I just read your article “What is Gifted and Talented Education? (Part 1); the most misunderstood concept” posted on Hoagies facebook page. I appreciate the clarification, as earlier this week I read a very typical tyrant from a parent who apparently was denied access to G&T as a child, and whose children were as well.
Her point was she graduated summa cum laude with a perfect GPA, and thus IQ’s were not valid gatekeepers. She also stated IQ’s made sense as use for remediation, but were not valid to “limit a child’s potential.” I found that double-standard rather odd (used the analogy “that’s like saying a scales is fine to weigh a fat person, but has no value in the weighing of a thin person”), but was also disappointed to see this parent’s comment on Hoagies (a gifted source), as gifted kids get so little in public school, and frequently are confused with “high achievers.” Removal of IQ as a “gatekeeper” only means they would have no program, and no support in our schools, because all would simply be measured on grades or tests, based on minimum grade level standard curriculum.
Also, to comment on a quote at the bottom of your article: “However gifted an individual is at the outset, if his or her talents cannot be developed because of his or her social condition, because of the surrounding circumstances, these talents will be still-born.” I’d like to clarify how this idea can be misused, though I don’t mean to imply your misuse (rather how someone might misread this quote).
Three years ago, when the political forces reduced funding and increased minimum grade level accountability, it became inconvenient to provide gifted education. As a result, our district went from having a wonderful contained gifted program to tossing all of the gifted kids into regular classrooms with “high achievers.” It was like being thrown into an ice plunge.
To make matters worse, the district started spreading this quote “Just because someone has a high IQ doesn’t mean they are gifted.” There are many highly gifted children, who at younger ages struggle, either due to being twice-exceptional (such as having dyslexia or auditory processing disorders, etc.) with disabilities that have not been diagnosed due to their intellectual capacity to compensate, or because they are very creative thinkers who don’t do well with rote memorization of out of context facts, or because the curriculum is such a mismatch for their intellectual abilities.
Schools love to blame it on the parents, or the child, if the school doesn’t give them an environment where they can thrive, because that way they can avoid any responsibility or need to respond. The comment regarding social condition, thus, could be a negative, without further explanation or balance, because someone will get ahold of that and misuse that statement.
We’ll have “still-born” gifted students tossed into general ed and eventually out of schools, because rather than provide what is needed, schools with other priorities will just chalk it up to “they have a very high IQ, but really weren’t gifted.”
This is a terrible time for gifted and twice-exceptional children, and as 2% on the right hand side of the IQ bell curve, they are ESE, but very few understand or appreciate them. High achiever parents resent them, not realizing the challenge the children face and that their parents face, in a system that does not value brilliance or creativity, but focuses on conformity to the mean.
There is no doubt that with the current shortfall of funds in public education, exacerbated by the complete withdrawal of federal funds for all GT and AP programs, both GT kids and high achieving AP kids are getting the “short-end-of-the-stick” in public education funding. This coupled with the reduction of state and local revenues, many school districts are making ill advised decisions in their rush to cut the budget.
Be that as it may, there are still a number of federal laws that protect students with disabilities regardless of whether they are gifted or not. Once a school district acknowledges a disability, they are compelled to write an Independent Education Plan (IEP). Whether they also acknowledge the students giftedness and include this issue in the IEP I couldn’t say, but at least it is a start and they can no longer ignore your son’s dyslexia.
Actually, the Gifted Education program grew out of Special Education years ago. At many universities GT is still part of the Special Ed curriculum, and rightly so as it was recognized in academia that gifted children are just as vulnerable as children with mental and physical disabilities. It is just that we have not done a good job in bringing this to the attention of many local administrators ,state politicians and the general public.
One of the reasons there is so much misdiagnoses among teachers and counselors between advanced placement (AP) kids and those that are gifted is they rely almost totally on grades. If a student shows up with all As on a regular basis, many assume the kid is gifted. But in fact, many of these students are AP, but work very hard to make those grades. That does not mean they are gifted, nor should their accomplishments be diminished in any way.
At the same time, saying there is no correlation between IQ scores and giftedness is ridiculous as well. Others tests. including some subjective tests, are quite valuable as well.
Trisch, I think there is a lot of help available for you in Florida. You might start with Dr. Lauri Kirsch who is president of the board of directors of the Florida Association for the Gifted. She can be reach at 813-215-6533 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By the way, what school district are you in?
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Gifted Education Writer at lodeplus.com
Board of Directors and Head of Business Development at Rainard School for Gifted Students