My view: Ten myths about gifted students and programs for gifted
November 14th, 2012
04:00 AM ET

My view: Ten myths about gifted students and programs for gifted

Courtesy Pieces of LearningBy Carolyn Coil, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Carolyn Coil is a speaker, educator and author. She works with teachers, administrators, parents and students, offering strategies for raising achievement, developing creative and critical thinking skills, motivating underachievers, differentiating curriculum and assessing student performance. She has taught graduate-level gifted endorsement courses for more than 20 years. You can follow her on Twitter, @CarolynCoil.

(CNN) - American educators have struggled for more than 40 years to define giftedness. Yet even now, there is no universally agreed upon definition of what it means to be gifted. U.S. federal law defines gifted students as those who perform or who show promise of performing at high levels in any one of five categories: general intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude, creative or productive thinking, leadership ability or visual/performing arts.

Beyond that definition, there are no specific national criteria for identifying gifted and talented students nor does federal law provide funding or mandates for identification of these students or programming for them. This definition is left to the states.

The result has been a wide variety of state definitions and methods for the identification of gifted children. Some states have specific definitions for giftedness, while others have none. Some states require programs for gifted students, while others do not.

In other words, the availability of programs and services for gifted students depends for the most part on where a student lives and what state, school district or school he or she is in.

There is debate over how to identify and measure giftedness, whether giftedness is innate (nature) or developed (nurture) and whether giftedness is driven by intelligence test results or through other indicators.

My view: The joys and challenges of raising a gifted child

These varying perspectives have led to much misinformation about gifted students and what programs for gifted students should look like. Here are 10 of the most common myths about gifted students and programs for the gifted:

Myth No. 1: Intelligence is inherited and does not change. Gifted students, therefore, do not need any special services.

All of us do inherit certain traits, intelligences and talents. But these need to be developed and nurtured throughout life for them to grow and reach their full potential. A beautiful flower inherits certain traits. But if it is not watered and fed and if it does not get the right amount of sunlight, it does not develop as it could. The same is true for gifted children.

Myth No. 2: Giftedness can easily be measured by intelligence tests and tests of achievement.

Giftedness is difficult to measure. This is why schools and school districts try so many different ways to identify gifted students. Tests are often culturally biased and may reflect ethnicity, socioeconomic status, exposure and experiences rather than true giftedness. Other children may be gifted but are not good at taking tests. They may not score well on standardized tests but may be gifted, especially in creative and productive thinking.

Myth No. 3: There is no need to identify gifted students in the early grades.

Many school districts do not begin identifying gifted and talented students until third grade. There is a belief among some educators that giftedness cannot be properly identified in the early grades. However, the National Association for Gifted Children programming standards start with pre-kindergarten. The group’s early childhood network position paper says that “providing engaging, responsive learning environments … benefit all children, including young gifted children.”

Photos: Inside a 'genius school' in 1948

Myth No. 4: Gifted students read all the time, wear glasses and/or are physically and socially inept.

From Jason, the cartoon character in the “Foxtrot” comic strip, to Sheldon on the TV show “The Big Bang Theory,” we can see this stereotype in action. But like all other kids, gifted children come in many varieties. Some are successful in sports or music, and some are physically attractive. Some have many friends, while others have only a few. Some are extreme extroverts, while others are introverts. There is no one type of person or personality we can pinpoint as gifted.

Myth No. 5: Gifted kids are all model students – they’re well-behaved and make good grades.

This statement reflects another stereotype about gifted students. Some gifted children are model students. They are compliant, follow directions, never misbehave and make straight A’s. But many others challenge teachers, do their own thing instead of the assigned work, procrastinate until the last minute when doing long-range assignments, get low grades, are disorganized and have poor study skills.

Myth No. 6: All gifted students work up to their potential.

Most schools have their share of gifted underachievers. These students have the potential for excellence but - for a variety of reasons - do not fulfill that potential. Gifted underachievers may decide they will only do the minimum requirements and choose the easy work instead of more challenging tasks. They often lack study and organizational skills because in the early grades they don’t need to develop them. Some get discouraged when the work doesn’t come easily, and others don’t want to look gifted because it isn’t “cool.”

Myth No. 7: Teaching gifted students is easy.

Some believe that a good teacher can easily teach any student. If this were the case, good teaching with no special training would be all that is needed to teach gifted students. However, in my many years of teaching graduate-level courses in gifted education, I have found that good teachers add to their skills and learn new strategies and techniques targeted particularly to meeting the needs of the gifted. Most teachers of the gifted tell me this is the hardest, most challenging, most exhausting and most rewarding teaching they have ever done.

Myth No. 8: Gifted students will get by on their own without any special help from the school.

I hear this myth often, especially in times of budget cutting. Some people claim that gifted students come from wealthy families who can meet their children’s needs. Others assert that the expense of providing gifted programs cannot be justified. In general, the assumption is that gifted students will succeed regardless of the quality of the education they receive. This is simply not true. Gifted students require special services and programs to ensure the growth rather than the loss of their outstanding abilities.

Myth No. 9: It never hurts gifted students to teach others what they already know.

If gifted students already know the grade-level standards, it may seem logical to have them teach others. This is faulty logic. It assumes that teaching struggling students is something gifted kids innately know how to do. Most gifted students do not know how to tutor others. They often are frustrated that struggling students don’t understand what they perceive as easy. Peer tutoring using gifted students also takes away time they should be using for more advanced work, more rigor and more higher-level thinking.

Myth No. 10: All children are gifted.

If all kids are gifted, then there is no need to identify gifted students and no need for any special programs for gifted. I strongly believe that all children have distinctive and unique qualities that make each one valuable. This does not mean, however, that all children are gifted. Being identified as gifted simply means that certain children have needs that are different from most others at their age and grade level. All gifted students need programs and services to ensure their growth rather than the loss of their outstanding abilities.

For information about gifted students and programs, I recommend the following websites and publishers:

Carolyn Coil
National Association for Gifted Children
Hoagie’s Gifted Education Page
Pieces of Learning
Prufrock Press
Royal Fireworks Press

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Carolyn Coil.

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Filed under: Curriculum • Gifted education • Policy • Practice • Voices
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  1. M

    Great article. Ignorant commenters (some of you excluded).

    I was identified at age 4 as gifted. I was not rich. I lived in a rural home on the outskirts of Murfreesboro, TN; my father was a tobacco sales rep for 30 years, and my mother a typographical assistant. When I began to read what are known as "sight words" beginning at 18 months, my parents were stunned. As my reading skills grew, my mother turned to a friend who was going back for her bachelor's in Childhood Education, who in turn presented me basically as a book report to a class. If not for this series of events, I likely would have attended the small, rural school I was zoned for. Luckily, through programs such as those described in the article, I was identified and sent to the county's charter school run by Middle Tennessee State University. I entered kindergarten at an 8th grade reading level and with an IQ of 155. My parents declined to skip me straight into 2nd grade because of the social stigma they feared it would present.

    I write this not to brag, but to rebut. Many of the children in my gifted classes were the children of doctors, lawyers, and professors, but I sure as hell wasn't. I was completely unable to identify with children my own age. I talked too much, hated gym, and finished my assignments for the entire day before lunch. Many teachers do indeed find gifted children to be a burden, however, to their normal classrooms. In retrospect, I can understand. My "Spectrum" class was a bi-weekly 2 hour bloc where we were able to do special projects, solve brainteasers, and really go outside the box. The burden was placed on the classroom teacher to give me individual advanced reading, spelling, and eventually math lessons. While a few early teachers were happy to keep me challenged and see me thrive (primarily first and second grades), most were not. In perspective, those teachers had 25 other students of varying levels to concern themselves with. They didn't have the time or energy to devote to one child... especially a particularly precocious, aggressive, chatty gifted child. Their lack of investment did translate into increasingly distracting behavior. In third grade, my teacher refused to participate in my advanced curriculum, so I began collecting tissue boxes and trash and building a model world in a corner. In fourth grade, I alphabetized all the books in the classroom, and took it upon myself to reshelve them daily. None of this really challenged me, so I acted out physically and verbally. Luckily, timeouts on the playground meant protected time where I didn't have to try to interact with the other children! I basically was told to assimilate to the level of the classroom, and so I did. As I went to middle and then high school in the public school system, As came easily. I graduated with a perfect 4.0. I spit out papers that should have taken weeks and got ridiculous marks. I took a couple of classes at the college and aced them too. I had begun to float through life.

    And as such, I got lazy as ****. Seriously.

    As an adult, I attended college in New York City, where I still currently reside. I find myself relatively mediocre to have been held in such high regard so early. I grow bored easily. I don't like to press myself too hard, and I generally stay within my boundaries. I work long hours, and trend towards jobs where I plan events and "people organization." I take directions poorly and work best unchallenged. I often joke I "evened out," but I wonder if it was forced upon me by the lack of resources available to me by the public school system. I wonder what might have happened if I had been able to have the resources afforded to private school children. It's a real, live, breathing problem. I don't know how to solve it.

    Gifted children are not always rich. They're not always some mommy's special snowflakes. Sometimes we're simply freaks of nature. Although they are incredibly proud of me, it would have been far easier for my parents to raise an average child who played basketball like her sister than to revolve their lives around the constant needs of an artsy child they did not know how to satisfy. I was nurtured as well as the school system could provide, but still feel that I fell short of my full potential due to a lack of... something. Everyone tried, but I don't think anyone truly knew what to do. Only further research, training, and financial investment will progress gifted education in America. The educational needs of one child should not preclude the educational needs of another. All children should be able to thrive to their fullest potential, gifted or not. To disenfranchise any group of children because of a lack of understanding is to sentence our future to the same fate as the children we fail: mediocrity.

    "I will speak for you, Father. I speak for all mediocrities in the world. I am their champion. I am their patron saint!"

    November 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Dolores

      Same story here. When I was in elementary school the principal called my mother to suggest she consider sending me to private school because the elementary school didn't have anything more advanced to offer me. Both she and I had the same reaction, "That's nice to hear." I knew private school wasn't a consideration being we had no money. My mother was a housewife, my father drove a beer truck, my clothes came from the church sales, and I would stay in my public school. That was it.

      Good grades came easy, and I too think it made me lazy. I was a good student up until the last year or so in high school when the boredom got the best of me and I just couldn't wait to get out, get to work, and get some money in my pocket. I didn't get motivated to go to college until almost 20 years later. At that point, A's could have come easy, but I put more work into my grades than necessary, because I set my own standards instead of lowering them to the school's. I once had a friend say, "You know, you can't get more than an A." I knew, but it was no longer about the grade and more about what I could do in my own head. Now that I am only a few months away from earning my doctorate, I often wonder what I could have achieved if I had had the resources to keep me motivated earlier in life.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
      • Rob

        Private schools have nothing to do with money.....advanced students will be admitted with all expenses covered...I used to work admissions at a private school outside DC and they are almost ALL that way. If the student is good enough, the school will do what is needed to get the student.

        November 15, 2012 at 10:34 am |
      • M

        Robert, admittedly it was presented as an option to me, but the nearest private school to my home in rural Tennessee was more than an hour's drive each way. With 2 working parents while I was in school, there was no feasible way to support the transportation costs of gas and time. I could have boarded, but I don't think that would have been the best situation either.

        November 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • backpackandbirkenstocks

      Thank you both M and Delores for posting. I had very similar experiences and feel I can relate. I was identified as gifted in 6th grade, IQ 154, and had no choice but to survive in a rural academic environment that was not accommodating to my needs. I graduated as valedictorian without really trying (much to the chagrin of many of the administrators who were frustrated by my lack of effort, as they thought other students were more 'deserving' and felt the need to inform me of their feelings on the issue). I don't want place blame undeservedly, but it's possible in my eyes that the lack of enrichment may have contributed to me to taking part risky behaviors like drinking and drugs as a teenager, and had I had other opportunities to find some kind of enrichment, or just the understanding that you gain with interaction with gifted peers that I was wired differently naturally (and not that there was something wrong with me as I was made to believe), then maybe I wouldn't have gotten involved in such bad activities as a way to self-medicate. Once I got to college I mellowed out (and struggled to graduate with a mediocre GPA since I never learned to study, but I adapted and thankfully graduated nonetheless). However, because I met other gifted kids for the first time at college, I started to learn that it wasn't something wrong with me, we're just wired differently. I've done a lot since college, too; gotten a master's degree, joined the Peace Corps, worked in human rights; but I always wonder about how I might be different emotionally, psychologically, intellectually, if I had been in a learning environment where I was able to learn on terms that fit me as an entire person. If students with IQ's one standard deviation below the norm (usually identified as needing remedial or special education classes) get an entirely different curriculum, then why are those of us one, two, or even three standard deviations above the norm expected to simply assimilate? To education policy makers and school administrators: We are not like the other kids, as much as you may like us to be, and we're simply too different to be ignored. Please acknowledge our needs. You never know who you might be holding back.

      November 18, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  2. Denese

    Myth No. 11 – Being gifted insures a successful life. Wong – They still have to fit in with society. This is where the term "dumbed down" comes from. Unless the gifted child is extremely lucky (good school, excellent contacts), they will have to join the same work force as the rest of us and as soon as the boss realizes they are smarter, faster, etc...the gifted one will be sent downstairs to answer the phones and sort the mail.

    November 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • ditto

      If anything, gifted adults have a WORSE time in their careers, because they don't meet the accepted stereotypes identified by psychological testing that most businesses use to "understand" their employees. If you don't fit their accepted "ideal" in your field, you are SCREWED.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
      • BaltoPaul

        Only if you're dumb enough to let someone else put you in a box. If you can do things that almost nobody else can, you can define your own job description. There will always be someone willing to steal you away for what you are able to achieve.

        November 14, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Dolores

      I used to include my MENSA membership on my resume, being under the delusion it was a positive. After seeing the behavior of people towards those whose intelligence they were threatened by, I took it off.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
      • Rob

        people weren't jealous, they felt pity...Mensa is a social group for people that can't make friends on their is also an ego boost for smart people with fragile egos/low self esteem. Do you REALLY need a card in your wallet to inform yourself that you passed a silly test? If not, then the card is to prove it to others, often because you own words or actions fail to illustrate it to a point that makes you other words, you haven't shown anything to make other people look to you as the smart person so you need a card to prove it...

        November 15, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Maid in America

      Yes, I wanted to be a doctor, but did not get the support I needed early on or from my parents.. I studied language arts, intended to write, or hide in a library. Everywhere that I worked I was singled out as different, and set aside, and was given boring tasks, while the real simpletons were always put in charge. I have given up on doing anything spectacular, and have settled for a rather mundane life, as the minute I offer ideas or opinions, In am shot down, only to see them incorporate my ideas five years later. I am too often branded as negative or opinionated so I just keep my mouth shut.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  3. emdunne141

    Why is an opinion piece being delivered on a topic for which there is plenty of actual research that investigates the matter? As both a teacher and a "gifted" student, I find this piece laughable. Please CNN, let's try amping up the "rigor" of your opinion pieces.

    November 14, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Look up "rigor" in any good dictionary. It doesn't come close to matching what the education establishment calls rigor.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  4. profart

    I find it stunning and depressing that these ten assumptions are still rampant in our society. That they remain in our schools is simply a disgrace.

    November 14, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • LastManStanding

      You seem to be smart enough to identify the problem, any solutions? Write an intelligent article that puts our school back on track.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  5. Jo

    I was a Gifted student. Most of you obviously weren't.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Deb

      Are you gifted in arrogance?

      November 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  6. rain man

    take them to vegas... "rainman" the heck out of them and make some ea$y dough!

    November 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • MoodyMoody

      The lead character in the movie Rain Man was a savant, not a genius. He had a very limited area of intelligence. Gifted or genius people have a much broader scope of intelligence than seeing large numbers at a glance or remembering all the names in a phone book. Geniuses can use the facts to synthesize new ideas; savants usually can't.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  7. Walter

    I have a genius level IQ with the tests to back it up. My parents knew I was gifted, though perhaps did not know quite how much early on. My kindergarten teacher identified me as such and suggested my parents enroll me in a special school. My parents were worried about taking me away from my friends and decided to mainstream school me. They never even gave me the choice or realized just how few friends I even had. The next 13 years were truly awful. I became increasingly socially isolated, increasingly underachieving, and I suffered through periods of depression and apathy. Each grade level the difference between what I was capable of and what was being taught grew wider and wider. I had few friends, never learned how to study because for most of my education career I never needed to, and while I did well on tests in school, I never did homework and my grades suffered accordingly. I did not go to a challenging college due to my poor grades and apathy, and repeated many of the same underachieving habits I had learned in middle and high school. I dropped out of college, with no degree and no plan.

    Today, I consider myself to be a failed genius. I'm doing well enough, self-employed doing something that doesn't require a college degree and caters to my giftedness to an extent, but I really could have been somebody. My teachers all focused on the kids with half my IQ number, the average kids did fine with the curriculum optimized for their needs, and people like me were assumed to be okay without special attention. It's just not true. Without challenges, without friends of comparable intelligence who we can relate to, people like me just shut down. We never learn the tools that regular kids are forced to to survive, that serve them so well later in life. We are seen as weird, nerdy, and end up living in our own little worlds with nobody we can talk to and bounce ideas off of. Challenging teachers was discouraged at every step, leaving me discouraged and oppressed instead of giving me vigorous debate to help me grow and learn.

