Are Gifted Kids Being Left Behind?

Posted On: January 20, 2014
Categories: Blog

In a recent article, David Lubinski – a Vanderbilt Researcher, suggested that gifted kids aren’t getting what they need in the classroom. Due to programs such as “No Child Left Behind,” the academic needs of gifted kids are not being met not because teachers aren’t concerned about gifted kids, but because they simply don’t have time to give gifted kids the accelerated learning opportunities that they need.

In his article, Lubinski says:

“People with very high IQs—what some have called the ‘scary smart’—will do well in regular classrooms, but they still won’t meet their full potential unless they’re given access to accelerated coursework, AP classes and educational programs that place talented students with their intellectual peers like Peabody’s Programs for Talented Youth.”

“While there are programs in place to help those with learning disabilities, there are none federally mandated for the gifted,” Lubinski added. “The higher the intellectual ability, the more difficult it may be to match a student with appropriate educational opportunities and curricula,” he said.

And for this very reason, many parents are seeking outside resources to help challenge their gifted kids. Programs such as Kumon – an after school self-learning program – along with summer programs such as the Duke TIP program provide kids with opportunities to be intellectually stimulated. However, these programs have to be fit into an already busy schedule. Should kids have to miss play dates to do their Kumon? Should they have to go to academically challenging summer camps rather than going to the beach? After being in school for seven hours each day, why should the parents of gifted kids need to look elsewhere?

In a recent Newsweek article entitled, “America Hates its Gifted Kids”, author Chris Weller says that teaching to the middle has hurt the smartest students. The article states, “It’s no secret that when it comes to education, America gets a D-minus. In the most recent global tests – scored on a 1,000-point scale – the U.S. scored a 481 in math, 497 in science, and 498 in reading comprehension. In comparison, international averages were 494, 501, and 496, and the U.S. lags well behind the world’s leaders, a list which includes some of the usual suspects like China, Japan and the Netherlands, but also has Latvia, Slovenia and Vietnam.

Why is the world’s largest economy so bad at teaching its children? One growing school of thought is that the U.S. education system, in its laudable quest to make sure the worst students reach minimal standards, is cheating its best pupils.”

So if our best pupils aren’t being given the learning opportunities they need then our schools clearly aren’t doing their jobs. This is no surprise to many parents and even though the schools aren’t doing it, many parents are taking this on for themselves. They are fitting in the programs, the workbooks, the additional time because they want to give their kids what they need. Keep going parents…your gifted kids need you.

For more information about how to get plugged in with resources for gifted kids, check out Why Smart Kids Worry.


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