When we label some students gifted, are we calling others ungifted?

Students participate in a gifted classroom at Chapel Hill Elementary School in DeKalb County. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

I often hear from metro Atlanta parents unhappy their child didn’t get into their school’s gifted and talented program. Many parents believe the general curriculum is keyed to the lowest common denominator, so they want their kids in advanced classes.

Gifted coordinators maintain their testing criteria identify hidden gems but you typically find the exact kids you’d expect in such programs — bright kids of bright parents. (This weekend I am interviewing an 11-year-old who scored a 5, the highest grade possible, on the AP Calculus exam, a test taken by elite high school math students. At his current pace, the 11-year-old could study graduate-level mathematics in high school. I would call that truly gifted.)

I followed a teacher at a north Fulton high school once whose gifted language arts class had 17 students. His “regular” class afterward had 26. Yet, the teacher said many of the kids in the regular class were as bright as their “gifted” peers but missed the TAG cutoff by a few points.

In this essay, Emory University student Sunidhi Ramesh discusses the gifted label from the perspective of someone told she didn’t merit it. Ramesh is a junior double majoring in neuroscience and sociology. This is her second piece for the blog. She is a gifted writer.

Ramesh did not tell me how well she did in school, but Google did. As well as being picked for Georgia’s highly selective Governor’s Honors program while a Fulton County high school student, she was a National Merit Scholarship winner and a bridge champion. She has a long list of academic distinctions and honors — despite being told in second grade she was not gifted material.

For additional reading, go here to see the AJC’s in-depth examination of  racial gaps in gifted programs. To learn about the deeper nature of gifted classes, go to this AJC story.

By Sunidhi Ramesh

When I was in second grade, my teacher called my parents in for a conference to warn them about an observation she had made about me.

“She isn’t what I would call gifted,” the teacher told them. “I wouldn’t hope for too much if I were you. She can’t handle it.”

Today, reflecting on this story my parents never fail to repeat, I am struck by the tendency for teachers to place their students within categories. In the past few decades, thousands of elementary and middle schools have implemented “gifted” or “talented” programs to supposedly single out the students with potential from those without it.

These programs are not limited to elementary schools. In the school circuit I grew up in, the gifted kids in elementary schools ended up being the gifted kids in middle school and the Advanced Placement kids in high schools. These are the students that the nation ultimately sends to its top universities.

So, what happens to the other kids, the students who are supposedly not gifted? Sociologist Brenda Ring believes that self-esteems and self-concepts are immediately put at risk. Furthermore, “ungifted” students tend to stick to the label; they fail to challenge themselves, attributing this to their “lack of talent” or “smarts” for the harder classes. Ultimately, this creates a lag in the system. While a hundred students are excelling under the praise associated with “gifted classes,” a thousand more kids are cutting themselves off from the potential they are told they do not have.

According to Ann Robinson of Western Illinois University, “the gifted are labeled because they deviate from the norm in a positive way. They are ‘above average’ in intelligence or creativity or in whatever constellation of factors used to identify them.”

But what the system and, surprisingly, recent research in the field both fail to question is the supposed impact of separation not on the “gifted” but on the students who are not. What happens when a second grader is told she isn’t “gifted?” What happens when she continues to hear this until she believes it?

How can we expect our elementary school students to learn and grow a love for learning if they are told they are not talented or unintelligent? Most importantly, how can these kids believe in themselves if they are aware that the education system does not?

In his book “Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined,” author Scott Kaufman explores these questions through his experiences as a child who suffered the backhand of gifted labeling.

“In this artificial world of school we created,” he writes, “labeling is important. Individual differences collide with limited resources, creating a situation where parents are scrambling for special services for their children. With the future of so many lives at stake, it is crucial that we scrutinize exactly how we identify those who do not fit the norm, since the methods we use affect our interventions as well as our expectations of just how high we allow them to soar.”