    I can only just wonder how much better off society as a whole would be, if kids could all work at their own speeds, with individualized support regardless of intelligence level. How many other failed geniuses like me are out there, wasting away their lives with mediocre work instead of leading the world in every area? What advances in engineering, science, art, and philosophy are we missing out on because high IQ kids are never challenged or taught the value of hard work? How many fail to achieve even undergraduate degrees, that might otherwise have gotten doctorates, had they simply been given the attention they need?

    When I have kids of my own, I think I will school them at home if they are anything but completely average. The public school systems are so afraid of admitting a basic truth, that every child is not exceptional. Everything I've read from educators and scientists who have studied how people learn says that kids should be allowed to work at their own speed, not a strict curriculum that caters to the average. If your kid is not perfectly average, I urge you to homeschool or find a suitable private school where all the students are at the same level. In 20 or 30 years, I guarantee your kid will thank you. If you mainstream your above- or below-average kid, they will never achieve what they are capable of, and they will always resent your choice.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Gavin

      You have described me. I am in 8th grade and I am afraid that I will never achieve my goal of becoming an astronaut. My study, homework and organization habits are mostly bad ones. My grade has consistently been falling. Next year is high school and this is my last chance to set things right before my grade is recorded for colleges, or so I've heard.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
      • odin

        Gavin – stop surfing the web and start doing your homework!

        November 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
      • Colin

        Let me be frank with you Gavin; but you're probably not gifted. And you're not going to become an astronaut if you put off your schoolwork.

        November 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
      • Walter

        My advice to you is try to graduate from high school early. I considered doing so, but it didn't occur to me until after it was too late. Talk to your parents and high school councilors about your options. Tell them how bored you are, and how you are never challenged. Take as many honors or AP classes as you can. Take classes at a local community college, if you can't graduate early. Do whatever you can to give yourself an education that's suited better to your intelligence. If you don't challenge yourself now, you will never do well in college where admissions processes try to get similar-intelligence students in each class.

        I was actually discouraged from taking as many honors and AP classes in high school as I wanted to, because it would be "too hard" and "too much work" for ordinary students. So I was stuck in some classes bored out of my mind, with other kids I could not relate to. My AP classes were the only ones that I couldn't sleep through, and my grades were much higher in them.

        It's hard to make friends when other people don't understand your jokes. It's hard to get good grades when teachers grade you on homework that you don't need to do (and so you don't do) because the material is easy and you don't need extra work and any studying to pass exams. That's the daily reality for gifted kids in mainstream schools. The not-so-gifted kids on the other end of the intelligence spectrum have the same issue of social isolation, and they keep getting more and more behind their classmates as the march of averageness goes on each grade. Teaching to the average is the worst part of our entire educational system.

        November 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
      • Jub

        Self discipline is the path to freedom. Freedom to be who you want to be. Small changes each day that are followed consistently will get you headed to where you want to go. Think about how small the rudder is compared to the size of a ship. Small choices each day will get you turned around and headed in the direction of your dreams. Just do it. You are worth every effort!

        November 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
      • Ella

        Hi Gavin!
        I'm a gifted student too, in the 12th grade. I hope my perspective as a student older than you but without so much experience as Walter may be of help. Walter said, "Take as many honors or AP classes as you can." This is excellent. AP classes are (should be) set up so you are able to pass the test at the end, but this takes effort on your part. AP classes are hard, but not impossible. Don't listen to school counselors if they think a class is too hard. Take it anyway. Without fail, my AP classes are my favorites, even if I'm not too fond of the subject.

        Secondly, find something outside of school to get passionate about. I am marginally involved in my school with clubs or sports because so few interest me. However, on the weekends I patrol at a ski resort. It's something I love and care about and it challenges me everyday. Whatever it is, find something outside of school that you can love and that you can pour your gifted energy into. If you don't, as Walter pointed out, you'll stagnate. Once your extra energy is being used, you won't feel so disheartened, and then can more enthusiastically approach your graded schoolwork.

        For the rest (study, homework, organization), ask (Or observe from afar, it feels embarrassing.) the students with the top grades in class. How do they keep their notebooks/binders/folders? How do they take notes? Do they use a planner? How much and what do they study? Even if they aren't gifted, their systems are a good place to start til you find your most productive methods.

        Best of luck, Gavin. Whatever you do, don't stress. In the eighth grade you've got plenty of time to figure things out. 🙂

        November 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
      • BrontosaurusRex

        If you're failing your work that should be "easy" for you if you're gifted, then the problem is you and not the curriculum. If you want to be an astronaut bad enough then you will do what it takes to achieve it. That means doing your work and doing it well. Don't blame the school system for your own faults. That's the hard truth.

        November 15, 2012 at 2:55 am |
    • Jub

      I am so sorry that the school system failed you. Parents need to be educated about the special needs of their gifted child. A great resource is Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development Your story is a cautionary tale that needs to be heeded by policy makers, educators, and parents alike. Thank you for sharing your pain and regrets so that others may learn from it. Bless you!

      November 14, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Uncle Jake;s Venture Capital

      ???? Really? On a CNN blog?

      November 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • alienmom

      It doesn' t sound as if you are too old to get a better education ,one that will opens more challenging doors for you.You seem resigned to the fact that the system and indeed your parents failed you.If you are not clinicaly depressed then speak with someone who can assist you in developing the skills you feel you should have during your early education.Recognition is the key and you say you have that. There are plenty of choices and this time YOU can make them.Stop feeling defeated.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
      • sqeptiq

        If one wants a great education, they are NEVER too old.

        November 14, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Lorie

      This is so true and sad. As a former teacher in public schools, I was completely unsure how to find the right school to meet the needs of my gifted children. Public schools don't have the resources to adeqately do so and gifted programs are one of the first to be cut. I was very fortunate that my son was able to attend a district magnet school in grades 1-8 and my daughter followed in that path as well. They both received not only an excellent education, but spent 8 years in an environment with their intellectual and emotional peers. They actually had good friends and despite being very shy, they both developed excellent social skills. I'm especially grateful that my daughter blossomed intead of hiding her intelligence as girls tend to do as they mature. They may not always understand what a god-send that school was, but as a gifted child who experienced the feeling of being an outcast until I found intellectual peers in high school, I am ever-grateful for what my children were ableto experience.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • sks2Bu

      So ... to use a sports analogy, you were a tremendous football talent, and have an amazing 4.2 in the 40 to prove it. You just failed hard every time you had to put on the pads.

      You blame everyone but yourself, but you were the one who gave up, repeatedly. I spent my entire elementary school life reading books in the back of the classroom and teaching myself math from second-hand textbooks, because the small rural schools I attended had nothing else to do with me. I skated through high school in five semesters, and skated through a junior college starting at age 16. Spent a few years screwing around while getting my bachelors at a real school, mostly coasting on reading the books, blowing off class, and doing enough to get a B. Eventually I got out into the real world where there was enough challenge to have to learn how to actually apply myself. It took me many years, but I didn't quit, and I didn't blame anyone else for my bad habits.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
      • Walter

        If you really need a sports analogy to understand, here's a more accurate one. An NFL player stuck on a middle school team football team. His coach ignores him. He has nothing in common with his teammates. What is his motivation to put any effort in whatsoever? How happy is he going to be? How is he going to improve his skills?

        November 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
      • sks2Bu

        I don't need a sports analogy to understand. I was mocking you. You've made yourself a legend in your own mind, and you blame everyone but yourself for your failures.

        As to your sports analogy, said talent would score six touchdowns by half time, and be benched out of consideration to the opponent. He would have talent scouts beating down his door. He might or might not practice enough to make it to the top of his game, but he'd take his shot at it.

        November 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  8. Kurt

    A bunch of crap. I think it is funny how we want to push our kids to be the most amazing. No wonder so many people are depressed, when we discover that it was our parents pushing hard and not our amazing work... We think gee something is wrong with me? What is wrong with being normal? I'm a teacher. 90% of all parents think their kids are "gifted" but they are neat, good kids... Just not geniuses. Let kids be kids and expect/encourage them to do the work assigned not figure ways our of it. Another example of over zealous parents... My son is only in kindergarten but is great at baseball... Can't he play with the 4th graders? Gifted is another way of saying "my child is better than yours."

    November 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • people are funny


      November 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • odin

      Kurt – you are absolutely right! Worst I've seen is parents trying to move their kids several grade levels up. Poor kids turn into social freaks, but the parents sure are proud! And yes, my IQ is over 160 and ditto my kids, but they are still in public school at an age appropiate grade level. They are happy, normal kids, totally unaware that they should be treated different than everyone else.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
      • LastManStanding

        If you don't believe there are "gifted" kids, does IQ=160 mean anything to you?

        November 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
      • ZenSoapbox

        Nothing in this article suggested that gifted kids have to be moved up grade levels, just that they should be identified and challenged/engaged so they don't lose all interest in school and drop out.

        November 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Richard57

      I enjoyed status since my reading was college level in 5th grade, and it seems that 'gifted' students enjoy smaller class sizes and more respect. I hope all students can be in a safe and stimulating environment where lots of new experiences help them enjoy their personal adventure in becoming a young man or woman. each must experience what the like and don't like and what they are good at or not good at. telling any child 'you can do anything' is a terrible set up...because, of course, that is impossible. Being simply me, growing with others in our community adventure is, hopefully, the future of education. Thank you God for Mozart, Tesla and Buscalia, all geniuses, or well defined insight into the beauty, life and future each of us might bring to our very short time together here on community Earth. if only we were smart enough to cease violence and put all efforts into planning a better future for the incredibly growing population.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • ZenSoapbox

      Wow, I couldn't disagree with you more. I'm a teacher too, and I believe there are definitely students who are more gifted than others–even if it's not politically correct to say so. And, from my knowledge and experience, gifted students are as much at risk of failing and dropping out as students on the opposite end of the spectrum. The reason is that they become distracted and bored easily because they are not challenged–and distracted and bored children develop bad habits and get in trouble. They stop doing the work they find too easy so their grades decline. And so on. If we don't identify these students and find ways to keep them challenged and engaged we risk losing them. That is not to say that every parent who thinks their kid is gifted is correct. It shouldn't be up to the parents to self-identify giftedness, although their input should certainly be respected.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Michael

      Kurt, Sorry to say, but YOU are the problem. I, like Walter, was extremely gifted, but the school systems failed me. In grade school, I worked ahead and finished the material early (spelling, math, etc programmed learning), so in 6th grade, I sat at a table to the side and worked puzzles. Same thing happened in Jr high, I worked independently and by 8th grade had finished high school algebra. I got no credit for it, so I was completely bored in high school redoing algebra. And, I never learned certain skills because I kept being put to the side to work independently. We need gifted teachers to challenge us mentally and also stress certain study habits and social skills instead of having lazy teachers that do not prepare us for the real world.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
      • Rob

        Hey genius, ever hear of a LIBRARY....they have all of these books you can read and learn from without having to wait on the "school system" CHOSE to not take advantage of resources and then blame your failure on external sources.You are singing the song of the guy that was thought to MAYBE be advanced as a child but then turned out to be normal or less when they grew up...

        November 15, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Some need challenge

      When I observe at my child's school, and she's finished her 20 minutes of "seat work" in her math class in five minutes and spends the rest of the time doodling, it's time to put her in another, more challenging environment.

      We're not pushing her, she is complaining of boredom. This has been a recurring theme with her.

      One of her teachers told us that her reading vocabulary was excellent, but her comprehension was poor. This was in the 1st grade, when she was reading middle-school material at home, and dipping into her mother's anatomy textbooks and a Red Cross advanced first aid manual she'd found on our shelf.

      It turned out she just didn't really give a rat's backside whether Spot had run or had not, when called upon in class, because she was busy reading something else under her desk. We had to take her in to see her teacher after school with the first aid manual, told the teacher to pick any random chapter, and asked her to quiz our daughter on the material after she had read it. Her teacher was shocked; she had been completely oblivious to my child's reading ability, and mistook her disinterest in the classroom activities for a lack of comprehension.

      She was allowed to check out books from the middle school shelves for her book reports after that episode, and was excused from taking turns at "see Spot run" read-aloud drills.

      Some of us aren't pushing our children, and don't suffer from delusions regarding their abilities. We are worried that they will develop poor study habits from not being challenged, because it happened to us when we were in school. We also know how hard it will be for our children to "fit in" when they are so different, because we have been their ourselves.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  9. people are funny

    Reading these comments make me laugh. It would appear that the majority of people here consider themselves "gifted" or that their lovely children are "gifted". I'm not sure that I am buying that. I went to a high school with about 600 kids per graduating class. I was never labeled as "gifted" although I did get good grades and was at the top of my class, I played an instrument (1st or 2nd chair in our orchestra), played sports (varsity all 4 years, team MVP) and participated in many extracurricular activities. I went to a major university and graduated with high honors. I was accepted to and completed a post graduate program at a university that is consistently ranked in the top 20 schools in the US. I live and thrive in a major metropolitan area. I am self employed and live a comfortable, satisfying life. Now, these so called "gifted" kids from my graduating class, you know the ones, the ones who had doctors and such for for dads. The ones who had stay at home moms. The ones who were caught up in labels and appearances. You know where they are now? No where. They moved back to our community and married someone who hung around in their privileged little group. Most likely to their high school buddy's girlfriend, probably claiming their offspring is gifted because little Susie pooped in the potty on her first try. They work average, everyday type jobs. No one is curing cancer, winning a nobel prize, etc... What's my point? My point is, who cares in the end what you were labeled?? Chances are when you get out in the so called real world, no one cares. You may be elite (which I find debatable) in your little world but there is always someone more "gifted" than you. Perhaps when these "gifted" children got out there, they couldn't deal with the fact that no one cared and they were not supreme beings that received special treatment. They were not so special after all. So they packed it up and moved back to that small pond to be that big fish. Sounds limiting to me. I guess I'm glad to be just a hum drum, normal, non-gifted individual.

    Oh, and if your "gifted" kid is getting bad grades and acting out because he/she is bored. I call BS. If they were so smart, they'd recognize the pitfalls of failing and being in trouble.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Jonathan

      The core concept at work here is that gifted children are not "smarter" than other children, nor are they more likely to be successful – as the article points out, if their educational needs are not properly met early on then it's perfectly reasonable to expect that they'll fail to develop the skills they need to overcome obstacles once the challenges become difficult enough to require something more than intuition. Your comment reads as a gloating response to the idea that gifted kids are somehow better than their peers – yet this idea was not offered by the article and had no need to be refuted. If you've experienced success in such an overwhelmingly complex society as ours, I imagine it is due at least in part to your receiving an education that moved at a pace that was appropriate for you to learn within. For remedial students, the path to success must take a slower pace – if not, they'll become too frustrated early on to develop the skills they need. For gifted students, it's a similar story: the pace must be somewhat faster for them to be engaged, otherwise they become bored and miss out on essential pieces of the educational process, regardless of whether their grades are high or low. This has nothing to do with better or worse, smarter or dumber. It has everything to do with the inherent diversity of human learning and the limited resources we've committed as a culture to ensuring that each new generation of citizens has the tools it needs to achieve success.

      For those who are interested, search around for "flow state" to learn a bit about how the right proportions of challenge and mastery can heighten engagement and learning.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • Josh

      Sounds like someone's bitter to me.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Jub

      You make some very good points in your response to the article. Especially about how 'labeling' children as gifted can miss fire. I agree with you. However, I have taught in gifted education for over a decade and the article is 'right on' in my experience. Gifted children need to be challenged with curriculum that is outside of the regular classroom. They do have special needs that need to be met. I Many gifted children go on to become gifted professionals. Chances are the surgeon that operates on you or someone you love was a gifted child. I admire you and all that you have accomplished. Good for you! Just because you were not identified as gifted does not mean you are not gifted. We miss a lot of kids in the identification process. High creativity is usually the biggest clue to whether one is gifted.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • LastManStanding

      Congratulations on your success! But really sure what you are trying to say and what point to make, i.e., using an empirical evidence N=1 to deny an "expert report" based on her experience? In any given statistics, there are always outliers, so it is not a big deal to see some "gifted" kids failed. It is unfortunate, and you seem to be one of those "funny people" by making fun of them. You probably have some resentment for not being labeled as "gifted" when you were a kid? You answer probably is: who cares....

      November 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • CAPD MOM

      I could not have said that better myself.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Missed Potential

      If you think acting out from boredom is BS, you fail to comprehend the rage that accompanies being told day after day to sit and do nothing while the teacher repeats herself over and over for the benefit of your slower peers. When your mind can't shut off and you've already solved every homework problem in your head because writing it out in class is "disrespectful while the teacher is talking". When your teacher tells you she is "sure you're right" because your science report was over her head one day and then yells at you for not paying attention to her babbling about a basic topic the next day.

      So what do we learn? Our peers are to be blamed for holding us back. Sleep in class – there's nothing else to do. And doing college level reports in 7th grade gets treated as an inconvenience to the teacher grading them.

