The U.S. is the only country in the free world that refuses to differentiate among students. But even supporters of differentiation here can’t agree on when to identify those who are gifted (“New York City Seeks to Extend Gifted Testing,” The Wall Street Journal, June 18).
New York City, home of the nation’s largest school system, is a case in point. Some 29,000 children took the test for a seat in a gifted elementary program, with about 3,600 finally getting offers. The controversy is not over the relatively few who got in but over when the test was administered. Kindergarten is way too soon. For example, Singapore, which is known for the quality of its schools, uses its Primary School Leaving Exam to do so.
When children are in kindergarten, they are far too young to begin tracking. Yet the process continues in New York City because parental demand is high. I wonder how many more children would qualify if the test were given later.
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