - but it's not the smart, gifted people we adore in our culture. There's no science-based equivalent of the Super Bowl. The closest we get is that we sometimes thing astronauts are pretty cool.

    You want more smart people in your country? I don't have a magic pill for that, but I can give you an indicator of how close you are: When the sexy girls fuck the geeks instead of the football studs, you're getting somewhere. When this map [] has more scientists on it than coaches, you're pretty close. When we pay two-digit millions in salary not to people who pretend to be a robot from the future on camera, or throwing an air-filled dead pig gut around, but to people who work on curing cancer or inventing new methods for energy production, then you won't have to worry about not having enough brains in the country.

    The funding thing is just a small part of that culture.

    • Re:what an idiot (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @09:00AM (#46504867) Journal

      You want more smart people in your country? I don't have a magic pill for that, but I can give you an indicator of how close you are: When the sexy girls fuck the geeks instead of the football studs, you're getting somewhere.

      Parent is describing Nerdtopia.

      And there's something else in there about higher pay, too.

    • Two things, first, maybe girls didn't fuck the nerds because they were unattractive. Being attractive and being smart aren't mutually exclusive. That's why they didn't fuck me, however, could also be that I didn't fancy any of the girls in my school so I didn't even try.

      (Wish I did, kind of fucked me up later in life)

      Or maybe you were on the football team and they did fuck you and you felt guilty or something.

      Second, you know this is true in other countries right? Even in Korea, China and Singapore?


  • by bluegutang ( 2814641 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:43AM (#46504717)

    why are we looking Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and China as our models? What scientific advances have come out of those countries recently?

    US universities still generate a disproportionate fraction of scientific research, and US companies generate a disproportionate fraction of technological innovation.

    There's nothing wrong with spending money on gifted kids, but something is wrong with how those countries do it.

    • It could be they're still losing quality graduates to emigration.

      One of the perceived strengths of a life in the West is the better standard of living, complete with better individual freedoms in everyday life.

      It makes you wonder why we're working so hard to alter these perceptions.

    • by Xyrus ( 755017 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @11:19AM (#46506185) Journal

      why are we looking Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and China as our models? What scientific advances have come out of those countries recently?

      Not many, because they send their kids to US universities which get the credit. Look at the names on those research papers getting published. Last I checked, Yang, Matsumoto, and Konwa were not common last names in the US.

      US universities still generate a disproportionate fraction of scientific research, and US companies generate a disproportionate fraction of technological innovation.

      Of course they do. But look at the rosters. Do you think US universities and companies limit themselves to the US? On my own projects it's pretty common to have 50% or more of the team be from a foreign country. Both universities and companies pull the best they can the cheapest they can and take the credit where possible.

  • Home school (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aethelrick ( 926305 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:46AM (#46504743)

    Having spent pretty much my entire school life bored out of my mind and unchallenged by uninterested and uninteresting teachers, I recognized this starting to happen in my own son's life. After some initial reluctance and self-doubt, my wife and I removed him from mainstream education and started to home school. We're fortunate that my wife is a stay-home mum dedicated and intellectual enough to do a fantastic job teaching our kids. I help out with the sciences, maths and programming lessons in evenings and on weekends.

    In short our choice to home school is the best thing we could have done for our kid, he's significantly happier, learning much more and crucially he's capable of much more than he would be at school because we're prepared to teach him at HIS pace.

    We periodically test our son to check how he compares to other students in core subjects like english, maths etc. The last time we did this was a couple of months ago and he was comfortably working at GCSE level in these core subjects. He's well beyond GCSE level in the fields that interest him. He's eight years old.

    His teachers could not sufficiently challenge him or make the most of his talents so he was side-lined and ignored at school. My wife and I are now quite confident of our abillity to impart knowledge to our son so we've decided to do the same thing with his little sister.

    I don't think mainstream education makes the most of our kids and I don't think it makes great employees either. Having recently tried to hire new junior programmers for my team I was astounded by how weak the candidates were even though they had CS degrees from good universities. Like lots of things in life if you want them doing well you're probably best doing them yourself. Homeschool for the win!

    • Re:Home school (Score:4, Insightful)

      by SuricouRaven ( 1897204 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @09:31AM (#46505125)

      The problem with homeschooling is consistency. It's also commonly used by parents who just want to mold their children into little duplicates of themselves - which is exactly what you are doing. Fine for you, you sound like a good person to duplicate, but there's a reason much of the homeschool movement in the US is run by fundamentalists who want to shield their children from 'evilution' and make sure they grow up to be flag-waving american-exceptionalist patriots.

      Unfortunately most parents are not so intellectually capable nor so intellectually honest as yourself, so homeschooling is really not a good general solution.