      November 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
      • Frannie

        Sounds like my 7th grade experience... I spent most of middle school fighting off accusations of plagiarism or of having a parent (which one? The farmboy or the HS drop-out?) write it for me. For a child who was reading at an elementary school level by age 2 and college levels by age 8 (along with a Mensa IQ to go with it), all those accusations just made me stop trying. Despite a less-than-stellar HS career, I took the SATs for a giggle and achieved a high enough score to get around the "average" GPA. I thus went to college and graduated with honors. It seriously amazed people that I took the Regents' Exam (required in our state) and passed it the first time without seemingly studying. I think that was only because in college, one chooses a major one is truly passionate about and so DOES the work and the studying. Yes, smart people study, too.

        I have a daughter now and she is worse off in HS than I was, flunking everything. That's because her teachers are always telling her what her IQ is and how smart she's supposed to be, so she doesn't need help. Except she has dyscalculia and needs help there, but she's "gifted" so why should they provide the extra tutoring? And, despite the college, I am not working in the field I trained for since my daughter has other issues and I needed a job that would allow flexibility to work with her problems.

        We all don't become Bill Gates or Stephen Hawking just because we are smarter than 99% of the population. We achieve varying levels of success based on the support we get as we develop. The support of parent-advocates is not always enough at times. 🙁

        November 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  10. Paul

    A rare accurate article in CNN. Thank you!

    Been through many gifted program and met all sorts and it matches my experiences and opinions exactly.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  11. g.r.r.

    Wow. Many of the articles on CNN's blogs are lousy. However, this is an EXCEPTION. It is absolutely dead on. Congrats Mrs. Coil, you are doing your field a great service with your work in it. We need more teachers like you.

    November 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  12. mom who knows

    Please do not forget to include SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) as an internationally-recognized gifted support organization.

    Supporting a gifted child does not just mean supporting their academic needs. The most important thing is to support their social and emotional needs.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  13. Gifted Parent

    For those kids who truly are in the 1% with IQs over 144 there are schools for them. You as a family need to make a point to find them. Davidson Academy offers free support for life for kids who qualify and schools such as The Herberger Academy and Standford have programs which partner with colleges. If you would not expect a typically public school to have the resources to support a mentally retard child why would they have they resources to support a gifted one? They are the same deviation apart!

    November 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Parent

      @Gifted Parent: "mentally retard child?" Wow you sure are a "gifted parent!"

      November 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
      • Gifted Parent

        @parent: Mentally retarded is a medical definition not a slang term. In the medical and academic field it refers to anyone with an IQ under 70.

        November 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
      • odin

        Hahaha, funny "gifted parent" didn't even get your comment about the poor spelling! And gifted parent: the medical definition is mental retardation!

        November 14, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
      • Disappointed

        Come on people, abide by the principal of charity for once. The misspelling was obviously accidental, and should in no way reflect upon the argument at hand. Particularly in light of such programs as "no child left behind", I'm inclined to agree that truly gifted students would be better off in special programs that encourage individuality.

        And Odin: Let's not grasp at straws here. If a person suffers mental retardation, is it really that far a stretch to describe them as...mentally retarded? In any case, both terms are considered offensive these days, and "intellectually challenged" is preferred.

        November 14, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
      • Gifted Parent

        Clearly I had a typo in the article but I was attempting to make a point. Do I like the term Mentally retarded – no, is it socially accepted – no, do people understand the intellectual meaning behind it – yes. In a professional academic and medical setting that diagnosis still exists and is used commonly. The word has a clear meaning in reference to IQ that other words do not. My only point is anyone over 2 standard deviations from the mean will not function successfully academically or socially without some support. And for the record – being the parent of a gifted child is tough. I tell any parents to wish for a bright, happy, well adjusted child as those are the ones who are going to go far in life. I have to worry everyday if my child will ever get the common sense to survive in the real world. Despite the fact he has scored high enough on Cambridge and SAT tests to start college and has been accepted he is still not ready. Academics is only one part of being gifted.

        November 15, 2012 at 3:04 am |
      • Rob

        The medical term has changed over the years...anyone suggesting that there is only one correct term is NOT gifted...Odin, that would be YOU....

        November 15, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Lindy

      odin........right on. The gifted parent probably goes around calling the non gifted..retards.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
      • BaltoPaul

        No, the point was that school systems have resources for dealing with children who have far below-average intelligence, but in many school districts, children with far above-average intelligence are expected to fit in and fend for themselves.

        November 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
      • Gifted Parent

        No, I do not go around using that term. I was attempting to explain the mental differences between someone 2 or more standard deviations from the mean. The direction does not matter but most people have a clear picture of someone with an intellectual disability and not a gifted one. Being a genius indicates you have a high ability in one or more areas but will have deficits in other areas. They will not function well in a normal setting and are in danger of failing out of school and life without the tools to learn how to use their giftedness.

        November 15, 2012 at 2:54 am |
    • Frannie

      Wow! Davidson–does THAT bring back nightmares! My daughter was actually referred to the school, but they only support you IF you are willing to pick up and move to Reno for it. My employer had ZERO locations nearby, so no work if we moved. No insurance, either. So I had to decline. At that point her regular school started treating her like dirt and pulled her out of the program because we DIDN'T move.

      I think that is when she made the conscious decision to fail. And she has succeeded at that beyond wildest expectations.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
      • Gifted Parent

        Davidson Young Scholars is a completely remote program. The educational advisers are assigned to the student for their entire educational career. They also have parent and student seminars (all online) as well online forums for the parents and adults. We do not attend the school since we live in another state but we have taken advantage of the Davidson resources. John Hopkins CTY is another great option with family programs.

        November 15, 2012 at 2:47 am |
  14. Gifted Parent

    This article is missing a key point which is the definition of gifted. Most people have no problem understanding the need for services for Mentally Challenged students. Students with down syndrome, TBI and other brain issues cannot function at the same pace or level as average students. By definition a student is mentally retarded with an IQ of 70 or lower (otherwise known as 2 standard deviation from the mean). A truly gifted child, not academically bright but gifted will have an IQ above 130, that is the same deviation from the mean as a mentally challenged person. When you look at the mathematically percents only 2 in 1000 will have an IQ over 130 and the numbers are even less when we discuss students with an IQ over 144. While there are very few and the schools do a poor job of identifying these students, the few that are in that IQ range will not be able to function academically or socially at the same pace as someone with an average IQ. These students need support the same as someone with a mental challenge.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Lindy

      gifted's Down Syndrome, with a capital D.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
      • BaltoPaul

        That's your rebuttal? Grammar-check for the win!

        November 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
      • Frannie

        Depending on one's browser's setup, his/her spell-check may well report that the capital letters in "Down's Syndrome" as misspellings. I know my Droid does that and tends to auto-correct to lower-case letters.

        November 14, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
      • Gifted Parent

        I was attempting to make a point about the need for services for gifted students based on data. I fully understand a disease should be capitalized. Sorry if that distracted from my objective.

        November 15, 2012 at 2:49 am |
  15. BigSmartA$$Jerk

    If my tax dollars are going to be confiscated by the federal thugs to pay for a specialist "para-professional" (whatever the hell that means) to baby sit every retard [YES! Retard, as Ann Coulter likes to say] in public schools, it is only FAIR [YES! Fairness, for you socialists] to provide commensurate services for the gifted. Those who oppose such fairness in services are either ignorant, racist, or foolish. Possbily all three. It is the leading teir of intellects who will ultimately get us out of the mess that Bush+Obama have gotten us into, not the retards. We should support their development and education in every way. 😮

    November 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • D

      You are a jerk! Shame on you for saying this about children with mental retardation. MR children are a lot different than those who are gifted. GT kids do not need someone to help them get around. GT kids are smart enough to figure things out while MR kids can't.

      Should GT kids have a special program? Absolutely! At my school, they are pulled out for GT services everyday. However, all kids should be exposed to the wonderful activities that GT kids get. Who wouldn't benefit from that?

      November 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
      • Dale Masters

        When it was time for me to attend first grade, I was required to take an IQ test because of illnesses I developed from being 8 weeks premature. To put things in perspective, I was born in 1958.

        The tests came back, showing that I had a Stanford-Binet of 139. I was allowed into first grade.

        It wasn't until I reached sixth grade that I was enrolled in a gifted students program, with the goal of enrolling me in the local community college for my math and science classes in the afternoon, while keeping me in at the seventh-grade level for all other classes. I wasn't able to attend because no one in my family was willing to take me, and because of riots in the city I needed to travel to, I wasn't allowed to take public transportation.

        I cannot tell you how bad the consequences were for me when I realised that I would be attending the same school with the same kids who would not leave me and my belongings alone. I was forced to buy a lock for my locker (no one else had one) so that my books and articles of clothing would remain where I put them.

        Constraints of space do not permit a complete explanation of why school was such hell. Let it suffice to say that in 6th grade, I was pushed in front of a moving bus during an ice storm. The driver braked, but couldn't stop in time.

        At age 53, I still have nightmares of not being able to roll away from the oncoming bus tire (which in reality passed so close to my head that I felt the sidewall on my scalp.

        The occurrence of Columbine did not surprise me. What did surprise me was that it took so long to happen.

        Those of you who think that this is an infrequent problem should read the news more carefully. You should also teach your children to respect all people, instead of passing on to your children your drooling moronic prejudices that pass for teaching your children socialisation skills.. The US would be a much better place if respect for others was taught early, rather than saying "Don't play with (insert name here). They're just weird." –or some other inane comment.

        November 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • are you reading my mind?

      THANK YOU! I am so sick of seeing the stOOpid ones getting all the personalized help and services!

      November 14, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  16. Mo

    Good article, good points.
    One of the problems, today, are the parents who think their little kids are special and hence they "too" are gifted. This 'self esteem' nonsense is ridiculous.
    I was a gifted kid, placed in special programs from 2nd grade to 5th grade; skipped 7th and 8th grade and went straight to high school. my IQ exceeds 165. i played sports (through college), i write, i compose, i play 5 instruments. there are 'normal' people and there are 'gifted' people... that is a reality. giftedness or proclivity to it, is inherited. i have a nephew and a niece who are at the genius level (both under 14 years of age). and may i point out that i came from a very poor family. the notion that some rich kid is gifted because they are rich is bs... from what i have seen, most rich kids are spoilt little brats who think they are special.
    giftedness can be assessed. take away the verbal component of IQ tests and the bulk of cultural bias is removed. you can assess a gifted musician (i have met kids who had perfect pitch, kids who can sit at a piano and within minutes they play something they never heard, with perfection). you can assess a gifted writer (someone with such a vivid imagination that the story they write jumps off the page and lives in your mind). i believe this notion of "not being able to assess" giftedness is implaced such that parents whose kids are not gifted won't feel so bad.
    finally, gifted kids are restless... unless you keep them occupied, they will get into trouble (as a kid, i got into a lot of trouble). please, do not diagnose these kids with add et al.... think about why these kids are so restless and stop creating future drug addicts. were i in grade school today, i am quite sure they would have me on some kind of drugs (because i had too much restless energy). as mentioned, i came from a poor family; likewise there are many gifted kids who live in poverty.. they should not be overlooked.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  17. John

    Ah, the irony of an i d i o t leaving a comment following an article about the b r i l l i a n t.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  18. Nick

    "My child is more advanced than most children." – Most Parents

    November 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • mamabear

      Yeah, but what do you do when your kid really is? When they are teaching them single syllable words and your child is already reading at a level several grades above? Just let them sit there and learn hat and cat for the next two years?

      November 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
      • mpouxesas

        There is not much that you can expect schools to do because as you may know, money is spent on more important things such as wars abroad, subsidies for agro-pharma, etc. But, what YOU as a parent can do, make it No1 priority to find time to invest on your child. Work with him/her one-on-one challenge the child in any way possible. Be as creative as you can, and then have them report on what ever challenge you pose them. And not report on paper with a pen/pencil. Maybe a ppt or some other 'media' type....But keep challenging them. That is the best thing you can possibly do (while never forget that you still need to show them all the love you can...they need that too)

        November 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
      • are you reading my mind?

        that's exactly what I am stuck with right now. my child is getting into trouble out of boredom (pre-k)! he's reading, they are going over the letter Hh in class, it is MIND NUMBING for much so, he chucked an eraser at the teacher the other day because as he said, he was BORED! We are stuck right now because his REAL teacher is out on maternity leave and his sub is well....let's put it this way, her background is special ed!

        November 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
      • Geek

        Send them to school with all the other dolts. When they start messing around with the school's intercom system and the fuseboxes, somebody will notice. Worked for me!

        November 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • mpouxesas

      Nick: How true! I agree wholeheartedly.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  19. Basher

    Great article.

    In Ohio it is generally based on socioeconomic status. The wealthy do not want their so-called gifted children to intermingle with the peasantry. So the school system, ever nervous of losing a levy vote, created gifted programs to placate the high taxpayers.

    It is one way of ensuring the lower classes know their rightful place in society. Wouldn't want any of the plebes getting uppity and all.

    November 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Basher

      Forgot to mention...

      Notice how large the gifted classrooms are before denying what I write is true or factual. There is no way there are that many 'gifted' children in any one school.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
      • Ken Carlson

        Which school district is it?

        November 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
      • BaltoPaul

        In our district, children have to pass a year in advanced placement before being allowed to test into the GT program. If they can't pass the test, they don't get into GT. We have quite a few AP and GT students as a percentage of the population, but our local schools also rate near the top of the SAT scores nationally, so I don't think children are in GT here due to their parents' exaggerated opinions of their abilities.

        I wish I'd have had a fraction of that available to me when I was in school. "GT" meant that I sat in the back of my classroom and read what ever I wanted to read, and didn't have to follow along in class when I didn't want to.

        November 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • mamabear

      The success of a gifted program really depends on how they decide who gets in. My son is now in a really good one that uses multiple criteria for getting in. The one he went to in our old school system was entirely based on the child's mastery test scores. The end result was that a number of the kids were just good test takers, not actually gifted and every single kid was white middle class in a completely mixed school system. My son was the only mixed race child. He told the gifted teacher in 4th grade that their system was racist because he knew several kids that were smarter than the kids in the program but they didn't include them even though they got good grades because English wasn't their first language. She got mad and suspended him from the program for a week.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • averagechic

      I know that studies show that people from low socioeconomic backgrounds supposedly perform worse. I happen to be one of those who has 3 children who have been raised in such a background. The majority of the people in the county where I live are like that as well. However, all 3 of my children are considered gifted. One of my children is even in Duke University's gifted and talented program. Do you know why? It has nothing to do with income, that is just a cop out for poor parenting. I have worked with my children their entire lives, and have instilled a love of learning and knowledge in them. I have made sure all 3 of them understand that education is THE most important thing in life, and I hold them accountable for their school work, as well as their decisions. I find it very offensive that you say it is the "wealthy kids" who are placed in a gifted program to keep them away from the "peasants". If people would just take the time to raise their children, instead of letting t.v, video games and computers do it for them, we might see an improvement in education. The responsibility for education falls on the parents. Period. This is coming from a "peasant".

      November 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
      • averagechic

        By the way, my children are 11, 10, and 6. They are in the 6th, 5th, and 1st grades.

        November 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  20. topdog

    my 1 year old cats are gifted. they both fetch and communicate better than 10 year old humans. i demand usa government to spend money and create gifted kitty programs

    November 14, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • LOLZ

      A dog with his own cats. Now I've seen it all.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  21. Mike

    Perhaps that's true in Trollville.

    November 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  22. Richard

    Gifts come in many varieties. My son was gifted with a fabulous imagination. How is imagination tested.

    November 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Mom

      lets not pretend ur snowflak is special

      November 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  23. Sharon

    I have twin sons who were identified as "Gifted and Talented" in kindergarten. Throughout elementary school, they were grade-A students and the pride of my life. But I noticed early on they lacked other important skill sets, such as maturity, insecurity and issues with handling the slightest criticism. By the time they reached high school, all signs of their gifted past was long gone. They did stay involved in music, choir and the marching band, but they never learned proper studying techniques and instead honed the fine art of "breezing" through classes just to get a passing grade. They would complete entire homework assignments on the bus ride to school. They are now 20 years old. One quit college after a year and threw away a full scholarship and the other is ready to quit college this year. Although gifted children think in a different spectrum than others, keeping them interested in anything is a struggle. And when they are faced with homework that can't be completed in a short amount of time, or studying for a test that they can't ace by simply scanning a few notes or lines in a book, their whole world seems to crash down on them, at least in my experience. Quite frankly I wish my kids were never identified as anything special when they were younger, because I think it created a false sense of "superiority" in their heads and now they are suffering the consequences.

    November 14, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Keeping at it

      My parents opted for a "rural lifestyle", and I attended small schools in bfnowhere miles from the small college where my father taught mathematics.

      "Gifted" in my case meant spending the first five years of my education sitting in the back of the classroom and reading every book I could find, and teaching myself math from second-hand textbooks I was given. They didn't know what else to do with me. I reached college with zero study habits, and it took me a while to adapt, though I could still generally skip lectures, read the text books, and get an A, as long as my absences were not an issue.