With this, it becomes apparent that our system of targeting the needs of the gifted fails at considering the needs of the rest. Yes, these programs are important in targeting the needs of all students, but the manner in which they are executed fails to guarantee a positive end result.

“I firmly believe,” Kaufman continues, “we can recognize and value every kind of mind without diminishing the value of others. I do not see intelligence as a zero-sum game: just because someone is talented (whatever that means) by the standards set by society does not mean that the person who isn’t does not have dynamic potential for intellectual functioning. There are so many different paths to success.”

It was years until my parents told me about my second grade teacher’s conclusion. Still, somehow, I remember feeling different for being part of the “other group.” I remember watching the “gifted” kids reading poetry while the rest of us were still finger-painting. I remember explaining my failed spelling tests to my parents with the excuse of not being “like the other kids.”

Why do we limit or label children because they do not fit some standard system of talent? What is talent, really? Are we born with it? Or do we acquire it through work and perseverance? Michael Phelps wasn’t born swimming, yet we call him talented. Albert Einstein’s lack of communication skills and behavioral problems led his school teachers to assume his incompetence, yet he remains one of the most renowned physicists in history. Thus, if talent is built, why do we look for it so early and isolate students for the lack thereof?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not asking for the elimination of gifted programs. I am asking for the elimination of the label, for a sort of upward mobility that allows for students who might be late bloomers to still have the time and motivation to continue thriving.

Most importantly, I am asking for the broadening of the terms “talented” and “gifted” to mean more than “the good test-takers” or the “well-behaved students.” I am asking for the budding musicians and artists to be rewarded for their interests rather than scolded for doodling in class. I am asking for “talent” to stand for the kid who tries his hardest despite being labeled “learning disabled.” I am asking for “gifted” to define the girl whose teacher told her parents to lose faith in her because she still had a strong Indian accent.

Why? Because a system that was created to boost a part of America’s children has ultimately left the vast majority of them behind. A dozen years after being labeled, I still remain plagued by questions.

What would have happened if my parents had stuck to what this teacher told them? What if they hadn’t believed in me or pushed me to keep challenging myself? Where would I be now?

 

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50 comments
PJSchwackhammer
PJSchwackhammer

Getting out of my horrifying regular classes for Gifted class once a week was the only thing that kept me sane in Elementary School. My regular teachers (public school and unionized, of course) were a mixture of stupid, lazy and sociopathic. Being mediocrities (at best) themselves, almost all of them hated and were threatened by smart children and "taught" (if you could call it that) only to their own very low level. A good day was soul-crushing boredom; a bad day was being singled out for abuse for "reading ahead" and other terrible crimes against pedantry.


Of course, they also hated the itinerant Gifted teacher, seeing him (correctly) as a threat to their comfortable, infantile existence.  Doesn't surprise me a bit that educrats still want to stamp out that lifeline a couple of generations later.

CarlosSantiago
CarlosSantiago

Of course some students are gifted..."gifted" being the current euphemism for "extremely smart"....and some are not.  Just like some students are athletic, and some are not.  And just like some students are tall, and some are not.  And just like some students are artistic, and some are not.  And some students are just plain old ordinary...neither exceptionally smart (or talented or athletic, etc.) nor exceptionally dumb or untalented or unathletic.

Ironic (and a little sad) that the people who are always clamoring for "diversity" don't want to celebrate THAT kind of diversity.

Beth Bonn Pfohl
Beth Bonn Pfohl

It's perfectly acceptable to define a child as a "gifted athlete". Why are people so uncomfortable with intellectual gifts? Not all children are Olympic swimmers.

lrga
lrga

The gifted education program is a sacred cow politically, but really needs to be revisited. There are children who are true prodigies, and have special needs. Often, these are social, emotional, in addition to academic. However, the current identification system is too broad. And, the state funding requirements are too prescriptive. Students can always be grouped for classes based on ability. Rethinking the gifted program doesn't eliminate this. In fact, many high schools open AP classes to all students, but lose state funding for the 'gifted' students in these classes. By the way, both my kids were TAG.

