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Unformatted text preview: TREND WATCH Gifted Education: Deceived, Denied and in Crisis Why gifted ed still matters and what you can do to improve your district’s offerings By Rebecca Sausner www.DistrictAdministration.com September 2005 27 “ Why do we need to pay any attention to these kids when there are so many others with problems?” —Bob Davidson, Davidson Institute for Talent Development W ith her eldest daughter about to enter her senior year of high school at age 14, Carolyn Kottmeyer has experienced just about every aspect of gifted education American schools have to offer. She’s done acceleration—three times with her eldest, in fact. She’s been through early entry; her second daughter entered fi rst grade at age fi ve. The girls have a combined eight summers at challenge camps for gifted kids, and her older daughter will graduate high school with fi ve AP classes and two college courses. The family has moved, looking for a district more hospitable to their highly gifted children. Kottmeyer is also a gifted education advocate who manages an Internet discussion board for parents of gifted kids that has several thousand members. So what does she think of gifted educa- tion in America these days? “In every other aspect of the education system they teach to the kids, but in gifted they expect the student to sit still and do nothing while they teach other kids,” she says. “It just doesn’t make sense; and this new high-stakes test environment is not helping at all.” Kottmeyer says she believes the way she’s navigated the public education system on behalf of her kids is “the least worst option,” but adds that the situation for most gifted kids in public schools is getting worse. And she’s not alone in her bleak assessment of the situation. During the past year there’s been a drumbeat of publicity decrying the state of gifted ed, partic- ularly following the publication of a handful of books on the topic. First came Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds by Jan and Bob Davidson of the Davidson Institute for Talent Development. Then A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students by Nicholas Colangelo and his colleagues at the Connie Belin & Jacqueline N. Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Adding to the chorus was Joseph Renzulli, director of The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, who penned The Quiet Crises Clouding the Future of R&D for Education Week , and this July, Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind by Deborah Ruf. These leading, and best-funded, thinkers in the fi eld come from camps that aren’t directly opposing, but regard each other warily. They seem to divide rather neatly into sides that believe either that grade acceleration of gifted students is the best approach, or that enrichment opportu- nities for all, with advanced enrichment for the gifted, are the way to go. National organizations seem to straddle the continuum between the two. seem to straddle the continuum between the two....
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- Spring '09
- National Association for Gifted Children, Joseph Renzulli, Gifted Education and Talent Development