Only in this country are gifted children treated so shabbily. The latest evidence comes from New York, which is in the process of considering dismantling gifted p-rograms because their enrollment does not reflect the proper racial mix (“Desegregation Plan: Eliminate All Gifted Programs in New York,” The New York Times, Aug. 27).
The reality is that gifted children are the ones most likely to make significant contributions in their respective fields. At a time when the U.S. is in competition with other nations, it’s hard to understand why gifted programs are anathema. Perhaps it’s because we believe in democratization, rather than in differentiation in education.
Our competitors have no problem whatsoever in separating children out early in their education. For example, Singapore, which is known for the quality of its schools, begins the process with its Primary School Leaving exam and continues it for the rest of schooling. Germany also has long sorted out students by its tracking.
We can argue all day long about the proper age to begin identifying the gifted, but I think it’s a huge error to abolish such programs. Unfortunately, the obsession with diversity is too strong to have much hope.
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