Kathleen Casper
Kathleen Casper

Gifted does not mean high performing. People with elitist agendas often misconstrue the term and use gifted education funds to pay for programs that isolate high performers into classes and not necessarily identify or serve kids with actual gifted needs. We need to educate people more and more so they get away from the stereotypes that hurt gifted people.

Joy Lawson Davis
Joy Lawson Davis

All good points. But, this does reveal a serious flaw in what we are doing in the name of Gifted Education. Perhaps it is time to think differently about this to better serve ALL children.

Tom Green
Tom Green

Somewhere along the line, people realize that life doesn't give everybody a trophy.

Jen Shook
Jen Shook

Try replacing 'smart' or 'gifted' with 'precocious' and see how different peoples reactions are!

Rene Price
Rene Price

I don't know... when we call students "special" are we calling all of the others "not special"? Seriously. How we can we address student needs meaningfully when we're arguing over what word we should use? Everyone is unique, everyone is important, everyone is capable of many things, everyone needs to be challenged and inspired and mentored - but the bell curve of intellect arcs downward on both sides and every student no matter where they fall on the curve needs to have their needs met. And you cannot integrate a 145 and a 105 into the same math class because the 105 might feel like they're not as bright or capable and therefore not reach their full potential. That's crazy. And mean. We have plenty of anecdotal and scientific evidence that, in a classroom environment, it is teacher's expectations and behaviors, not the label given kids, that usually informs how much students challenge themselves and how much they achieve. Having a gifted program is not even remotely the same as telling the rest of the students, "you're not talented or intelligent." And parents are right to recognize that gen ed classrooms are not encouraging optimal learning experiences for their kids - almost no matter where their student falls on the bell curve. What can be done? How about recognizing reality: There are different intellectual abilities and dynamic developmental concerns surrounding them. Then decide that you actually can commit yourself to meeting everyone's needs. Determine that you will do it. Then we could start living up to that commitment by pushing more dollars into the classroom in the form of meaningful classroom materials and experiences instead of spending billions of dollars every year on new curriculum.

Rene Price
Rene Price

And, yes, of course "gifted" identification should be based on actual need instead of on budgetary constraints. And it should be universal assessment, not based on recommendations by teachers and parents. (Which are both notoriously unreliable, influenced more by behaviors and appearances than on demonstrations of intellectual ability.)

Rene Price
Rene Price

I would add, because I'm wordy that way, that one of the most broken parts of our education system has to do with teachers being naturally oriented to labeling students (in any group) with gold stars. "You're going to love having her. She's such a great student." As a mom of 3 gifted kids, I shudder when I hear phrases like that. My kids are great students, and teachers are very prone to "gold star" them. But they don't need that. They need someone focused on helping them grow from where they are today - not giving them gold stars for acing the test that they could have aced 2 years ago. Conversely, those who are more challenged academically or challenging personally don't need to be treated as less wonderful because they aren't as bright and shiny as some of the others. Many teachers (and administrators and parents) need to rethink the academic culture they are creating. Growth mindset needs to be fully embraced by teachers, or they need to find another profession. There is no place in education for labeling people, instead of accomplishments, with gold stars and gray dots. (You can see Max Lucado's "You Are Special" to understand the reference) #EveryStudentEveryDay #PeopleNotLabels #StudentCenteredWithoutExcuse

Rachael Miller Franklin
Rachael Miller Franklin

Rene Price yes... All of this!! My daughter missed the cut off by one point and was told she "wasn't quite smart enough". That has really done a mess on her self confidence. She is a very verbal, outgoing, questioning everything, designing her own science experiments type of girl. But being told my a teacher she looked up to that she wasn't good enough has been devastating.