      • by Vexler ( 127353 )

        The problem with a general solution in education is that it does not exist. Period. Since no two people are alike in their learning styles, attempting a cookie-cutter solution is basically what our public school system has been doing and failing miserably at for umpteen years.

        Yes, one *COULD* use home schooling to mold one's children into carbon copies. One *COULD* use the system to avoid "evilution". But one could also use it to stimulate critical thinking, independent and insatiable learning, and deep

      • Re:Home school (Score:4, Informative)

        by dbc ( 135354 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @11:24AM (#46506251)

        Stop spreading uninformed drivel. In one large, mainstream, local homeschooling group, about 45% of the members homeschool for religious reasons. The rest have a large variety of reasons. In the homeschooling group we are most active in, it is 100% gifted students who's parents were dissatsified with the various public and private school options.

        Modern homeschooling doesn't happen so much at home any more anyway. There are many online options. It becomes online schooling with home tutoring. You might want to read "Disrupting Class" by management consultant Clayton Christensen. His thesis is that soon public schools will switch to the same model -- online class delivery according to the students' needs, with teachers reinforcing and tutoring on a more individualized basis.

        Homeschooling is a great option for gifted kids. They crave challenge -- as a parent, you want to find good mentors and activities for them, and then stand back.

  • by rebelwarlock ( 1319465 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @08:47AM (#46504757)
    When I was in primary school, it was pretty evident that I was bored in class, simply because it was too basic. You know what they did? The just pushed me forward a year. And then another, and another, and another. This meant I was 10 when I started high school. You know what sucks about being 10 in high school? Everything. Other kids are assholes - even more than usual - because you make them look bad. Teachers expect more from you, but at the same time, they don't really want to put up with you. Even PE is bullshit at that point, because 10-year-olds suck at physically keeping up with 14-year-olds.

    I'm not sure about the numbers, so I don't know if this is a worthwhile endeavor, but here's what I always thought would be a better solution: gifted students should progress at a social pace similar to other kids. This means they would be in a class with other students their age who had also been placed in the gifted student program up until the age of 17 or 18, when they would normally graduate high school anyway. The major difference would be that these students, at a time deemed fit by qualified educators, would begin earning college credits. That way, they would have a running start upon entering college, and not be socially crippled.
    • The problem with that is with kids like my 10 year old son. He has Asperger's Syndrome and is, socially, about the same as a 6 year old. However, intellectually, he's about 12. So where do you put him? In 5th grade with his age-peers? (Where he'll be bored.) In 1st grade with his social-peers? (Bored out of his skull!) Or in 7th grade with his intellectual peers? (Where he'll be mocked for being so "baby-ish.")

    • Why not just stop forcing kids into all-or-nothing advancement? Put kids into each class based on ability, rather than age or "gifted" status. So for example, you could take Level 9 math, but Level 5 PE.

      But of course that would never work in today's system because all the time spent actually seeing if kids were learning and what level they were at, would take too much time away from memorizing the answers to the standardized tests.
  • I was steered into "gifted" classes as a child but math never came as second nature to me. I don't have Asperger's syndrome or anything -- I never read particularly fast or could effortlessly absorb patterns. What landed me into the gifted program was the fact that I came from a family of educated individuals. People who spoke English, not some broken dialect that violates basic grammatical rules. They also imposed high expectations, taught me much through travel, and made a point to buy me books rather tha

  • ...find ways for us to develop our own native talent without exacerbating inequality.

    Good luck with that.

  • by superdude72 ( 322167 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @09:12AM (#46504967)

    Let me pose a counter argument.

    In many fields, we already have more PhDs than we know what to do with. There aren't enough university positions for all of them. Their salaries end up not being commensurate with all those years spent in school, and they live miserable frustrating lives trying to raise funding for their research.

    On the other hand, in the USA the public debate still revolves around things like supply-side economics, climate change, and what God thinks about abortion. Issues that are settled among educated people who aren't demagoguing an issue for personal gain.

    I would posit that we are already doing enough for the gifted in our society. What we really need to do is *raise the average*. If that means we end up with plumbers who speak three languages and have a B.S. in chemistry, so be it. We are better off as a society when the average person is equipped with the skillset of a university graduate. If you look at the Nordic countries, they're pretty much already there, and better for it.

    This was the reason people like Thomas Jefferson supported public education. Not as job training, but as a prerequisite of citizenship. For democracy to succeed, the average person must possess the "ars liberalis"--the liberal arts--literally, the arts and skills of being a free person.