      Although I miss that rural lifestyle, I opted to raise my children where they had more educational opportunities, and could have a bit more structure to their education. I was lucky not to have given up; it would have been easy to.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • gah

      it's not just those identified as gifted that don't learn study habits. i could pass a high school test without studying at all and ace it if i did study, but my sister had to study if she wanted to pass and even then didn't learn how to study effectively. neither one of us were prepared for college, but it comes down to determination. if you want to pass, you adapt and teach yourself how to study. if you don't care or think it's too hard, then you don't adapt and quit.
      it would be nice if public schools taught study habits, but at the same time, public schools have far too much on their plate as it is.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  24. Marc

    Anything this woman says about gifted programs being needed, is an outright lie. EVERYONE, and I mean everyone, that was in the gifted program in my grammar school system, amounted to NOTHING special in life. None of us got rich, or famous, or became important scientists or anything. Gifted programs only put a focal point for people to bully and shun and ostracize.. Leave these kids alone, if they're going to thrive it's not going to be because of a special program, it'll be because of the values they're taught growing up and the skills they learn growing up, and their own desires and dreams. Nothing kills dreams quicker then putting a spotlight on someone so they feel like a performing monkey every day.

    November 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • hawkechik

      So, you base your knowledge on one school, in one town, in one state, in one country? Well done!

      November 14, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Mike

      Sounds like your grammar school program needed an overhaul.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • That's not how it works

      If you want to make the big bucks in this country, you need to make it to CEO. To make it to CEO, it is more important to be sociopathic than to be intellectually gifted.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
      • John

        If you were anywhere near being a CEO, I would appreciate your opinion, but something tells me you're not even close and are simply reacting out of misplaced envy.

        November 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
      • O RLY

        I've had several high level positions, some with F500 firms. I could be more of a ladder climber, but to what end? Ego? Power? Who gets to the end of their days, and says "I wish I would have put in more time at the office?" I got plenty of stock in the tech run-up in the late '90s at a young age, and I spent my time in the big leagues. I don't need anything, at this point, and what I want isn't measured on an org chart.

        I saw plenty of rental C-levels come and go, part of the package when taking start-ups public, and yes, my description of some of them as being sociopaths is spot on. There have been plenty of academic articles written to this very point; google them for yourself. No, I do not envy those people. I have something none of them will ever have. I have enough.

        November 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Oceanblue


      I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. That however speaks more to what your school environment was like than the gifted program. as a parent of two children in GT programs, I whole-heartedly support every point made here by the author.

      The GT program has benefited both my children – both advanced but opposite temperamentally. One who tends to be timid and underestimates herself learnt to take on more challenging asssignment. Beacuse of doing that repeatedly in GT/enrichment courses, it became ingrained so that by the time she reached middle school she herself was reaching out for the challenge level in homework etc. She wouldn't have done that without the GT program.

      The other one was thoroughly bored with his normal school work which was way too easy for him. The GT program saved him from forever associating school with boredom instead of learning. Neither of them has ever had anyone bully or tease them because of being in the GT program. I think the schools are being much more serious about dealing with those issues than they were one generation ago.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • fyre

      Similar results with my cohort. Those few of us that made it had extra support and pushing from home. Being in the gifted program definitely doesn't predict or guarantee future success.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Valerie

      In reply to Marc, I was IDed as gifted in kindergarten, was accepted for early college admissions when I was sixteen, and am not rich (especially not rich) or famous. I declined an invitation to join Mensa and, after having hit middle-age, wonder if I have retained any intelligence above average. I AM a go-to person at work, prized for my patience and being able to listen to anyone and solve problems. I do avian rescue. Sometimes the gifts we are born with evolve into something else. Life teaches us other values. I am sure the high school drop-out who became a mechanic is WAY better off financially than I am. The key is recognizing what your true gift is, and it may not be being the smartest person in the room.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • hmm

      Um, I was put into the gifted program when I was in the third grade and I'm now 22. Two of my former classmates are going to Cambridge, three to Ivy league schools, and the rest (including myself) to well respected colleges abroad.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  25. myeyedea

    What the author doesn't mention and should have is the myth that gifted children don't have other competing mental challenges.

    When I was in elementary school I was redirected to a gifted class because I was performing way beyond my classmates (and disrupting class because I was easily bored). Once I got to middle school, I was redirected to a less highly performing track and struggled with certain subjects all the way through college.

    It wasn't until my senior year of college that a professor who noticed the discrepancies between my course work and my test results suggested I should be tested for dyslexia. At that point I was too old for the test and I'd developed, unbeknownst to me, quite a repetoire of compensation skills to get me around certain difficulties which would have skewed the test results.

    In re-examining my school history, we think that the initial appearence of my giftedness was more evident because what I was being tested on and the work I was doing in class easily showed my intelligence (more picture based, visio-spatial, verbal testing); but in higher and higher grades where the course work and tests became more literary in nature and testing wasn't done as much one-on-one or with an instructor reading the questions outloud, it didn't look like I had the special level of intellect as first thought. I often wonder what course my life may have taken had someone suspected sooner that the expession of my intelligence was being interfered with because of a different mental challenge.

    November 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • TX Traveler

      My son was first recognized as gifted in Kindergarten. We knew he seemed like a bright little boy, but didn't realize he was any different than others until his teacher recommended testing (basically an IQ test). He breezed along until second grade when they started focusing on reading - he was great and memorizing and repeating things, but was a slow reader and poor speller. His teacher said "he was too smart to be reading at this level" so talked to us about having him tested for dyslexia. Sure enough he was (is) dyslexic and started classes at school. My husband and I learned lots about dyslexia and realized that we too are very likely dyslexic. Explains a lot about our own educational struggles and successes (I say successes, because there are certain things we pick up very quickly and differently than most people). Our son received dyslexia help through middle school, but because he was doing so well in his classes and wasn't using the dyslexia accommodations (remember, he's "gifted" too), the school district took him out of the learning disabilities program completely. He took all advanced classes in high school and did okay in them, but taking the SAT really drove home he needed more time on reading for tests. We had to jump through some hoops and retesting, but got him back in dyslexia program as a senior in high school. Now in college, he's getting help from their learning disabilities department (books scanned to listen to them, etc.) and so far he's doing fine. People with dyslexia very often also have very high IQs. People learn differently - it's great that the schools (and hopefully society) are finally recognizing that so all of us can reach our highest potential.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  26. The_Mick

    As someone who taught gifted-and-talented Chemistry and Physics at Maryland's largest high school from the 80's through the 00's I agree with every point made in the article. I would also point out, as a varsity sports coach, that many of our star athletes through the years were in my gifted classes. Healthy body = healthy mind in most cases!

    November 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  27. The Truth

    Myth 10 is the most critical to understand. If everyone was gifted or special then by default no one is. The chances of your child being a professional athelete, CEO or high government official are slim and none. He/she may excel in their school or community but may not come close to the elite when compared with all the kids in the world.

    This does not mean they should not try to be the best, they should. It means you the parent need to be grounded in reality to encourage reasonable expectations and more importantly be satisfied if you child did the best they can.

    November 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Mike

      Success is not necessarily defined as being part of the elite. Rising to one's potential manifests itself in many different ways.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  28. Marie

    This is the problem with giving labels to people. Letting children progress at their own pace is the answer. No need for analysis, no need for labels,or standardized tests. There shouldn't be more programs to waste tax dollars, the "gifted" kids should simply have to do the work at the pace that works best for them, and so should all the children. No special programs would be necessary. I know then we would have some kids still in high school at 25 and some would graduate at 8, but they would all leave with an education.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • The Truth

      I will happily pay taxes to support gifted children accelerate through school. I am not wasting my money on children who later become adults and are still in highschool. If your in highschool past 19, you better be paying for that education with your own money.

      And what kind of environment/culture are you teaching these kids, move at your own pace, its ok? Wrong, you move at the pace of society and you better keep up. When these kids become adults and look for jobs do you think any good employer will hire them, or at least for long? You don't move at the companies pace you will find yourself out of a job. Life skills are taught to us at a young age. A critical skill is the ability to keep up with others.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  29. Yar

    I was identified as a gifted child in the second grade. There were several programs in place for students that met said criteria. I did very poorly in school after moving several times and saw my fair share of trouble. Later an incident occurred in school and I was asked to take an I.Q. test to determine if I should be placed in a special needs program. My I.Q. was 143 when adjusted for age (17 at the time). I am in my 30's now and my gift has evolved in ways that I can not find a use for (my mind has a tendency of trying to convert all tangible objects into an equation). I fear one day this may lead to an obsession or type of mental instability. Does anyone else out there have a problem coping with their gift?

    November 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • aeprovost

      Lots of people who are exceptionally gifted have other issues they struggle with. I remember worrying about going insane as a child because my brain worked so differently from other kids. It was a relief to be identified as gifted because I already knew I was different. The problem with many gifted programs of our generation is they just sought to accelerate kids rather than to teach them how to learn, how to push their own limits, follow their own interests, and do something useful and fulfilling with their gifts. People think of Mensa as an elite group of snobs. I joined as an adult and found it to be an excellent group of actual intellectual peers. Not people who all have exceptional educations, but people who all think differently in some of the same ways I do, and who deal with many of the same social and emotional difficulties I've struggled with and am watching my kids struggle with. I often think "Gifted" is just another brand of crazy and Mensa is my support group.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
      • Jurd

        That sounds all too familiar to me. I was plucked from my 2nd grade class (which I was performing very poorly in and having problems with disrupting the class) and put with the "Special Needs" kids- i.e. those with Down's Syndrome or other forms of mental retardation*. The teacher there was quickly convinced that I was in the wrong place due to my writing skills, and had a school board psychologist do some testing. My IQ was in the 170s and I was pushed ahead to the 3rd grade in mid-year. I did a little better there, but still hated school, and continued to do so until my teens.
        In my early teens I developed a number of issues with major depression and anxiety, and most of it was centered around a fear that I was "going insane". I've consistently tested with lower IQs since- 146, 138, 125, etc.

        For what it's worth, even though I'm possibly losing my intelligence (or just arriving at the appropriate age for my mental development) my anxiety, depression and social awkwardness is slowly going away. In college I do well, but many of my teachers have suggested I get tested for Ausberger's syndrome or Autism. While I think it would be comforting to put an easy 'label' on why I feel so alienated by life, I don't know what other good it would do.

        *I'm going to get flamed for use of "retardation" but I'm not a fan of the Euphemism Treadmill. Calling a rose by any other name doesn't change what it is, nor does it insult it. A child with a mental disability doesn't suddenly "get better" if you start calling them something different, and this is a medical term still used in medicine and psychology without insult.

        November 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Natalie

      Yar, there are many in the same boat as you, myself included.
      I find it important to surround myself with equally intelligent but balanced people with whom I can have both stimulating conversations and a sense of normalcy. It's all about balance balance balance – I can't stress that enough. You're not and will not go nuts.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Ruby

      I suspect your experience is not that unusual. I know someone (measured IQ 162) who actually was placed in the Special Needs classes. Being bright, she learned quickly how to act like her peers, stumbling through silly little reading primers at school and reading Shakespeare at home. Due to her IQ and a high level of creativity she resented and rebelled against the very structured environment of school, and later became quite proficient at bluffing her way into good jobs for which she was not qualified because the challenge of doing them was stimulating.
      On the down side, having never worked hard in school, she often didn't stay on jobs for more than a couple years before looking for a new challenge. Schoolwork adapted to her abilities might have taught important lessons other than those in books, like putting forth your best, staying with a job and advancing in the corporate structure rather than zealously maintaining personal freedom, and other social values.
      Fortunately, self employment in a counseling office eventually satisfied her need for challenge and she pursued a college degree.

      But given all of this I do think some sort of special schooling is needed; classes that reach the student at their level rather than the norm, and also teach the gifted how their thinking differs from others and how to apply that to some productive end, as in your case.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
  30. 4bammy

    The preponderant myth however is interest in anything intellectual as projected by the state through its media propaganda organs. What the hype is with children is condescension, whereas later in adulthood the iron curtain is run into so far as achievement or figuring out the amazing suppression of information and intelligence really going down in broad daylight.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Jurd

      I think you are trying too hard to sound like you have a large vocabulary. Unfortunately you've drifted from the point of your post. Nice try, though! 🙂

      November 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
  31. Geoffrey

    Re: Myth 3 – I agree there is a need to catch kids before 3rd grade. I think it was in 2nd grade that i would read the assignment on the board, read the chapter, and be done with the day's work by 10 or 11 am. Bored, got into trouble (see Myth 5, though i maintained good grades) eventually sent to clean the cafeteria once my homework was done. Was disturbing and boring enough that one day i jumped out of a moving car on the way to school. At that point, my mom took me seriously, found out about my janitorial duties, and forged an agreement whereby once my homework was done, I could go to the library and read. Would like it if less kids in the future were subjected to such mind-numbing boredom or physical labors. Very hard for an 8 year old to sit still in a desk all day.

    Re: Myth 5, in addition to above, I did get in trouble via boredom and also because I'd challenge or correct my teachers when they misquoted or mistaught something I had just read. Good grades, not always in all teachers good graces.

    Re: Myth 6, was high school valedictorian without studying much (though I didn't participate in the first year of Gifted/Talented classes my H.S. offered; curiously, every one in there got a "B"). However, getting to college and seeing what people who had study habits could do, I realized how far behind I was in that regard. Never caught up. Still underachieving in many respects.

    Re: Myth 9: I strongly agree not all gifted kids are skilled at or comfortable with teaching their peers. It should not be assumed either that they will want to or be any good at it and definitely sholdn't be coerced into teaching others.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  32. DD

    My son is gifted in math & didn't receive any additional public schooling. I enriched him myself, and now he attends the best engineering college on scholarship. He is at the top of his class there. My advice, don't let ANY school "system" tell you what you child does or doesn't need. You, the parent, should be able to figure that out, if you care about your child's future.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • mrsowingsclass

      Can you explain some of the things you did to supplement or enrich your child's math education? I feel like my son is 'gifted' in math and science, but is not being challenged. He gets the same types of problems over and over and is getting bored with them. He gets the concepts fairly quickly and I would like him to learn the next levels, but I'm not a teacher. I visit math web sites, and now that he's old enough, his summer camps are more science based (his choice!). He loves science a lot too (he's getting a microscope and biology experiment book for his birthday this week). My husband is really good about explaining engineering concepts when he works on the car or fixes something in the house (we're both degreed in engineering). My son definitely breaks some of the myths mentioned above, but did not qualify for our local gifted program (much to our surprise!). I would like to know some of the things that worked for you and your son. Thanks!

      November 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  33. frenchjr25

    Thank you. I was a horrible student but I am gifted creatively. I hated classrooms and hated being around other students whom I knew didn't understand my way of thinking.

    I think one thing though that you overlooked was the number of gifted children with forms of Autism. Not all gifted kids have Autism, but many do. They tend to be ignored by researchers and social service organizations. Schools also do the same. People that are gifted and have autism have many of the same needs as those with autism that are not gifted. Research needs to be done on this.

    For myself, I know that I would have done much better on tests if they had been spoken or somehow physical in nature. Reading confuses me for some reason. Test taking was very hard. Luckily I grew up in the days before standardized testing so I did not have to go through the stress they would have caused me.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  34. arachnebleu

    My oldest daughter is extremely gifted. She started reading at age two and math soon followed. She consistently tested about 5 years beyond her grade level through high school. Our school system offered very little in the line of enrichment for such children. During middle school she had one hour a week of an enrichment program. Then nothing was provided until her senior year of high school, in which she was provided a half day a week enrichment. She was a National Merit Scholarship Winner and so attended university and achieved her undergrad degree.

    I think it is sad that our country has discovered the necessity for educating disabled children to the best of their ability in the public school setting, and rightfully so, but that they have not yet discovered the necessity for educating gifted children to the best of their ability. It seems to me that we have failed to realize that children in general are our greatest resource, and that when we neglect the gifted we waste a part of that resource. It's no wonder that our country is falling so far behind other countries academically, rather than leading the pack.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • fyre

      Did you try moving her up a few grade levels or having her take some classes with upperclassmen and the rest with her cohort? Personally, I would have benefited from a shortened stay in school rather than being placed into the gifted program. Had a great time in undergrad and grad school, but still bitter over wasting 12 years of my life in our school system.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Christine

      "I think it is sad that our country has discovered the necessity for educating disabled children to the best of their ability in the public school setting..."