Margaret Thomas
Margaret Thomas

It's a worthwhile discussion. Too many schools rely only on teacher recommendation, or fail to administer identification instruments more broadly or to use multiple data points, or evaluate whether identification processes or academic systems already in place serve to screen out students of color or EL learners disproportionately. That said, there is a second effort that matters here, and it's revealed in the essayist's early remarks: "to supposedly single out the students with potential from those without it." If educators, administrators, parents, or students are under the impression that this is the reason for these programs vs. meeting the needs of learners whose innate cognitive traits demonstrate alternate instructional approaches are indicated -- pace, depth & complexity, subject matter compacting, acceleration, and the like -- then communication and awareness-raising are a key piece of the puzzle, as is ending ALL framing of GT programs as being a matter of "potential."

Rene Price
Rene Price

"as is ending ALL framing of GT programs as being a matter of "potential." Amen. As a mom of 3 gifted students, those kinds of conversations give me the heebie jeebies My children are people, not raw resources that we need to make sure we get the most societal benefit out of. The developmental, social, and intellectual needs are outside the mainstream. But the obligation of the children to meet some expectation for performance or contribution later in life is nil. It's the wrong message for the gifted students and for everyone else.

Another comment
Another comment

Just like the author my oldest was not allowed into Cobbs Target program, despite teacher recommendations and high IOWA tests scores. The only answer I would be given was the creativity test. However, they would never share what that was or how she could improve on that. Ironically, those in Target consisted of PTA moms, teachers and politicians children. I was a full time working executive who worked 60 plus hours a week. PTA Coffees and meetings just don't fit that type of career schedule when scheduled at 9:00 AM. ( My daughter remember's often being the last or second last child being picked up from ASP at 6:00, of course).

Of all her friends in TArget now at age 21 and heading into Senior year of college, my not eligible for Target daughter is the most successful. She enters senior year in a stem major with her HOPE intact with a 3.8 GPA. One friend did not graduate from high school despite being labeled Gifted in Elementary school. My daughter thinks she may have gotten her GED. Another friend with the Gifted label, has flitted from one college to the other. The father has announced to both my daughter and I that he is so proud of my daughter. On the other hand he is having his daughter sign a contract to not smoke pot to live in his house and attend school. Another of the Gifted ones transferred from UGA after freshman year to GA southern, it was too hard.

My daughter tells me all the time that her college classes are littered with students who were labeled as Gifted in Elementary School and get to college and have no study skills. She spent last year on the Sorierty discipline committee, most of which was for grades in easy majors. People who had been told they were gifted and found out in college they really were not.

An American Patriot
An American Patriot

Again, Ms. Downey, you should be ashamed of yourself for letting articles and Political Correctness BS like this be published.  Don't you even realize what the PC Culture has done to America?  I have warned in your columns for the past five or six years of the dangers of Political Correctness and yet here we are letting some KID from one of the most LIBERAL UNIVERSITIES in America,  still wet behind the ears lecture us and trying to change our culture. These kind of things are what's killing America behind the failed policies of one bhusseino.  This is a rough and tough world we live in and giving everyone a trophy for just being on the team is sending out the wrong message.  This is a jungle where "survival of the fittest" is the law.  We have some very smart people in America and they should be given all the recognition they deserve, including putting them in special classes where they can thrive.  That's what's helped build the Greatest Counry The World Has Ever Known and that some, like all the liberal newspapers like the AJC are trying to tear down.  Just stop with all the nonsense......you're killing America.


LETS MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN      TRUMP 2016

kaelyn
kaelyn

@Patriot - Thanks for the laugh. I needed a good one today!

Susan Blount Campbell
Susan Blount Campbell

To me, this smacks of political correctness. As a mother of 5, some of whom were in TAG and some not. They all needed differentiated instruction. They all needed to be with students on similar levels. Testing for giftedness is not perfect, and labels can be harmful and wrong, like in the article. But the reality is that students function on different levels. Everyone wants their child to be in the top level, but not all children ARE in the top level. Gifted children, when in multi-level classes, are usually used to bring up the lower kids. But research shows that the lower kids only benefit from that when the other student is only slightly ahead of them. And the gifted student doesn't benefit at all. Nobody enjoys these labels, but they have to call them something. And you can change the words used, but ultimately it will be as unpalatable as the original term, because it still differentiates. It is what it is.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

First off, it isn't just a test score that determines "getting in." There are  now multiple measures--IQ and achievement being two of them.


