The Disadvantage of Neglecting Gifted Education in America
written by: Linda M. Rhinehart Neas
• edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom
• updated: 7/12/2012
Neglecting gifted education in the twenty-first century is not an option. Gifted students must be given the same caliber of education as other students. This is called inclusion. Here we will discuss how to provide the highest possible support for gifted students, even when their numbers are few.
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When a school system or an educator is found neglecting gifted education, they stand to stunt the social/emotional development of gifted children. A gifted student should not be forced to plateau their knowledge simply because it is not convenient to challenge them. Inclusive education means ALL students are given the best education possible. School departments and educators can always find the means to give gifted students the education that is their right.
The obvious disadvantage to neglecting gifted education, the failure to challenge a student with a talent for a particular subject or subjects, is the stagnation of that student. Often, children who become bored with school also become labeled as "discipline problems." Other disadvantages are that the school community loses the richness that gifted students can share in their areas of expertise, which ultimately means that their community, country and the world are robbed of their potential discoveries, inventions, or artwork.
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Creating Opportunities for Growth
According to the National Association for Gifted Children there are approximately 3 million K-12 students who are academically gifted. The advantages of supporting gifted education are many; therefore, it is well worth the time taken to create a program or project that will encourage, inspire and enlighten gifted students.
One of the biggest causes for neglecting gifted education is lack of money. However, most schools have a volunteer program of active parents, grandparents and community members. Wonderfully active gifted education programs have begun through the efforts of these volunteers. Grants may be written to help subsidize the program or project. Community industries may be contacted for sponsorship.
Some ideas for projects that will inspire gifted students are:
creating a school newsletter with the students as the reporters
for schools with closed-circuit TV, having students produce live news reports
museum trips to museums that provide educational opportunities
living history events/participation - some living history museums offer opportunities for students to participate, giving them roles to play or research to do
coordinate with a local college to allow students to participate (often with credit) in course work
create a writing center where gifted students can have opportunities to mentor other students
create a mentoring program that matches students of similar interests with younger students
create a job-shadow day for students in middle and high school to shadow someone in a field they are interested in, learning about that position first-hand
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While some gifted programs are not considered academic, it is still possible to assess the outcome of a particular project that a gifted student may participate in by either having them give a written or oral report on the project to their class. Assessment rubrics can be created to demonstrate how much the student learned and retained from the project.
Things to consider in the rubric might be:
Organization of report
Creativity of presentation
Ability to facilitate question and answer discussion
Overall task achievement
Content of report
Quality of research done, if applicable
Overall, there is no excuse for neglecting gifted education. A gifted program is only as far away as the time and toil it takes to set it up. The effort given will benefit all.