      That is actually not true. They are NOT required to provide the BEST possible educational outcome, they just have to show that the child is making measurable progress. Google the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and "free, appropriate public education" (FAPE). A district might find, for example, that a disabled child makes acceptable progress in a regular classroom for most work, with some extra help in reading and additional time on tests, even though he might achieve more in a special education classroom with fewer students. There is a individual planning process that lays out exactly what services the district needs to provide, and a review process to check progress and adjust the plan to make sure the student keeps learning. A parent who wants the BEST outcome for their disabled child often has to take the initiative to do extra work with the child at home or pay for private instruction elsewhere, much like a parent who wants the best possible education for their gifted child.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  35. serameteis

    I was diagnosed with gifteditis in the late 70's. MTV cured it.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  36. Scuromondo

    All she did was express an opinion, and then offer examples and rationale which support it. You also expressed an opinion, but all you offered was an insult.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  37. Mike

    I've been around gifted children all of my life and now teach them and never have I once heard any of these "myths" did you just make these up to put an article out? Wow what poor journalism.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Tj

      You are very lucky then because there are many schools and teachers that do not believe giftedness exists. Common core standards do not acknowledge giftedness either.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • frenchjr25

      It's one thing to work with gifted kids in your individual situations. BUT this article speaks to a vast majority of situations. To assume that life everywhere is exactly the same as you have experienced is a bit narcissistic.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Mary

      Seriously? You've been around gifted kids all your life and don't agree with even a single one of these myths? And is that how you've always constructed sentences, being around "gifted kids" and all? Wow. Glad my gifted kid was never around you.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • John

      You've clearly never been around gifted children because your assertion about this article is categorically ridiculous.

      November 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Jurd

      I'm not buying it either, but in Mike's defense, Myth #10 didn't have to be stated two decades ago. I interact with a lot of people of different age groups, (I'm 38) and I've noticed that very close to 100% of all people age 30 and younger seem to have grown up being told that they were gifted, brilliant, exceptional, etc. Some of them are, but the rest of them (in my opinion) are mostly average, if not a little handicapped by thinking that they're performing "well enough" in work or academic activities when they could do better.

      This same proclivity drops off very sharply when you examine people 30 and up. I'm not sure if it is the whole "GenY/Snowflake" syndrome, or if those who are 30 and up have 'grown out' of such nonsense, and those who are younger just need some more reality to shake it out of them.

      November 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  38. It's a challenge

    My school system tracked students in X,Y or Z lanes with X being the most advanced classes. My parents discovered I had been misclassified into the Y track, but I, in all my 12 year old wisdom, did not want to be put in the X track because that would mean more homework, right? So led off my being extremely bored the rest of my middle and high school years to the point I frequently cut classes and ended up dropping out of school . When I went to get my GED before college, the admin. didn't want to let me leave after the test, they thought I hadn't finished because I completed it so quickly. My point is, schools need to challenge students and parents need to make sure their kids are getting the education they need. I know my daughter's first principal thought I was a PITA, but I wasn't going to let my daughter languish in the school system like I had. We actually changed schools a couple of times because of poor teachers, not a decision I took lightly, but it paid off with a student who was challenged and interested in what she was learning in her classes as well as the extracurricular college classes she took while in high school. At 30+ she still proudly claims her nerd status.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • BaltoPaul

      I had a similar experience.

      I attended a well-run middle school that grouped students by ability, and I excelled. I then went to a high school that did not track students by ability, and while I excelled in optional courses like physics, the mandatory courses were taught at a level so below my ability that I took to reading during class, and managed to average my "A" tests and "D" for class participation into a "C" grade in most of them. Fortunately, I was able to work the system and graduated early.

      There's no way anyone will convince me that ability tracking is not useful for gifted students.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  39. Byron

    When I was a student there was no attempt made to identify gifted students, so I either stared out the window while the others struggled over something that I had already learned, or I was an unofficial student teacher. At least as a student teacher I wasn't as bored.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • frenchjr25

      In the community I grew up in if you were poor there was no chance you would end up in the gifted program. It was made up of only kids from middle class and wealthy families.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  40. Stephanie

    I was a child of "gifted programs" starting in Kindergarten (I would go to the 1st-2nd grade classroom and write while my classmates were being read to on the carpet) going through high school graduation, and I can honestly say I benefited SO much from those years. I wish all students could have been taught the way my classmates and I were.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  41. Sparky

    I was placed in a gifted program and felt pretty good about myself. I learned later on that my mother was sleeping with the administrator responsible for putting me there. Turned out I wasn't gifted at all, but I benefitted from the program anyway. Good times.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  42. L Williams

    I was labled as a "gifted" student when I was in the 2nd grade for excelling in reading and creative arts. At that time the school district here in Syracuse did offer a program where students like myself were bussed once a week to a different building where we took advance classes in math, writing, performance arts, and computer skills. I really enjoyed having a place where I was able to stretch my wings and really challange myself to do more then the regular classroom curriculum. My school then also allowed me to have reading and math sessions in class with whatever level I was performing at at that time. I was sad to see this program leave the SCSD years ago as I now have a child in elementary school who is also excelling beyond her grade level and her teacher has had to take it upon herself to provide her the materials to continue to challange her. I would really like to see these gifted programs come back to our schools.

    November 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  43. fred

    I'm gifted. Last night on the third shift I got every single drive through order correct....extra ketchup and everything!!

    November 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Tj

      Gifted doesn't mean superior. Trust me, if you were gifted, life would be more challenging for you. Relax, nobody is saying they are better than you.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
      • Bleah

        Emm..he wasn't being serious. It was a joke.

        November 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
      • Barney

        Fred's a gifted comedian. You're the slow one.

        November 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  44. Nicole

    I was classified as a gifted student as well. My parents didn't push for it, I was just tested, for reasons unbeknownst to me. I'm one of those kids who likes to 'do their own thing', and I'm still doing it. College isn't my favorite, and I still have really poor study habits, and I am a terrible procrastinator. But, I tutor at my college, and other students think I'm really 'intelligent'. A lot of that superiority complex mentally is a result of other people. I never thought I was better than everyone, but some people treat you that way, and others judge you because they think you feel that way. I'm 26, and these things still happen. I had some really GREAT gifted teachers though, and I'm studying to become one myself. I realize that gifted students do need special attention, because they are often neglected, since sometimes people assume they know everything. I didn't really get any information about college when I was in high-school, and neither of my parents went to college either. So I got there and didn't really know what I was doing, and I did it all wrong, and burnt myself out. So now I'm back at it, and hopefully I'll be able to help other student like myself. Tutoring made me realize that I actually DO like teaching, and it really does make a difference in a person's life. I think the gifted program is necessary, especially in poor performing Louisiana schools, where discipline issues often get in the way of learning.

    November 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  45. lasermetrologist

    I agree with some of the content and responses about helping gifted children learn to use their abilities for productive pursuits. I was labeled as "gifted" as a child, but for me being "gifted" was more like being "cursed". Because you were supposedly "gifted" everyone expected much more of you. I didn't know how articulate the thoughts and feelings I had that were beyond the normal levels for kids my age at that time and usually resorted to mischief to vent my frustrations. I also had no practical instruction about how take my talents and turn them into something useful. It wasn't until high school that a fantastic industrial arts teacher got me involved in applying mathematics and materials science to manufacturing challenges and really started motivating me. I am so thankful for that man.

    November 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • HH

      Thank you. I was expected to "be a leader" and be a "peer tutor." Why do introverted kids need to be "fixed"?? Teaching the kids is the teacher's job, not mine. I didn't dislike my classmates, but I had little in common with them, and was bullied by many of them. All I wanted was to be left alone to do my work, and tried not to be noticed.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  46. Quori

    I was in a "gifted" program and still have all the same classifications to this day. I am also now classified as being on the "spectrum" for a couple different learning issues.

    Myth Number 1: Children that ARE gifted will end up as rich, powerful, and successful individuals; captains of industry!
    Reality: You end up as a systems or web developer in Corporate America because plain and long ago got tired of being told to sit down and shut up while you waited for everyone else to catch up to you because they don't "get it" or comprehend it, and just yell at you that you are talking down to them and impatient.

    Yes, I am impatient, because you offer as much mental capacity as a caterpillar compared to me; yet because you have a degree from you are an Executive and I am not.

    Am I bitter, a little. Just found more important things to focus on is all.

    November 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Marie

      Man, you're really screwed up. Pity you turned out that way, you had so much potential.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • BaltoPaul

      Sounds like you are confusing "smarter than average" with "gifted."

      November 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  47. jvance

    My parents though I was gifted. It turned out I was just a weird-o. Oh, well, you can't have everything.

    November 14, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Valerie

      Everyone has a special gift. If you were considered weird, that probably translates to a gift of creativity.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  48. Katie

    I would have to agree with most of this article. I am a senior in high school and have been placed in "gifted" programs since I was in the 5th grade. I know that if I wasn't pushed then I wouldn't have pushed myself. I work so well under pressure, I don't know how to not procrastinate. I also agree with myth number 9. It is difficult and frustrating for me to try and tutor others because I don't understand why they don't understand. This is especially true in math, but it helps me try to think in a different way. I guess it is beneficial, but it's difficult!

    November 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  49. Bob

    All children are gifted, and above average.

    November 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • t3chsupport

      If they were all above average... then they would, by definition, be average.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
      • BaltoPaul

        No, he lives in Lake Wobegon, where those rules do not apply.

        November 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • asdrel

      That contradicts the very definition of "average" Only half of children (or adults for that matter) can be above average; the other half are below average. If all children seem to excel in one area or another that simply means that there is a high level to the average.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
      • Jim in PA

        And thus, you have sapped all of the humor out of the joke...

        November 14, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
      • BigB

        You make the false assumption that the definition "average" is a single point, with half above and half below. Average is meant to encapsulate a range of a bell curve, with some above and some below.

        November 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
      • Bob

        Not so. Half above and half below is the median NOT the average.

        November 14, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
      • BaltoPaul

        Congratulations. You have proven that you are average. Everyone who is above average got the joke.

        November 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Al

      In Lake Wobegon. : )

      November 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
      • hpngalloway

        Correct response 🙂

        November 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • sam

      What kind of sick people are giving away children as gifts? I would never do something so insane. At least not without including a gift receipt.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
      • BaltoPaul

        If you had any, you'd know why people want to give them away as gifts.

        November 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      Judging from the fact that so few people got your joke, I would argue that all people are below average.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
      • JimWtrs


        November 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Lenny

      Yay!!! Everyone gets a trophy!!!

      November 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  50. Lea

    I see things a bit differently. We are in an age where if you don't excel at something, there must be something wrong with you. Or if you do excel at something that is not deemed important, than it really doesn't count. I just tell my kids to do the best they can and to enjoy life. I say keep it simple and love them and support their interests and strengths and let them know that we all have weaknesses.

    November 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  51. Sheila

    I was a "gifted" kid before there were programs for "gifted" kids. I have an IQ over 150, I am a Mensa member, I was reading by age 4, I have an almost idetic memory – these are things that are recognized as "gifted." But I know the worst thing anyone did for me in school was failing to recognize that I had different skills and abilities than others, and leaving me alone in the regular classes. It was too easy. I didn't learn to push myself, I didn't learn to really work. Challenge your "gifted" kid to reach beyond what they find easy, push them, make things harder. Skating along early in life is no help later in life.

    November 14, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • uysfl

      In your omnipotent self glorification you must have forgotten about beginning sentences with conjunctions and proper punctuation.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
      • Mzaz


        November 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
      • JimWtrs

        I'm not sure how she said she's omnipotent....maybe you're a dummy trying to sound smart using words that don't make sense but sound big because you're jealous of her IQ...Probably thats it.

        November 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
      • ASD


        November 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
      • JimWtrs

        Also, attacking someone's punctuation is something a dummy would do. Most geniuses don't bother being good at the things that take someone like you years to learn.

        November 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
      • Buck


        November 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
      • languagerules?

        Try to forget what your middle school teacher taught you about starting sentences with "and" or "but". Most writers ignore the "rules" that 13 year-olds don't know how or when to break.

        November 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
      • Nathan

        Your comments betray how un-gifted you are. As a father of a gifted kid, I know exactly what Sheila has written, learn to be kind to others.

        November 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
      • BaltoPaul

        Most of the professional writers on CNN begin sentences with "but" ... so "when in Rome" ...

        November 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
      • uysfl

        To Mr. Jim: If you put yourself out there you open yourself up for critique especially when bragging about your intelligence without the use of grammar or spell check. You can call me intelligent or ignorant; I have certainly been party to both in my life. However, the one thing I can do is spell eidetic correctly without the use of photographic memories. Mzaz thanks for the smile 🙂

        November 14, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • snowdogg

      "In general, the assumption is that gifted students will succeed regardless of the quality of the education they receive. This is simply not true. Gifted students require special services and programs to ensure the growth rather than the loss of their outstanding abilities."

      No programs for my "gifted" children, but the "learning disadvantaged" got so MUCH special help [including one-on-one classroom aides] – special education spending took up fully 1/3 of our local school budget.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Maya

      "Idetic", really? And you never learned to spell?

      November 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
      • Buck


        November 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • ASD


      November 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
      • shootmyownfood

        and achieve a certain level. Any can take the test; not all will succeed.

        November 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Rob

      Misspelled eidetic, too.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
      • Buck


        November 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
      • JimWtrs

        Hey.....hey.....everybody correcting people's likes you. Google can do what you do. Did it ever occur to you that they may not care to get the spelling right? I would sleep just fine at night without your corrective comments on spelling and punctuation and grammer. If you understand the comment, then just answer. Don't sound like a complete dummy with nothing to say and correct spelling and grammer.

        November 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • sjj668

        No, Buck, it's not lame. Poor spelling like poor grammar is a sign of sloppiness or laziness, as if you can't be bothered to do a job right. If you wish to pass yourself off as an above-average intellect then at least do the job convincingly.

        November 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
      • JimWtrs

        An above average intellect can still be sloppy and lazy. That doesn't make them not above average or even genius. Just lazy.

        November 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  52. Maya

    Nothing makes me want to vomit quite like a smug parent declaring that his or her child is "gifted." If even a quarter of the parents who say that were right, you'd constantly be bumping into geniuses on the street. Of course, if the kid doesn't do well in school, they can always say he has ADHD or blame it on the teachers. They'll do anything to avoid admitting that their spawn are merely average.

    Close runners-up on the vomit scale are people who brag to strangers online about thrir high IQ. Just because you took some online test that said that you have an IQ of 165, that doesn't make it so.

    November 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • candiland

      I didn't choose for my children to be in gifted classes... the system did. Why the "vomit" and hatred? My daughter is twelve and working on writing her fourth novel, and she writes better than the majority of "authors" that are published today. She also does artwork that is on high school and college level. I'm not bragging.... these are simply facts. Why can't some children excel in certain areas without others taking it personally? It makes me wonder......

      November 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
      • ASD

        That's your opinion. of course you will praise you child. to say their writing is better is an unfair and unjustified statement.

        November 14, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • Marie

        Ewwww. People like you make it too hard for your kids and they wind up being hooked on drugs and never doing well because they can't live up to your unrealistic expectations. Take it easy on the poor kid, she's 12.

        November 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • snowdogg

      Sounds like you and your "spawn" are not gifted and cannot adjust to being average.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Buck

      Your inane commentary is vomit inducing.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Jesus Christ Superstar

      I'm confused, Maya. Are you saying that teachers give their students ADHD? Because I'm pretty sure it's something you're born with. But I don't think you have it, Maya, because ADHD doesn't make you want to vomit on everyone you feel is better than you.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      Hey Maya – It's time to go pick your kid up from detention.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
      • JimWtrs


        November 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Jennifer

      Genius IQ = 141+
      Gifted IQ = 131+
      Somewhat gifted 121-130
      There are a lot more semi-gifted and gifted kids than geniuses.
      Note: There's more than one scale - but this seems to be the range that's more widely used.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • JimWtrs

      Maya a 165 on an online IQ test is definitely better than a 135 on the same test. And a 135 is better than a 100 score. Is your brain processing what I'm saying? If you take the same test and score 100, guess what? You're dumber than someone who scored 165! Just learn to deal with it.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • BaltoPaul

      One of my kids is gifted, and probably also has ADHD. He can handle math that is several grades above his level, but struggles with penmanship because he hasn't learned to move the pencil fast enough to keep up with his thoughts. He ends up trying to solve long division problems "in his head" rather than writing each step. Kids two grades ahead of him have trouble doing the same problems with paper and pencil that he can solve in his head.

      His teacher this year is working with him to address his writing problems, whereas his previous teacher wanted to hold him back a grade because she could not read his writing. Yes, teachers can be part of the problem. Yes, students can be gifted in some areas and have learning disabilities in others.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • RSwasinT&G

      I'm not sure I understand how hating on other people for sharing their personal experiences helps to further the US educational system or help to progress our civilization as a whole, but hey if it makes you feel better, vomit away.

      I, for one, welcome our new T&G overlords...kidding. But I do welcome an environment of open table discussions and brainstorming (skills I first learned in T&G, by the way) for any way to make the world a better place, be that in terms of educating our youth or otherwise.

      Long winded comment to follow, sorry, I never did learn how to edit my own verbosity. It's a disease I have.

      I was in one of these programs. I am not saying this to brag or insult anyone who was not. Merely stating a fact and to illustrate my personal experience. I do NOT think I am BETTER than anyone else in my class, and I doubt the majority of people that were labeled gifted feel that way either, but I do think the label gifted makes other parents and peers resentful. I understand the stigma, but it does not make these kids any less in need of special education than those children labeled with a learning "disability." "Gifted" kids are disabled in the sense of an inability to work at a slower pace because that is the pace the class is going just as much as "disabled" kids are only "disabled" in the sense that they need more assistance to reach the learning goals in the time allotted. No one is better or worse than another, just working on different levels and learning at different speeds.