I never worried about my kids being in gifted, except that it got them out of "lump-lump" classes and allowed them to do more interesting things.  I paid for independent testing for gifted labeling for my son after his teachers recommended it the second day of school because his needs were far from being met in the regular classroom, and because of discipline issues in regular classes; my daughters made the case for themselves (literally, in the case of my younger daughter, who haunted the gifted teacher nearly daily until he recommended additional testing for placement--she certainly had the "persistence" qualification down pat)


in my system, gifted classes are LARGER than regular classes, generally.  I mean, a lot larger.  However, they do get to go on cool field trips, like overnight at the aquarium or Fernbank.  The unfortunate part it that, almost without exception, these are kids of the upper middle class, who get to do so much already under their parents' guidance.  The kids who really need the special trips are those whose parents contribute so little to their education.  Based on my experience, academically gifted kids get very little outside the regular pie--much more attention and money is given to the below average and sped kids.


About labels, I don't know.  Personkind already labels people, based on observable characteristics.

bu22
bu22

@Wascatlady Segregating without labels is still the same thing.  Kids know who is in group 1 or group 5.  But there is a good question above.  Does it make sense to have smaller classes (as is the case in many systems) for the gifted while kids who are more likely to struggle get larger classes?  This is a particularly relevant question at the lower grades where there is still a lot of differentiation simply because of birth date.  9 months out of 17 years isn't much, but at age 6 it is a significant difference.

Ann Hall
Ann Hall

All are gifted in some way. We need a better way to recognize it

Daryl Smith O'Hare
Daryl Smith O'Hare

An analysis of budgets on TAG might be helpful. It is a system designed to foster segregation. When I was in school, the program was called Seek Explore Discover, which appropriately defines the program, but nothing in the TAG curriculum is something the general classroom could not accommodate. I almost pulled my kid from TAG in elementary school, and I cannot tell you the backlash and astonishment I received. As an educator, I would recommend the TAG classes be the most highly populated and more resources spent on other populations to reduce class sizes where already stretched students and teachers are neglected by the favoritism. The testing for TAG is ridiculous.

speccie
speccie

Gifted programs have been under fire for decades due to the modest numbers of black children they serve. And all manner of fanciful selection criteria are suggested to replace testing. 

But racial quotas aren't the objective. Or shouldn't be. 

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@speccie Research suggests race plays a role in who gets selected. This is from earlier this year: 


news.vanderbilt.edu/2016/01/teachers-race-affects-gifted-program-selections/


Among elementary school students with high standardized test scores, black students are about half as likely as their white peers to be assigned to gifted programs in math and reading. However, when black students are taught by a black classroom teacher, the racial gap in gifted assignment largely disappears, according to a new Vanderbilt University study published today in AERA Open, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Educational Research Association.

Using data on more than 10,000 elementary school students from the U.S. Department of Education’s Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten cohort, the study found that black students are 66 percent less likely and Hispanic students are 47 percent less likely than white students to be assigned to gifted programs. The researchers sought to examine this discrepancy and evaluate both socioeconomic and education factors that may be contributing to it.

The white-Hispanic assignment gap was significantly decreased when the authors analyzed differences in prior achievement on math and reading scores. In fact, when controlling for math and reading assessments, the gap between white and Hispanic students was statistically indistinguishable from zero, suggesting that differences in test scores can explain the entire white-Hispanic gifted gap.

However, controlling for math and reading scores did not have the same effect for black students. In fact, black students continued to be assigned to gifted programs half as often as white peers with identical math and reading achievement.

