09 July 2004

Gifted and talented

Got a form letter yesterday that eventually told me that No. 2 son was being dropped from the local Gifted and Talented program. There's a phone number listed to contact the school director for the program. It's the main school number, not a direct line. And of course there's no one in the office until August.

I'm sure it's a coincidence, the letters coming out in early July.

In the first place, I'm not a big fan of Gifted and Talented programs and would probably just let it go except that No. 1 son is still one of the select few.

I think enrichment activities are beneficial for all kids - not just the ones who score better on standardized tests or meet some subjective criteria of the staff. I don't think that G&T kids get anymore out of it than others. I don't like the idea of institutionalizing an intellectual elitism at the elementary school level. Everyone already knows who the smart kids are, they don't need the schools to tell them.

The same day we got that letter, we got the letter saying the No.1 son was still in the program (level 1 - the higher level) and listing the 'criteria' for both levels. Level 1 is supposed to be the top 5% and Level 2 is the top 10%. A number of qualifying factors are listed - test scores being one. From what I remember, No. 2 son scored well on his standardized tests - 97th percentile, I think, in at least one area,and I think above 90th in all areas. Pretty similar to No. 1 son, actually, although they definitely have different personalities and intellectual strengths.

So I'm going to track down the powers that be and have them explain their decision to me. Even though I'd rather just see the program trashed and the money go toward enrichment activities for everyone.

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