    • To add to my previous comment re: raising the average, the liberal arts, and democracy: Korea, Taiwan, Singapore. These are all nominally democracies, but they are also much more authoritarian than the western democracies. And that is what a concentration of resources at the top of the academic pyramid facilitates. Authoritarians need a small coterie of highly trained people to manage their societies. They don't need the masses that think they have a place in governance. It isn't surprising that America's b

  • by Jaywalk ( 94910 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @09:14AM (#46504983) Homepage
    This is inevitable under the No Child Left Behind Act []. The law states that all children have to meet a single standard. The intended consequence is to raise the abilities of the less able and the disadvantaged. The actual result is that the gifted and average, who meet the standard easily, are considered "done" and ignored after that point. All the resources go into raising the abilities of the less able; sometimes an impossible task.

    The end result is that the actual potential of most children is what gets "left behind".
  • by buddyglass ( 925859 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @09:15AM (#46504995)
    There's no screening in the U.S., but I'm not sure we do so terrible a job of serving gifted children depending on where one lives. It's just hit or miss. The city and state where I grew up don't have a reputation for being "good" in terms of education, but there were selective magnet programs at the junior high and high school levels that were pretty decent. My elementary school split its classes by ability, so even at that level I was in a classroom with kids in the top ~quartile. That's more rare these days, but my son's public elementary does the same thing starting in 2nd grade.
  • I was born in 1967.
    In the 1970s when I was in elementary school, even in our small rural school (the whole grade was ~50-60 kids), there was a gifted/talented program. It was informal, open to kids solely as recommended by teachers, and essentially took the 4-5 of us in the school who were wasting hours per day doing nothing (Kristi, Steve, Vincent, and later might recognize yourselves) in class waiting for the others to catch up, and took us to learn more on pretty much whatever we as a group wa

  • What else can be said except that he's completely right and that, frankly, I don't think we're smart enough to do it here in the US. The immigration situation here is totally rediculous, there was a time when we would actively seek out genious in the same way as a football team looks everywhere for new players. These immigrants (like Einstein) changed the world and today, for whatever baffling reason, we make the process as difficult and as confusing as possible. If you think about it, immigration by its
  • I was immensely smarter than the average student and had the grades to prove it. I was in the Gifted and Talented program in early education and had advanced math training, etc. When it came time to go to a very cheap, local technical school since that's all I could afford, there were zero scholarships for smart people. My ACT score didn't get me a damn thing. I had to have parents in a certain club or be an immigrant or have 1 parent or be a minority or be pregnant or have a family member in the milita
  • This is going to sound like a troll, but hear me out:

    Their entire way of life is dependent on a few smart people at the top (and by few I mean a couple million) and boatloads of marginally educated farmers and workers. They don't have a wide spread mechanism for private schools, nor do they have a huge labor-base to draw on from outside the country.

    The US has a huge labor force just to the south that is willing to work manual labor for reduced wages. We also have an enormous industrial-agricultural complex

  • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Monday March 17, 2014 @11:12AM (#46506117)

    I was a gifted child. Starting from Grade 3, I was in a special program. I went to a middle school that had an entire section for such students, and all my classes were with other gifted children. Then I went to a high school that was exclusively for gifted students, particularly focused on arts and technology. There was pretty much no fault in the system, save for the middle school being horribly overcrowded (which led to discipline problems, and when there's a lot of low-income students mixed with the typically middle-class gifted students, there's some adverse reactions).

    It all fell apart in college. I couldn't get any scholarships, because when you're in a program like that, it's HARD. There were very few straight-A students because most of us were learning well above our grade level. I actually ran out of math to take - I did Calculus I (a college-credit class) in my sophomore year, and Statistics (an alternative to Calculus) the next, and that was literally as high as they could teach. Even the "core" classes were advanced - everything except physical education was at least one grade level above normal. Sure, on the state standardized tests we regularly got perfect scores, and my SAT was in the top tenth of a percent, but when a scholarship sees that you were a B-and-C student, they ignore you (it certainly didn't help that I'm middle-class and of no minority group, so I didn't qualify for any of those scholarships, but even the black female students had similar problems). I couldn't afford a good school, and I knew I would be bored out of my mind doing four years at a regular college.

    So I did one year at a community college, to knock out the simple stuff cheaply (who CARES where you took Chemistry II when you're a programmer?), and was predictably bored the whole time. I then went to one of those sketchy "get your degree fast!" schools. They taught me absolutely nothing (my high school was several orders of magnitude better), but after testing out of about half the classes needed, I got my B.S. just over two years after I graduated high school, then immediately got a job from one of the internships they'd hooked me up on (I swear those schools have to get kickbacks or something from farming out interns - thankfully I had the foresight to refuse any unpaid internships).

    Now, a lot of the stuff that helped me was state-level stuff, and I don't think it's the standard for US education. But if you want to make American education better for gifted children, make that system the standard, then fix the broken college system. Make trade schools for the people who don't need an advanced degree, make it cheaper to get into a college so you don't need a scholarship to qualify, and get some sort of standard in place for comparing grades fairly between unequal schools.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!