“It is startling that two elementary school students, one black and the other white, with identical math and reading achievement, will have substantially different probabilities of assignment to gifted services,” said lead author Jason Grissom, associate professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College of education and human development. “This is especially troubling since previous studies have linked participation in gifted programs to improved academic performance, improvements in student motivation and engagement, less overall stress and other positive outcomes.”

Controlling for student sex, socioeconomic status, health and age did not close the gap, suggesting that potential additional factors contributing to the white-black assignment gap remained.

One factor the researchers did discover that helped alleviate the gifted assignment gap for black students was being assigned to a same-race teacher. In fact, all else being equal, black students are three times more likely to be assigned to gifted programs when taught by a black teacher than a nonblack teacher. Assignment rates for high-achieving black students with black teachers are similar to those of white students with similar characteristics.

Teacher racial or ethnic congruence did not have an impact on the rate of gifted assignment for white, Hispanic, or Asian students. Nationally, white students in elementary school experience teacher congruence at a rate of 95 percent while, by contrast, teacher congruence occurs for black students only 22 percent of the time.

Previous research has found that because the process of gifted assignment often begins with teacher referral, classroom teachers can play a gatekeeping role. However, Grissom and co-author Christopher Redding, a Peabody doctoral candidate, cautioned against concluding that teacher bias is the sole cause of the race gap, which could be explained by numerous other factors. One such additional factor impacting minority assignment to gifted programs is the availability of these programs in schools attended by minority students. Black students are less likely overall to attend schools that provide gifted programs.



trifecta_
trifecta_

@MaureenDowney @speccie 

The AJC is based in a city which is majority black, and yet a glance at your newspaper's home page suggests black journalists are way underrepresented. 

Should that too be blamed on "gatekeepers?"

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@trifecta_ @MaureenDowney @speccie I know this is one of your favorite themes to revisit, but the AJC has black journalists leading multiple departments, including mine. And half the ed writers are African-American. So is the managing editor, the editorial page editor, the features editor and the local government editor.

Come on down and you can meet them.

trifecta_
trifecta_

@MaureenDowney 

But on a typical day, how many of the articles appearing on the front page are written by black journalists?

And how many AJC columnists are black?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@trifecta_If 90% of them were black, you would complain of affirmative action!

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

The comments on AJC Get School Facebook -- which sometimes show up here and sometimes not -- address some good points.

Here are a few of those comments:

-At the very least, we are sending a strong message to our youngest minds that they have been categorized by a standardized test and that categorization either limits their learning opportunities or entitles them to a specialized instruction method and extra enrichment.

-I struggle with labels within my home. One child learns at lightning speed while another requires considerable effort for less "praiseworthy" results. The thought the latter may never be noticed for effort is disheartening.

-Unless we are providing excellent resources for all students, then I would say yes, that's the message.

Astropig
Astropig

Claptrap from the faculty lounge.Like all social justice warriors these days,this guy lives in a binary world where praising one person or group is disparaging another, in his mind. He hears things that people don't say,he sees things that aren't done.


All of these manias like the over- the- top PC movement eventually end when people finally realize that their leaders are con artists that seek political power.I just wish that this one would end sooner.

redweather
redweather

@Astropig It seems to me that Donald Trump and the things he says are a perfect example of what is so phony about the typical criticism leveled at political correctness. I assume Trump thinks he's just telling it like it is when he claims a judge of Mexican heritage is automatically biased against white litigants. Or that he is just engaging in much needed cultural criticism when he shames a Muslim mother (or her husband) for not speaking about her dead son on national television. There is nothing curative about what Trumps says. He and others like him are simply bigots. The PC movement is a straw man erected by conservatives who seem to think only they can recognize the truth. Trouble is, the truths they always seem to see are distorted pictures of reality.

Astropig
Astropig

@redweather @Astropig


Donald Trump has nothing whatsoever to do with what I wrote above.The PC movement existed before he came along,will exist thereafter and is really just tyranny with a thin veneer of respectability.


