September 2010 Letters to the Editor

Smart Kids at Risk?

Comments from mnmo.com regarding Tim Gihring’s article “So Smart It Hurts” (August).

Wonderful article! (“So Smart it Hurts,” August) This era of political correctness, where we say that “everyone is gifted,” has actually resulted in a failure to recognize and nurture the gifts that each individual does have. Being gifted in intelligence does not make one better than a person good at plumbing, or building houses, or creating art. The public schools should realize this before we leave them all behind.
Posted by Gifted Advocate

Open, flexible classrooms and teachers are what is needed, not isolating the brightest kids, giving them extra make-work, or sending them off to programs that often amount to so much empty entertainment. Other kids might—and often do—catch up in time; they might even be the ones to cure cancer or become great leaders. Even so, very bright children deserve not to be left to destructive boredom and time-wasting.
Posted by JConn

I am absolutely tired of being told that the free and appropriate education mandated for the rest of the population is somehow elitist or unfair when applied to kids much further ahead than the general population. A kid with a 130 IQ is as different from an average kid as an average kid is from a mentally impaired person with a 70 IQ—yet we wouldn’t think twice about special education for the 70 IQ kid.
Posted by SBHYDE

It is an egregious error to confuse giftedness with high-achieving. Legislators wonder why we need extra funding for children who are supposedly high-achieving when, in fact, gifted children achieving at their age level are actually underachieving. And an educationally neglected child can potentially suffer damage to the ability to concentrate, regulate impulsive behavior, and maintain the executive function needed to not only succeed but to simply maintain a functional lifestyle. The lack of funding to gifted education is costing Minnesotans more money than it is saving.
Posted by AFutureFor2Es

At our son’s 3-year-old assessment from Minneapolis Public Schools, we were advised that if we put him in MPS we would have to advocate for him as if he were severely retarded because they are “just not prepared for the 2 percent at either end of the spectrum.” Stunned, we enrolled our son in a highly respected private school. They parked him in the library to read on his own. Bored, cast out of the class and anxious, he took to self-harm. He was in first grade.

When we finally sat down with [gifted programs director] Richard Cash and the rest of the excellent team at Ridgeview Elementary, we felt for the first time as if someone finally understood our predicament. But not before our son was the target of much verbal abuse from students, fistfights on the playground, and plenty of skepticism from staff. In the end, these children may not save the world, but they are as deserving of an education that meets their needs as any other child.
Posted by Scout130b

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