      There is every need to separate kids for certain activities, just as you separate different age groups. Age does not determine ability, and yet we classify grades in school using that codifier. I am not suggesting any sort of segregation to elevate or subjugate any particular group, I just think all parties can benefit from tailored teaching, as opposed to all being forced to try to learn at what is deemed the median level for their age group. Shouldn't we be concerned about bettering our children's educational opportunities instead of worrying about some sort of learning level "class" warfare? Granted the way our educational system is currently run is not exactly a utopian ideal, but working toward betterment for all should be our focus, in my opinion. And customization usually yields that objective.

      Personal anecdote: In first grade, we had reading groups for different reading levels, but they took place in the same classroom while the rest of the class did another assignment. I just moved to this school, so was placed in the blue group with the majority of the class, but the girl who lived across the street from me was in a group all by herself. My little person brain understood that to mean she was being punished, and I did not want to be punished, so I thought I had to read like the rest of the group. So when it was my turn to read aloud, I would pretend to stammer and stutter through the words, especially ones the other kids seemed to have trouble pronouncing. I was only 5, I didn't know any better. It didn't last long, since they start standardize testing you at the end of first grade. And luckily, I realized that just because I was not the same as other kids in some aspects, it did not mean I was an outcast. That doesn't happen until high school, haha. But things could have gone differently if I didn't have a peer group of "honors" and T&G kids who were going through the same things, just as I am sure kids of all learning levels have and/or need. Growing up is tough, but its even tougher without empathy and support and shared experience. Learning to the best of your ability, whatever your ability is, is a great goal that should not be hindered by a stunted educational system or a detrimental need for political correctness.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  53. Laini

    I understand the need for asistance with children who are labeled as gifted. I was labeled as such when I was in elementary school, though there were no programs in my school. I also think we need to think about having more programs to help those that are struggling (but not developmentally disabled) to get up to the standard goals. They have programs for "special ed" and "gifted" students, but what about those that are struggling that don't match anything? I know that peer tutoring for my daughter has been a blessing. It is usually someone a few grades higher, and she does not feel ashamed for not knowing all the answers. When she is in class she feels discouraged and thinks she is stupid (her words) and tends to give up when she can't figure it out on her own. When she has the peer tutors, she feels like she has a friend that just wants to help and she feels much better.

    November 14, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  54. Dana

    I for one was not gifted. But I believe that we can all be gifted in certain aspects within our own lives.

    November 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  55. Nathan Young

    Telling a child he is gifted is a gateway to having him think he is superior to other people. We all know that most upper-middle/ upper class adults were in the "gifted" programs in school because their upper-middle/upper class parents got them it. It's one of many question-begging labels that wealthy (mostly white and Asian but some black) people use to ensure their children maintain their status in society above the rabble.

    November 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Sheila

      I know that gifted programs in my community are freakin' hard, demanding classes, and if children are not intellectually gifted, they can't keep up. Children with exceptional abilities belong in classes with harder work and stricter standards. They also need to be challenged to think outside the box – and the regular classroom is a box, especially with all the "teach to the test" garbage that goes on today. Test children early. If they have special needs – and being gifted is a special need just like being talented in sports or untalented in reading – find a way to support it.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
      • Dksv

        I agree. Some students definitely need a more rigorous cirriculm. My child was designated at gifted in junior high after scoring particularly well on state mandated standardized tests. Getting into the program was such a relief for him. He was almost always bored in class and complained he was never challenged. His particular strength is Math, but as a HS junior all his major subjects are honors or AP classes and is doing college level work. Getting into the program was a "light bulb" moment for him. He understood why he felt so different from the kids in the regular classes. Being in the program has made him feel there is a place for him and he's become more mature and a much better student because of it.

        November 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  56. Melanie

    If gifted students were able to guide and direct their own lives then we wouldn't have so many in prison. Cognitive intelligence can't make up for emotional maturity and things like self-control, which is shy gifted students should not be left to flounder in educational apathy.

    November 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • lxNay

      It is an urban legend that prisoners tend to be more intelligent than the rest of us. The opposite is true, with the average IQ of inmates being lower than the general population. I am not sure who started this rumor, but I wish they would stop it.

      November 14, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  57. Homer Simpson

    And how exactly are you enlightening us?

    November 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  58. gatecrasher1

    I too am gifted- for example, by the time I got to kindergarten, I had the reading and language skills of most 8th graders.

    But my parents made the fatal mistake of sending me to a Catholic school, where the teachers were old, grouchy and could care less. I went to school and was bored every day through at least 5th grade. So I would finish my assignments quickly- then get in trouble for doodling, walking around the classroom, reading other books.

    My ancient 3rd grade teacher GAVE UP on me mid year and put me in the back of the classroom in my own "cubicle" of three flat top desks against the wall in an L shape. "I can't teach your son anything more" she told my parents. Why they did not pull me from that school in disgust and horror, I'll never know. So I just sat back there, took in class when I needed to, read a bunch of books, and doodled.

    I belonged in libraries and museums with a tutor, not in a classroom with 30 other kids. But there was no way that my parents could have afforded that.

    Math came a little harder to me, and I never really grasped advanced algebra- but I am in accounting today and doing fine.

    November 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Maya

      People who are actually gifted don't feel the need to go on the internet to tell strangers how gifted they are.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
      • Dekortage

        Just because someone is gifted does not make them humble, or vice versa.


        November 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
      • Bret

        Unfortunately, people who propagate stereotypes do love to go on-line and tell people about it.

        November 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
      • Sheila

        If we're posting on a blog about how gifted children are treated, how can we have any cred at all if we don't point out that we fall into the category being discussed? I'm fine admitting I have no sports skills, can't sing, and am a lousy housekeeper. I do, however, have a strong memory and a high IQ. I bet you have qualifications in life I can only dream of. We're "intellectually gifted", not "more special than you"

        November 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
      • Enid

        I agree with you Maya. My son is academically "diagnosed" as gifted. And the last thing in the world that he wants to do, is to associate himself with the gifted group. Why? Been gifted it doesn't raise your social or academic levels or put you in a more prestige place in society. He is my blessing and would never regret having him, but dealing with a gifted kid is not easy...not everybody understand them, they are very lonely, and they are always in the search to find their place in society because it sucks to feel different. Yes, they can understand life in a very special and advance ways, they can learn very fast...but in their own ways, at their own speed, and learn what they want...not what a teacher or a program tell them.

        Sorry, but been able to read in kindergarden doesn't make you a gifted person. You actually have to go through a very painful (emotionally speaking) evaluation every single school year, then convince your self that you are different...not fun...

        Another, thing...if you are not gifted or have a gifted kid, do not give your opinion...they read these forums, and it hurt. Please, this is very sensitive, if you don't have anything to say that will help, don't say it.


        November 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
      • Enid more thing...a high IQ has absolutely nothing to do with been gifted. About the author, she clearly described my journey of 15 years with a gifted child...he is my gift, but it is not easy...

        November 14, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Sumo

      So let me get this straight:

      In Kindergarden, you were at the 8th grade level.
      Most "gifted" students are expected to master algebra by the 8th grade.
      Yet, despite being "gifted", you still struggle with algebra as an adult and ended up being a lowly accountant.

      Your own story tells me that you aren't anywhere near as "gifted" as you think you are...

      November 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
      • shootmyownfood

        One may be "gifted" in a single area, such as language arts, music, sports, etc. Having been placed in the gifted student category at an early age, I can say that I excelled in many things, but found math boring and useless (for the most part.) Geometry was the most useful; I am a great pool player! Not really where one wants one's gifted children to end up, but there you have it.

        November 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
      • Homer Simpson

        "Most "gifted" students are expected to master algebra by the 8th grade"
        Was that tongue in cheek or were you serious? Algebra started in secondary (7th grade) as standard curriculum in most Asian schools...

        November 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
      • Homer Simpson

        By your standard I think people like Mozart will need to first pass an Algebra test before being recognized

        November 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
      • BaltoPaul

        You didn't get it straight. He stated that he had reading and language levels at 8th grade ability in kindergarten, but that math was difficult for him. Some people struggle with math. Other people struggle with reading comprehension.

        November 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Buck

      It's "couldn't care less." Your welcome.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
      • Buckfixer

        It's YOU'RE (contraction for "you are") welcome. You're welcome

        November 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • IHateQantas

      I am also Gifted. I was put in advanced 8th grade math when I was a senior.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  59. mamabear

    Honestly one of the biggest problems is the word gifted. It is very loaded. I think they should just offer enrichment programs for kids who need a greater challenge and allow children who need to move faster to do so. After years of struggling in several different standard public schools, we finally got my son into a local magnet school. Honestly I don't think he would have had much chance of graduating from highschool if we hadn't. He probably would have dropped out eventually. It was just too frustrating to be forced to go over the same material over and over even though he had mastered it almost immediately. Now he is able to move very quickly at his school. He is in 7th grade but does 9th grade math and language arts, takes advanced science and engineering and is in a very strong enrichment program. He is finally happy and working to his proper potential. His school takes kids by lottery and many of them come in with very low test scores. Within two years of being there they have some of the highest scores in the state. Why? Because every single teacher there is smart and caring and they work with the kids at each kid's level. It's like an oasis in a completely broken system. The goal should be to bring out the best in every child, not to force them all to some middle ground.

    November 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Mary

      Above poster wrote: "The goal should be to bring out the best in every child, not to force them all to some middle ground."


      November 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  60. anonymous

    I was in a 'gifted' program in grades 4,5, 7, and 8. It was much better. During the break (6th), I felt so bored and useless in all of my classes. I never had to pay attention or put forth any effort. That was a wasted year that could have been enhanced by better education.
    The program I was in was supposedly for the top 1% of students, but it was good because we didn't have to teach towards standardized tests (one of the entry requirements was to be in the 99th percentile in all standardized tests) We, for example, read novels that would normally not been read at that age. Anna Karenina was a popular one for 5th grade.
    The author makes a great point about tutoring other students–I've been encouraged to do this my whole life, and I think I have not made much of a difference. I am not good at teaching others.

    November 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  61. fred

    So from the many posts from the self-proclaimed "gifted" and 150+ IQ guy, I surmize that being gifted means one then graduates to adulthood where you then sit in your Mom's basement and post to the internet during the middle of the day. Could you not find a job or is your job so easy you finished it this morning at 0900 and are goofing off the rest of your day? LOL

    November 14, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Homer Simpson

      Most of them can probably multi-task working and goofing off at the same time while at work, can't you?

      November 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
      • fred

        I thought with the super smart IQ they would be doing great things like curing cancer not wasting thier time trolling.

        November 14, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Jesus Christ Superstar

      Ummm, so if you have an IQ above 150, you're not allowed to have a job where you may have time off in the middle of the afternoon? So I guess people with IQ's above 150 don't take midday lunch breaks to read about education on a news site? Or people with an IQ above 150 can't possibly work a job that ends at 330. No, everyone with an IQ above 150 MUST work a job with no lunch break and you MUST be in the middle of your day at 4 o'clock...

      November 14, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Tj

      Exactly why all kids need appropriate educations –so they can put their abilities to good use.

      November 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Work is for stupid people

      I don't work. I get paid to solve problems other people can't solve.

      Some days I spend a couple hours screwing around on the internet. Other days might involve working for twenty hours straight. Every now and then I come up with something that saves my company several times my annual salary, so they are quite happy to let me set my own hours, and I don't have a "manager" or a job description.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  62. Jorge

    "Gifted" never meant a damn thing unless the student was coming up in an educational system that was worth a cr@p. I could always score 135+ on I.Q. tests in a noisy room with a hangover, yet I remember more than a few of my teachers telling us to shut up in a boring, stuffy classroom so that they could gossip with another teacher in the classroom doorway. The greatest obstacles smart kids face are the mediocre unprofessionalism of some teachers and gravy-train, job-security school boards run by politician wannabes.

    November 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  63. Sandi

    I found this article interesting. My daughter was identified as gifted in kindergarten. She is 12 now, and school has been a struggle for her, and she was taken out of gifted classes. She is unorganized, doesn't turn assignments in on time, does her work with very little thought or effort, and most days will lose her pencil somehow while she is doing homework.

    November 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • attaleila

      You just described my son – have you had your daughter tested for ADHD? Our son was diagnosed with it and it has made a world of difference for him....really practical things that we've put in place at school and home.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Loree

      Gifted does not mean organized. I was not identified as a gifted student but my son has been. We are one in the same and organizational skills have nothing to do witgh intellgence. You should have your child tested for other 'disorders' for lack of a better term. My godson is on the austic spectrum and has ADHD and is gifted. Prior to being tested his mother thought he was just really good at math completely unorganized and lazy when it came to any physicall activities. Now, she has different insight and the boy is thriving.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Anne

      Your daughter may be a visual spatial learner. There are many good resources on the internet where you might identify if this is the case with your daughter. Linda Kreger Silverman websites would be a good place to start.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Enid


      I feel your pain. I've been in this ordeal for the past 15 years, with my son. Believe me, I don't regret any moment that he is in my life, but it is no easy. My opinion, let your kid be her self. Give her the space for her to find her place in life, but make sure that she understand that you are there for her 24/7/365 All The Time, No Matter What! So far, it has been very difficult, but one thing for sure, every time that he gets very frustrated and lost he looks to his side and he finds me. not easy...

      November 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Kate

      Sandi, your daughter sounds just like me at that age. I was undiagnosed ADHD and on the autistic spectrum, but in the late 80s / early 90s, people weren't on the lookout for how those manifested in girls. Get her tested if you can, try not to get frustrated with her shortcomings, and go to bat when you have to. In the end, I grew up fine and she will too.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  64. Bogshart

    The gifted are a little to thinly dispursed to be putting to much effort into it. During my entire schooling I only met 2 gifted people and one was a teacher. The rest were just there. Not to say that others didn't have specialized innate abilities unique to themselves, but if they did, it sure wasn't apparent. Genius is wasted everyday with or without special programs for certain persons. So there is no reason to overly pursue an idea with limited advantages.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Homer Simpson

      @BogShart: "During my entire schooling I only met 2 gifted people and one was a teacher." You're generalizing based on your own experience, a single data point. Someone from MIT can also claim the opposite by saying that almost everyone he/she meets is a genius

      November 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  65. TheGiftedOne

    I graduated from a ranked engineering program with a 3.06 gpa...This is with never doing homework, skipping class, and never buying books. I was an underachiever simply because I wanted a challege which normal schooling never provided. Gifted students can be best identified at early ages simply because they have not had time to inherent bad behaviors and bad habbits. Young children act natrually in accordance to thier intellegance level rather than the actions of conformed scociety. This can be used to identify gifted students from the pack. Gifted students will alter and exsplore the world around them. Wether it be music, numbers, building, or lieing, gifted students are natrually apted to manuipulate. Identifying this will aid our childern in the future. The smartest children on earth, will lie at the youngest age.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • lkjhgfdsa

      Yes. I bet you walked up hill in the snow without shoes, to school everyday because you have exceptionally calloused feet also, huh? How is the 15$ a hour job working out with all the school loans?

      November 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • HA!

      TheGiftedOne? With only a measly 3.06? Ha! I went to school with plenty of people that skipped class and didn't do homework that had close to a 4.0 at a top ten engineering school. Perhaps you need to change your handle to TheArrogantOne

      November 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • Homer Simpson

        The top students don't rely on the lectures to learn the materials, so in that aspect it is not surprising. And it is also not surprising that they didn't quite get to the 4.0 level without doing homeworks because homeworks and projects usually account for anywhere from 20% to 50% of course grades. You probably can't even pass if all you do is ace the exams.

        November 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Homer Simpson

      I graduated w/ a few 4.0 students from a top tier eng school. It takes them less time to comprehend and master ideas than others, and therefore they don't need to grind the books. It almost appeared that they never need to spend time studying.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  66. KTS

    Like many parents I am sick to the back teeth hearing about so called 'gifted' children. it is the most overused word in education. So these parents would like extra resources directed to these kids at the expense of everyone else, who would be left on the scrap heap of education? In retrospect I was 'gifted' having an IQ of 150+, however I went to public school, a state college and post grad school (MD MSc MPH) and turned out fine. It is grossly unfair and frankly discrimination for these kids and their parents to have additional resources directed to their education while the majority have inadequate funding. If your child is 'gifted' spend a little time and money on your own child, and they will do OK. 'Gifted' give me a break.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'So these parents would like extra resources directed to these kids at the expense of everyone else, who would be left on the scrap heap of education?'

      What an extraordinary claim.
      How does directing attention to gifted kids equal anyone being 'left on the scrap heap of education'?

      November 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • lkjhgfdsa

        Just like the "no child left behind" crap. Lets hold everyone one back because of the handful of kids that want to mess around and not learn...