Stating that the PC movement is a straw man really proves that you're as narrow minded and bigoted as the people you criticize.If you were my son (or daughter), I'd be ashamed to say that I even knew you,much less fathered you.

Tom Green
Tom Green

Another way of lowering the bar?

class80olddog
class80olddog

More PC nonsense.  Give everyone a trophy.  Self-esteem is threatened.  Of course labeling some kids as gifted means the others are not gifted.  I have been labeled as not an Olympic Athlete.  I have been labeled as not astronaut or jet fighter material.  I have been labeled not football MVP.  Sorry to burst some people's bubble, but that is the way the world works.  Since schools have mostly eliminated tracking, there has arisen a de facto tracking system - the AP classes.  How do you determine who gets into AP classes?  There are not enough spaces for everyone, so you have to limit them to the best and the brightest.  We had the Honors Program when I was in school.  Do you spend your resources on kids who are driven to excel or on kids who do not care enough to show up to school every day?  The latter is like pouring money down the drain.  Our schools make basic education available to all, if they choose it; they should also cater to the best and allow them to expand to their full potential. 

redweather
redweather

Class size matters. Generally speaking, the smaller the class the greater the academic achievement. This is especially true for low income and minority students. And yet it's always the gifted and honors classes that have the best student-teacher ratio. Seems backwards to me.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@redweather I have always been in favor of smaller class sizes ((for everyone).  Unfortunately, we siphon off teachers to make more administrators, and we put teachers as sole tutors to kids with 60 IQs trying to elevate them to levels they will never achieve.  So the rest of the classes suffer with larger class sizes.  

ErnestB
ErnestB

@class80olddog @redweather


Everyone is in favor of smaller class sizes however who is willing to pay for them?  I recognize I am making a general statement but down south we seem to focus more of the athletic programs over academics.

MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@redweather The teacher I followed -- he had won a national teaching award -- made the same point to me. Given how close his most of his students were in abilities, he felt it would have made more sense to have two classes of equal size rather than one with 10 students fewer. 


class80olddog
class80olddog

Why would you have to pay more? The recently mentioned Maynard Jackson High School has a student enrollment of 960 and 120 faculty. Even if 20 of these are administered, that is a student:teacher ratio of 10:1. So why do some classes have 35 students? Inquiring minds ( who can do math)

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog The faculty also includes librarians, counselors, and other certified staff, not just classroom teachers, plus teachers who serve limited numbers of students, such as sped and speech.

Marana Olson McMahon
Marana Olson McMahon

Depends what is considered "gifted." EVERYONE is gifted in their own way.

Another comment
Another comment

This is exactly on the spot! I know now that my children's ADHD, and ADD is probably what prevented them from getting into the Target in Cobb and the TAG in Fulton. It is the same issue that caused the nuns to write on my report cards in the sixties that _______ "day dreams".

I just last week argued with Fulton County about placement for my youngest daughter who had not been in Public schools the last two years. My question was how can you place a child who has obtained a 99% multiple times on the IOWA tests in Math and Science in the on level classes. They relented on Chemistry and Hisory moving her up to honors. On Math they gave me a line that she had not taken the Fulton county advanced Algebra class ( no crap she was not in FCS) and she did not take the Summer Bridge Class. How could I even have this information, since they would not sign us up for a registration/counseling session until July 29. Yes, I went in the Spring and was told to come back in the summer after class was out. Then I was told this is your appointment ( they were only working M & W, 9-1). When I questioned that date I was told you can wait until the first day of school.

Renee Lord
Renee Lord

I struggle with labels within my home. One child learns at lightening speed while another requires considerable effort for less "praiseworthy" results. The thought the latter may never be noticed for effort is disheartening.

Amy Telenko Steele
Amy Telenko Steele

As an elementary teacher, I found this to be very interesting. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Erika Harris
Erika Harris

At the very least, we are sending a strong message to our youngest minds that they have been categorized by a standardized test and that categorization either limits their learning opportunities or entitles them to a specialized instruction method and extra enrichment.