Monday, June 23, 2014

Is Gifted Education Worth It? Who Should We Ask?

Questions about the value of gifted education have seen a lot of recent attention in the news recently. This recent contribution to the conversation stands out for me because of the gaps in logic:

Four gifted writers share doubts about gifted education -

A few thoughts in response:

1. Gifted doesn't just mean good at what they do or creative. The proliferation of definitions makes this difficult to discern, I understand.

2. Not only is your sample one of convenience, you've asked people who were never formally identified as gifted what they think of the formal program that they didn't participate in (save one).

3. Gifted education advocates that I know would not disagree with the assertion that gifted children would benefit from the opportunity to explore their interests rather than a highly-structured curriculum.

A better piece might first take a critical look at the definition of giftedness. There are certainly lots of opportunities to poke holes in gifted education just because of the proliferation of definitions and the curricula developed (and sold) to support them.

Next, a better piece might ask gifted persons who were part of a GT curriculum what worked and what didn't. It might ask those that weren't identified for their perspective from the outside looking in.

Lastly, a better piece might take a closer look at what is actually advocated by scholars in gifted education, rather than punching a straw man argument.

Maybe someday I'll have the time and opportunity to write that better piece. For now, this critical response will have to do.