        November 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      What "extra" resources? From what I see it is merely a more advanced track with more material piled on. Is it better for kids to sit in a class doing nothing when they are so far ahead of their peers? Now you have bored, potentially disruptive kids working well below their capability... That makes sense.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • J

      Actually most of the funding goes to the kids at the lowest end of the spectrum. Under your theory all programs to help them should also be scrapped and they should be left to sink or swim in the regular classrooms. So what if a kid is dyslexic, tough on them. My kid isn't so he shouldn't lose out just so they can help some kid learn to read. Wow. I love it when people say, oh well, this happened to me and I'm ok so who cares about anyone else? This logic is so shockingly flawed I seriously doubt your IQ claim.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • M

      Your logic is flawed. Actually kids at the lower end of the spectrum get more attention as they need that attention. Gifted children are given more work so they feel more challenged, that's all. Your IQ can't be 150. You don't talk/think like a person with that level of IQ. Sorry!

      November 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • KTS

        Want to do a test? Happy to oblige . You are – like most parents varicously living through their 'gifted' children – a delusional ignorant fool.

        November 14, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
  67. Debbie

    As a parent of 3 outstanding children. I have learned over the years that most schools only want to have average children. Kids who don't require extra work from the teacher. My two younger kids suffered the most. The older one is an overperformer and the teachers were not supportive of a student who asked questions on topic that they were unable to provide an easy answer to. The youngest was an under achiever who only worked as hard as he was pressed to so he went through school with out being challanged and only now when he is in an MBA program does he even have to open the school books to do well.
    Peer teaching works only with older students who have alot of patience with those who don't get it right away.
    giffted kids can be good, bored or trouble makers depending on their individual make-up.
    Gifted kids can also have learning disabilities that make their learning un-even. Some can even have dyslexia (will effect their ability to spell), or even suffer from aspergers syndrome.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  68. ES71

    Kids need to be separated by ability and desire to leanr. Some learn faster than others. Some want to learn some don't, The US system of reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator doesn't work.
    Other countries figured it out long time ago.
    In theory you could keep different tracks in the same class but it is much more work for the teacher and requires smaller classes.
    In public school system the better option is to have 2-3 tracks and alos differnt orienations – sciences vs. humanities.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Aaron

      Yes, but we can't do that because ability grouping hurts the feelings of those that are not in the top group and can lead to bullying. <-Sarcasm. Typically, teachers don't set out to teach to the middle either. With the paperwork and minutia that goes along with inclusion, what ends up happening is the particular campus requires teachers to tier group their classes. This involves placing a gifted child with two average and one low child.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • fyre

      That would have been brilliant! Wish I had a program like that when growing up. Personally, I think desire to learn trumps all, including increased ability to learn. I'm not sure what forcing people who have zero desire to learn to stay in school does other than disrupt the learning of everyone else 🙁

      November 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  69. Jim in PA

    It is a teacher's job to teach, and it is a student's job to learn. The practice of having better students "teach" less accomplished students in the classroom is simply awful. It was never intended to further develop the advanced kids, it was always intended to slow them down while everyone else catches us. The advanced students should instead be spending that time receiving even more education so they can be the leaders of the future.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  70. kwdragon

    The only "myth" I disagree with on the list is #9 about tutoring. First of all, when you teach something, you are also learning it yourself at a deeper level, which can only benefit the gifted student. And, although the kids can get frustrated while tutoring, it also gives them a chance to develop empathy. I agree giftedness needs to be nurtured, but you shouldn't "weed out" gifted kids and completely separate them from their classmates.

    November 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Howard

      Yes it is correct that teaching someone else requires one to usually learn the information better. Having taught science in high school I can attest to that fact. This does not translate to being "good" for a gifted child to be placed into the position of having to do it. From my experiences with my daughter it is being done mostly to keep her busy, not to help her learn more. A child should not be placed into a possition that the teacher has gotten a degree from college to be able to do! My daughter is a very caring person so she does not mind helping others out, but is it right to make her do it. Some things she just "gets" so how does she teach it to someone else? I think student tudoring does have its place, but only after some training and not as part of regular class room time. If, as a teacher, you want a student to learn by teaching others; then it should be a project the student does under supervision. Also, by logic it should not be just the gifted that do this, everyone can learn this way.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Homer Simpson

      @kwdragon: Have you ever been to a university lecture where the prof just jumped from point A and point B, and then when asked about the intermediate steps, just replied "It's intuitively obvious" ? Teaching is a learned skill, you don't just rely on someone who knows the material or is smarter; if that's the case almost anyone can qualify as a elementary teacher.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'First of all, when you teach something, you are also learning it yourself at a deeper level, which can only benefit the gifted student'

      But that wasnt the argument of the myth. The argument was that just because someone is gifted it does not mean they are a good teacher.
      I'm not claiming to be gifted but i once took a class in programming that I found amazingly easy. A student behind me was failing and so i tried to help them. Nothing I did was able to help the guy and he ended up failing the class. I knew it but couldnt not impart it in a manner that this person could grasp.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • mamabear

      For years the school system tried to force my son to teach other kids because he was so bored in school and so far advanced to what they were teaching in the classrooms. It was a terrible failure and caused him very serious social problems. All it did was separate him even further from the other kids. Also it was used because they had no idea what else to do with him. That is the real problem. Even if they don't have separate programs they need to have a program in place that allows very advanced children to work at a faster speed within the classroom setting. Instead they made my son do the same letter tracing pages everyone else did even though he could read and write. When he finished in 5 minutes they had NO IDEA what to do with him so they made him "teach" the other kids. What a waste of time.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I've seen the same thing. These kids are used as a source of free tutoring and it keeps them busy. This is not helping those kids, it is using them. If you already know something so well that it is boring then you will not gain anything by reinforcing it by tutoring someone else.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • RSwasinT&G

      By that logic, you would be ok with anyone teaching your children, regardless of their own skills and qualifications. An unwilling and untrained child is not a teacher and should not be used as one. Imagine if the schools were staffed by children, the PTA's would be up in arms.

      Just because certain kids tested higher, or read at a higher grade level, or were able to understand complicated math, or just excelled creatively, none of this qualifies us to teach other people; it just means we as individuals were able to accomplish these tasks. Knowledge does not equate to the capacity to impart knowledge. I can tell someone that the earth is round and that that is an unquestionable fact, but that does not mean the listener understands why, nor does it mean that I, the "teacher", realize that the listener does not understand. Mission not accomplished even though the task has been completed. No teaching has taken place. And neither student is better off in the end. They have just both been kept busy.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Kate

      I can tell you from experience that if you already instinctively get it (which I did with math), trying to teach it to someone who doesn't is an exercise in frustration for both parties. Every day for months I could explain it in a ton of ways that made a ton of sense to me, and a ton of sense to anyone on the verse of understanding the material, but was useless to the people I was tutoring. The problem was multifaceted - first, I'm a visual / spacial learner, and couldn't process the idea of other learning styles, and really couldn't wrap my head around social learning disorders (and was tutoring geometry!), serving, because I understood the material I had a hard time grasping what the issues the other students were facing even were. I could be empathetic about the issue but I couldn't actually help, which meant that for months, all I managed to do was make other students feel stupid by not being able to help them.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  71. JS

    My son shows signs of being gifted in many academic areas. He has a September birthday and just made the age cutoff for kindergarten in our state. He does have some emotional issues and we considered holding him back a year. His preschool teacher strongly discouraged us from doing this. We went ahead and put him in school and he is doing very well. However, I was harassed so much by other parents at my son's preschool and in our neighborhood for putting him in school, that I almost wanted to put our house on the market and move! One mom drove by our house requesting updates on his progress in school. I could not believe that my child doing well in school would have so many consequences. I think this is what is so wrong with our society! We don't want to see anyone else succeed in any way, even if it happens to be a child! Our son is not perfect, and he is human like everyone else, but holding him back from developing his talents seems to me to be a great disservice to not only him, but to society as well. I think this goes for all children, not just my own.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  72. larry5

    I was identified as gifted but got hammered because I could not spell. I could not even come close to spelling all kinds of common words. I could do the math, science and art work just find but everything kept coming back to spelling. I won honors in the science fair year after year, won a national award for my art work and read every book I could get my hands on. But still I got hammered for my spelling. Even today my goal in spelling is to get the spelling close enough so the spell checker can take over but still I often find the spell checker can't help. So, being identified as gifted for me was one headache after another. An example? In third grade I wrote a paper on the day that "zero" was discovered. The paper was 20 pages long researched at the local college library and I spent most of my time with the dictionary. The paper was praised and accepted at the local college after three rewrites to correct spelling that I missed. The emphases on spelling made school for me a terrible burden.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Jim in PA

      Ironically, and wonderfully, your comment contains none of the classic spelling errors that flood a typical internet comment board. (or is it "bored"? haha).

      November 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
      • John the Agnostic

        Actually, I saw two spelling mistakes in the post by larry5. I am the exact opposite – I see spelling mistakes as if they were written in bold letters. I am generally more accurate than the Spell Checker. However, I know people who cannot spell but who can do brilliant work in other areas. I have no idea why some can spell and others cannot.

        November 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • larry5

      John, please share with me my two spelling mistakes....

      November 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
      • william

        I'm answering because you asked what was misspelled and I'm guessing you really did want to know. You misspelled fine and the spell checker must've inserted find. You also misspelled emphasis.

        November 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
      • Mel

        Also answering because you asked. I don't know if this is considered a misspelling or grammatical error but art work should be one word "artwork".

        November 14, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
      • sjj668

        FYI: Emphases is the plural of emphasis.

        November 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • larry5

      It was 1951 as a 6 year old that I wrote that paper. Everyone at the elementary school went after the spelling and punctuation. No one comment was made about the content of the paper. I claimed that Indians discovered zero and the Arab traders spread the good word. The symbol for zero "0" I claimed might have been determined with a mathematician observed the impression left in the sand when he removed a small pebble he was using to focus his thoughts. My teacher patted me on top of my head and said I was a good boy but I should get my head out of the clouds and worry more about my classroom assignments.

      November 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  73. foxzgal

    Kind of dissappointing really. This article coveres only the educational needs and only superficially at that, that gifted kids need in order to thrive. It makes no mention of emotional imapct of giftedness, which would be great if schools would acknowledge and address. Just my two cents, for what it's worth.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • anonymous

      What are the emotional effects?

      November 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  74. Pete

    All children are special and gift from god. Gifted is not the best choice of words to categorize these kids because it sounds discriminating against who are not.

    Some kids are atheletically talented and we have many programs to encourage them to be a world class atheletes. Some kids are intellectually talented (gifted) but many schools and districts do not acknowledge their existance and wasting the kids' talents. We should nurture the kids' talents whether it be arts, music, sports or academic.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • Valerie

      You are right Pete....also it's not mentioned in this article but everyone knows it is true- "gifted" kids are socially off and do not fit in. It's like there is "something" wrong with them and other kids sense it too...............

      November 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
      • J

        I was initially qualified as being academically gifted in 2nd grade at a magnet program, and continued to exhibit gifted abilities throughout my educational career. I also excelled at sports, and benefited from being a military brat by being culturally aware of my surroundings. I excelled in music, learning to play the violin in 2nd grade, as well as teaching myself several other instruments as I was growing up. I am, and have always been an extremely well-rounded individual.. and I can guarantee I was not "weird" or "unpopular" growing up. There was nothing wrong with me, and I can only hope that other students "like me" don't feel as if they have to dumb themselves down just to fit in.

        November 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
      • Howard

        I'm sorry this is just a bad misconception as well. I know several people that are perfectly socially and are high in the "gifted" strata. One was a cheerleader and dated the football star! Real far out there. Heck I was a "druggie", and in my day that was the "in" crowd.

        November 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  75. LC

    My son was labeled as "developmentally disabled" because he didn't speak until age 5. When he finally talked, it was in whole sentences. He's actually gifted and a joy. But I agree that using gifted children to tutor others is a problem. He is extremely frustrated that he's expected to teach his peers during class instead of learning. He is socially well adapted and cooperative – not a matter of not wanting to help. But this has affected his grade in one class and the teacher justifies this as the school's expectation that students will "learn together". My child isn't paid to teach – the teacher is, and he is supposed to be there to learn.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  76. Ann L.

    There is an old adage about idle hands being the tools of evil. Well as a parent of two gifted boys, I can tell you that idle brains are the source of unending variations of chaos in classrooms around the country. Perhaps if the schools would look at grouping students by skill level in various areas (not all gifted students are gifted in all areas) rather than calendar age/historic grades, more children would get the educations they need and deserve.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • ES71

      That si what most countries do. US doesn't do it. Why? It is a mistery to me. It is like US wants to keep its students dumb.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
      • Mark

        Unfortunately that is exactly what US public schools are doing. Rather than hurt anyone's feelings and make them feel inferior, they lump all students together and teach to the lowest acceptable level. The result is mediocrity and a huge loss to those with greater potential (and society in general).

        November 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
      • CJ

        I don't think it's necessarily a malicious intent on behalf of our public school system. I personally think it's a combination of plain old laziness (changing the system for the better would require a fair amount of effort), and those in power taking a sort of "jealous" position the same way bullying is presently highlighted in our country – if someone treated me a certain way when I was growing up, then why must I be the better person and treat others better when I'm in a position of power? Or, I got along just fine not being labeled as "gifted/talented/special/advanced/whatever" so these children can get along fine as well. While on this board it's obvious that many of us parents have our children's and our nation's children's best interests in heart, unfortunately that's not always the case for people in power. As a sidenote, I don't mean to imply that all people in positions of power are heartless and don't care but I do think a disproportionate portion of them fit that description.

        November 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  77. Parent of Gifted Child

    Here ! Here! Someone who actually understand what gifted means!!!! I have been fighting these stereotypes for my son since he first started pre-school 17 yrs ago. I even moved schools and stil had to fight this. Even worse because he was so gifted he was tagged as ADD! Too many of our children are being drugged, mislabeled ,etc because our educational system doesnt want to spend the time. It is too easy to label them and shuffle them onward!

    November 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • mamabear

      Wow, you could be describing my son. They definitely left out the part about all teachers thinking they are drs who can diagnose ADHD in kids. I was told over and over that he had it and "had to be" medicated. Thank God I had a good pediatrician who said that my son's only problem was that he was smarter than his teachers. I can't imagine how many super bright kids are medicated into mediocrity in this country. What a shame.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  78. K. Bailes (Former Gifted Student)

    I am a 30-year old adult. When I was in kindergarten, I was identified as "gifted" and placed within my school system's gifted program (grades 1-3 it was called "DIP" and grades 4-8 it was called "EXTEND"). One day a week gifted students from across our county would be removed from normal classroom curriculum and bused to a centrally located county high school to participate in the program. There we received extracurricular instruction on pioneering subjects, current events, went on unique field trips, and hosted inspiring guest speakers such as the recently deceased Tuskegee Airman LtCol Herbert Carter . Our gifted program curriculum centered around a self-guided project about a topic of our own choosing that we would work on throughout the year and present to our peers at the end—the purpose was to build independence and confidence as well as expand our interests. To me this seemed like a great opportunity. One thing I have always wondered is: Why wasn’t this opportunity afforded to “non-gifted” students? I could see no aspect of the gifted curriculum that a normal student wouldn’t have easily absorbed and enjoyed. It felt like this was well-intentioned, but undeserved preferential treatment. Also, while it may be true that gifted students don’t all fit the “nerdy” stereotype that is associated with being gifted, being labeled “gifted” certainly didn’t help us socially. The social dynamic of youngsters dictates that we were in fact treated as “eggheads” and even to some extent seen as arrogant elitists amongst our peers, and it was an uphill battle to achieve a sense of social normalcy. Lastly, as a result of being removed from the normal classroom curriculum one day a week, I feel behind on several subjects. I struggled with math and science because I simply wasn’t in the classroom when the fundamentals were taught. To this day I consider myself “weak” in math as a result. I do not understand why my school system did not see that it was more important for me to learn about basic multiplication, long division, and earth sciences, vice learning about black holes or the Mayan culture. I will note, these days—in this economy–school systems can use all the financial help they can get. I propose that rather than focusing on a select few students at the quite-literal expense of the many, work on creating a more well-rounded and enriching curriculum for all students. Invest that money that is used in gifted programs and buy better tools for educating the masses. Don’t worry, if we have what it takes to achieve, we will excel on our own.

    November 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  79. marycontrary

    In the early '80's my 1st grader was labeled gifted and placed in gifted classes. I was not informed of this until I received a letter saying he was being pulled from gifted program because he refused to do his work in his regular classes. He did refuse to do his homework because he said he already knew that stuff and wanted to learn other things. He hated school his entire life and "failed" most classes. Yet he spent his free time surrounding himself with encyclopedias and newspapers and science books years above his level. The school system couldn't handle him. He was my first child and I didn't know what to do with him other than take him to the library weekly to keep him stocked with new study material.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • ES71

      It doesn't matter if the kid already knows everything. They still have to complete the school work. The idea that a kid would refuse makes no sense to me.
      In life we have to do many things we find redundant, we still ahv to do it if we want to succeed.
      For example, when I went to college I ahted lectureds and learned everything from the books independently. I just don't learn by ear, I learn by sight and experience. If I refused to attend the lectures I would've been expelled and there more than enough people willing to take my spot.
      The same goes for many things in workplace.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
      • Another Parent

        They shouldn't necessarily have to complete schoolwork if they have already shown mastery. My son was doing receiving "enrichment" in his gifted class for spelling. He would spell words like "agriculture" in 1st grade, but then had to go back to class and write out "hat" twenty times and take a spelling test with everyone else. This isn't learning, it is punishment.

