There’s lots of food for thought in yesterday’s Washington Post article, “No Child’ Law May Slight The Gifted, Experts Say.” It’s a must-read. The comments left by readers were for the most part rather scary, but the Post’s parenting blogger just posted on having a gifted child, so here’s hoping there’s some intelligent discussion in the coming days.
The article says many of the same things I’ve been saying for several years and it makes several points that I made in earlier posts. For example differentiation, while a nice idea in the abstract, isn’t very effective unless you have highly trained, highly skilled teachers. Marty Creel touts how gifted education should be done by every teacher, in every classroom. But as one of the giants of gifted education Joyce Van Tassel-Baska, notes, “You have now made every teacher a teacher of the gifted, whether or not they’re trained to do it, whether or not they have the ability. I would be remiss as an educator to not suggest it’s a very challenging kind of model to deliver on.”
The article spotlights MCPS’s effort to create datapoints that would track progress on gifted education: advanced performance on the statewide test, participation in advanced math coursework and AP performance. Problems abound. The MSAs are a grade level test. Participation in advanced math courses doesn’t control for the rigor of the courses–many have alleged that Algebra has been watered down considerably in an effort to boost participation/pass rates.
But the recent spate of articles on gifted issues is welcome, if only because it brings into the public what those “disaffected few,” “particularly vocal” parent advocates have been saying for years, without much effect.