For too long, gifted students in this country have been shorthanged. But a little-known program at California State University in Los Angeles is changing that for children as young as 11 (“Cal State L.A. is a haven for the young and gifted,” Los Angeles Times, Apr. 28).
Since establishing its Early Entrance Program in 1982, Cal State has allowed academically gifted students to bypass years of boring classwork to achieve their full potential. It does so despite the paltry funding of such programs by the federal government, which amounted to just $12 million in 2017. That compares with $13 billion for special education.
Despite the urgent need to identify and nurture these students, critics persist in calling them elitist. Only in this country is that label the kiss of death. Our competitors abroad understand the importance of supporting elitism. But we are too guilt-ridden to keep up.
Given the brouhaha over diversity in elite schools, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a lawsuit is soon filed against Cal State for not enrolling the “correct” racial balance of students. That is already happening in New York City, whose elite high schools are under fire for not admitting enough black and Hispanic students.
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