        November 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
      • Homer Simpson

        "The idea that a kid would refuse makes no sense to me." Come one, it's a 1st grader, that's what 1st graders do... 🙂

        November 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
      • CJ

        I think in this person's situation their son was a victim of an uninformed system, not understanding how to handle his neglect of certain schoolwork. They shifted him to "gifted" classes, while he neglected "regular/boring" work and from the description seemed to assume the student would just do his regular work as he should. I remember grades 1-3 when I would attend the "gifted" class down the hall and I too occasionally got in trouble for not doing work, or finishing early and bothering other students.

        While I'm in agreement that students should still have to do work, I think the bigger issue here is that the school assumed because of his "gifted" abilities in one area that he was emotionally developed to a level higher than his actual age. We can't honestly expect a first grader to have the mental & emotional maturity of a 15 year old, depsite any advanced intelligence – intelligence & maturity don't always go hand in hand unfortunately. First graders don't always want to do their work, as with most children they are still learning certain aspects of right/wrong and what has to be done vs. what they can choose to do.

        November 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  80. sumday

    U.S. federal law defines gifted students – ??? We have a federal law regarding gifted kids, who knew?

    November 14, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  81. roblearns

    The unfortunate truth is that schools harm gifted children, by teaching them that learning is paced.

    I'm not going to be modest, for the sake of this discussion, I was quite gifted as a child. One weekend in 6th grade, I got bored, and decided as a lark to finish my 6th grade math book. I worked every assignment, one after the other and turned in the entire year of work on Monday.

    The teacher's reaction to that was disbelief, so I had to be tested, and it turned out I understood the subject matter.

    So, I was transferred into the gifted program – previous to that I was considered slow, because of my extremely poor communication skills.

    Well – that's the good part of what happened. The bad part of what happened, is the school made a rule, that students are not allowed to work ahead in their books.

    And the gifted program paced us, just as the non-gifted program had paced us.

    School is a political mess, run by decidedly non-gifted administrators. Gifted programs are a joke, they gather together gifted students, and tell them they are being handled properly – but nothing could be further from the truth.

    Your best bet is to learn on your own. If you get enamored with school, you're lost and your gift is being curtailed.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • rasko41

      Wow. I got reproached repeatedly in elementary school for working ahead or reading ahead. When I complained to my dad of this, he said "just don't tell them you're reading ahead". Problem solved.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  82. Steve

    I appreciate the intent of this article. My biggest frustration is that there is so much focus on "equality" and "everybody is gifted" that truly gifted students are often ignored. As an example, my brother (who is currently pursuing a doctorate) could read and write fluently by the time he started Kindergarten. When my mom asked what the school was going to do to help my brother since he was so far ahead of the rest of the class, she was told not to worry, because "by the end of the year the rest of the students will be caught up with him." The school acknowledged that they were going to ignore my brother, and hold him back instead of educating him simply because he was "ahead of schedule."

    November 14, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  83. iceload9

    I believe the entrance to gifted programs depends on how long the parents argue not the intelligence of the student.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  84. bbt

    Dr. Sheldon Cooper doesn't wear glasses you idiot

    November 14, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • ama01

      "Gifted students read all the time, wear glasses and/or are physically and socially inept."
      Read the full statement. AND/OR does not mean AND. Never before has someone been more socially inept than Shelley.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  85. tim

    Some of these points (6,7, and 8, specifically) seem to be the author's attempt to justify her existence.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Bazoing

      True. A lot of the stuff here is tainted with the petty self importance of the teaching community. They constantly ask for more wages but never for much smaller class rooms. They are self focused rather than child focused.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Howard

      #6 A lot of gifted kids are underachivers. This is mostly because they are bored in school, so they could care less. The problem is its very hard for a teacher to be able to get kids to all work at there level (its called differenciated instruction). Don't believe me, try teaching in a public school some time. Or better let, come up with a way to teach something and then figure out how to do it at 3, 4 or 5 different levels of skill.
      #7 Ever tried to teach someone who knew more than you did on the information? See how teaching gifted kids can be diffucult? Also, gifted kids are real efficient at working the system or even getting into trouble. A lot of boy in grades 1-3 are thought to be ADD or ADHD because they are bored and just messing around.
      #8 Is it fair to a student to not teach them something, just because they are ahead of the class? Is it fair to expect them to "get by" because they are smart? According to most of the brain research; if you don't use it, you loose it. In other words if you are not learning every day, you are loosing your capacity to learn. Very few of "gifted" students are self motivated (read the comments above), these are the ones who need to be helped. The few that are "driven" to achieve will "get by" no matter what. The question is what could they have become if they were helped to excel. Wouldn't it be nice to have a 100 Bill Gates type of people rather than 1!
      By the way if you haven't noticed I am one of those "gifted" people who can't spell very well. I think it was I couldn't be bothered with the rote memorization.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  86. Dr. A

    My children unfortunately went to a small school district that emphasized that all students were equal and that being gifted or smart was to be uncool. The gifted and talented teacher was given a broom closet for her office; she left because she was very frustrated that any unique opportunities she could offer the students was discouraged. Team sports were the only venues for physically talented boys and girlls; others were left to fend for themselves. Sometimes when I think back, the educators at that school avoided developing a gifted and talented program because it signified that the kids were smarter than the teachers, and having attended every teacher-parent conference, I would tend to agree.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  87. AbleWitness

    One of my sons' I.Q. is at least in the 140s. He never went to university. The public school system crushed him. When you have teachers of average intelligence, then they can't handle the brilliant folk. A school science teacher compared my son's head to a rock. I wanted to take that rock to her head. Put yourself in the place of a genius - you live in a world of the educable mentally retarded. Plus, the hoi polloi are angry at you for being more intelligent than them.

    November 14, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Jeremy

      I was in the same position as your son. My mother thought hell had frozen over when I finally got my degree at 32. The funny thing is that there is a greater difference between my IQ and an average IQ, than there is between an average IQ and a mentally retarded IQ. Your analysis of how people like your son and I see the world is spot on!

      November 14, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  88. Tim

    Yea, here's the thing. This entire article goes on about how gifted children are all around us and then in #10 you say that their aren't many gifted children. This is a bs'd article.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • cjsks

      Actually, the article did not make either of these claims.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  89. Chico

    Many of the points made in this article were observed and pioneered in this country through the work of Annemarie Roeper (and others); the application of Annemarie's qualitative method of gifted student evaluation speaks to the need for non-standardized assessment of such children. There is absolutely such a thing as "giftedness" but the term "gifted" is a poor one to describe the intellectual and personality traits such individuals possess. It implies that all aspects of what is defined as "gifted" is a beneficent and desired things which places this child above others. While those who are gifted often learn very readily, possess deep passions for knowing things, have an inherent and innate sense of fairness and justice as it relates to interpersonal relationships, and have aspects of insights and understands more mature than their chronologic ages, these same truths are often difficult for the young child to reconcile, and the same understanding they possess which is more advanced than peers can end up being a confusing, frustrating, and challenging trait. The intensity and unyielding focus of the gifted child can be just as much a detriment if the educational program they function under does not permit their freedom to pursue these interests. This is why so many gifted children are and remain into adulthood underachievers. It is because it is usually too much work (and too difficult) to provide this degree of support for the child mixed with structural laxity and academic freedom for independent learning.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Stacey

      Could not agree more!!

      November 14, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Robert mazerolle

      I was 'gifted", as was my son. The school system, that destroyer of souls – is the perfect place to punish a good mind. There is absolutely nothing to offer in such a system. It is a system designed to elevate average and below average people to a minimum standard of functioning as a citizen, by imposing a standard curriculum and restricting inquiry.
      That's all it was designed for.
      It doesn't even come close to accomplishing that even remotely well- It manages somewhow to to inspire some below average thinkers to master some basic reading and writing, which is promptly forgotten by age 25. Impressive- like training monkeys to fetch. Perfect qualifications for service jobs in declining industries. Doing each other's laundry and what not.
      So why bother suggesting it could be adapted to meet the the need of developing outstanding performers?
      It can't- It won't, it never could, it never will. In that sense – this article is useless, albeit hopeful, in a quaint, middle american kind of way. wouldn't it be nice? ... if those nice school teachers actually got to practice what they learned at in BEd program. ( Not a chance pal!)
      This is an 'apologist' article- defending the idea that with improvements- the school system could be jerry-rigged to serve.
      Wouldn't it be nice,,,if the Montessorri Method was deployed as it should – it'a only been around foe 100 years (not a chance kid!). Wouldn't it be nice if the average kid got to study what he/she was interested in? ( ha!)

      C'mon you guys- stop trying to fix it- kill it and end it's misery! And that of everyone else in it.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:50 am |
      • Mary

        Absolutely agree with your premise that applying more of a Montessori approach addresses the needs for differentiated learning for ALL students. We placed our young son in a traditional school this year, thinking he needed the "structure." Instead, we have a kid who is able to do division in his head, bored to tears with the simple addition his class is learning. Back to Montessori next year!

        November 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  90. Kevin Nivek

    I was a gifted child. I received many gifts on my birthday and Christmas.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Jim in PA

      I guess that would make me a "re-gifted" adult...

      November 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • am

      Thank God for gifting us the amazing quality of sense of humour.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • JennieM

      You are also getting a gift from me, the cleaning bill for my computer montior. I just spewed diet coke out of my nose. Thank you for literally making me lol.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  91. Mary Kay

    My experience with my son in an elementary school gifted program was horrible. I do not agree that those teacher taught the way all teachers should teach. They expected certain behaviors from each child and if one did not behave the way they expected, they honestly made him feel inferior. Every time we had a parent-teacher conference my son wound up in tears because he was made to feel that because he was not a kiss-up like the other kids he was somehow inferior to them. I was never so glad as when my son was able to leave that school system, which is considered one of the best in our state. When we moved to a new school system in a much smaller county, his experience was so much better and soon he came out of his shell, made friends and regained a lot of the self-confidence that the previous system "beat" out of him. In my opinion, it is not a good system in many places and needs a complete overhaul.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Bazoing

      My wife was in a gifted class, but the teacher was obviously below average. All that is needed to get a certificate to teach those classes is a pass in a few extra college courses. If you challenge the poor preparation and screening of teachers they will point out that the pupils are "only children". The education system is about classroom control and convincing the public that you are underpaid. It is not for the children it is about baby sitting for the parents and a job for the teachers.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:38 am |
      • Howard

        Your right, teaching is mostly about class room control. The question is why is that so? I am old enough to know the time when you would not even think of doing what kids do every day now in school. So, where is the problem? IMHO most of the problem lies in the parents court. The reason we didn't act up in school, we got a worse punishment at home that we did at school, as known as double jeapordy.

        November 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  92. Velma

    Even more difficult to teach and the most underserved are the twice-exceptional children – those who are gifted in some areas, but are diagnosed with autism spectrum or other disorder which interferes with certain skills, abilities or academics in other areas. At best, schools often tend to say, "Well, if he is so smart, he should be able to do everything equally well". Without going into detail, this is why I homeschool my Aspie grandson.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Zenger Folkman


      November 14, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • shanna

      School for myself was miserable. I am gifted when it comes to history and reading and writing. However because i had a learning disability in math, i got left to rot be cause i wasnt gifted enough and supposedly problematic. it made school a terrifying place for me. I am just now tens years after high school attempting to earn my degree in history, cringing at my math classes because i never did get help with those classes and got passed so my teachers wouldnt have to deal with me. Overall public schools flat out drop the ball in this sort of situation. They did then, and quite clearly are still today.

      November 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  93. Mary Leonhardt

    As a high school English teacher for 35 years, I've taught many gifted teenagers, both in mixed-ability classes and in advanced classes. I think they (and all of the other children) can do well in either kind of class as long as the work is individualized. For example, in my English classes much of the reading was student-selected, as were most of the writing assignments. This allowed all of the students to do work that was challenging and engaging for them.

    In class discussions, I found that often students who were less academic (and so, perhaps, less "gifted") often made comments that were more perceptive than the gifted students. Life experiences shape our understanding, as much as intellectual endowment.

    I think the ideal school has a variety of classes taught on a variety of levels–including many mixed-level classes. Students who are gifted in math may not be gifted in English. A wonderful musician may be hopeless in physics.

    We need to stop putting students into boxes. Instead, let's create educational settings where everyone can flourish.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Michelle

      One wish for my 4 year old daughter = all her school years full of teachers with your philosophy 🙂

      November 14, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Howard

      Mary, thank you for doing a wonderful job of a thankless task. I mean that sincerely as unfortuanately many teachers do not have the skills or drive to do it. God knows I didn't!

      My experience is that not all subjects are as adaptable to this type of method. How do you let students select thier own work in Math or Science when even the gifted have very little exposure to the "real" subject matter being taught. I taught high school physics and my wife teaches Middle School math, just so you know the context of the statements.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  94. Joseph

    There is no such thing as "gifted".

    November 14, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Black Bart


      November 14, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Velma

      It certainly isn't smart to publicly display your ignorance so willingly.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • logicalgirl

      You were one of those kids in school that I wanted to hit for holding the class back, weren't you? If those of us who were gifted would have had less patience, the term wouldn't be "going postal". It would have be "going scholastic" or something. Please go back to the shallow end.

      November 14, 2012 at 11:35 am |
      • Jeremy


        November 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        you mean the ones that liked to play around, or just sat there when asked an easy question etc?
        dont get me started on those.

        November 14, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
      • JLS639

        The firs episode of Daria, where the students could not answer the question "Can anyone tell me what war with the Mexicans was fought over Manifest Destiny!?" and then Daria was told to "quit showing off" for trying to answer the question – that was almost identical to something that happened to me in 8th grade and is emblematic of my school memories.

        I now work in a research lab and get frustrated at all the people who supposedly got A's and B's in math but cannot do basic algebra, supposedly got A's and B's in chemistry but cannot figure out how to make a solution with more than one solute and supposedly got A's and B's in biochemistry and don't understand what ligands and receptors are. My job is to get them trained enough to do experiments to get them on the publications (which are >75% my work) before they go off to medical or PA school. These people are going to be responsible for patients' health one day [shudder in terror]. It never ends...

        November 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Zenger Folkman

      Such an insightful comment!

      November 14, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Jim in PA

      Oh, so true! There is no such thing as gifted! Why, I could have invented the internet or played in the Superbowl myself but, I dunno, I just didn't feel like it...

      November 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Mike

      It's "gifted."

      November 14, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Flor

      Well, most of us know to put the period inside the quotation marks, for starters...

      November 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  95. AlphaMary

    All humans brains function differently. Wisdom is knowing that and guiding a child to do their best. Raise the bar for every child to be educated to their fullest potential. Each child is gifted in their own way but an exemplary educational system, that is difficult and challenging only serves to better all children. No lowering of the bar for excellence.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  96. VA

    Ok not to sound like a creeper, but the picture of that little girl for this article looks exactly like me when i was that age. should my face be on a milk carton? sooo weird.

    November 14, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • IL

      All little kids look the same.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:36 am |
      • VA

        what exactly was the purpose of your reply? soooo you are telling me you looked like this child as well. wow our parents have some explaining to do.

        November 14, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • fyre

      Aww, you were a cutie, then. IL is kinda right though, at that age the features haven't fully developed and what little is there is shrouded by baby fat. I'm amazed parents take the right kids home every day 🙂

      November 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  97. patbuoncristiani

    I made one important observation during my time as the Assistant Principal in a school for gifted children in grades 3 – 5. The way these highly qualified, smart, enthusiastic teachers taught was the way ALL teachers should teach in all our schools.

    November 14, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • AlphaMary

      YES! You are so correct in your observations.

      November 14, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • Jeremy

      You are absolutely correct. I believe the reason this does ot happen ia a lack of gifted teachers. One cannot help other to rise if one is not already on higher ground. The highly qualified, smart, enthusiastic teachers you speak of are the minority. Without one of those angels I would not have graduated High School, but I only met a couple throughout my K-12 years.

      November 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Enid

      Hi! I've been in this "gift" journey for the past 10 years. In this journey I have found good and awesome "gifted"-teachers that have marked my son's life positively, but I had also to battle a few that instead of helping him they broke his heart. I think that schools have to learn how to properly evaluated these teachers. The fact that they complete some classes and have a certificate, does not qualify them as teachers for gifted students.

      November 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • Howard

        This can be said of any teacher! One of the big problems in teaching teachers is there is a big difference between university class on teaching, intern/practical teaching, and being in the classroom on your own teaching. I have certs to teach high school physics and chemistry, and 25 years of professional scientist experience. I am not a good teacher because I can't handle the classroom, too nice!

        November 14, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Mike

      Couldn't agree more. My daughter has been in a gifted program since 3rd grade (she's in 8th now). In 2nd grade, she was very bored with the work at school. During the parent/teacher conf, we politely asked if there was something we all could do to challenge her more. The teacher's response, "she's not the smartest one in the class." It was ridiculous. Fortunately, she has had several great teachers since then that have inspired and challenged her.

      November 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
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