Interesting and possibly Controversial

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by GoingNorth, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    This article raises a an issue that has been close to my heart for many years, especially in current times.

    I've often wondered what happens to TAG children when so many dollars are being spent on educating children with difficulties.

    Sadly, while being able to be a "contributing member of society" is indeed a good goal, the country has much more need of scientists, mathematicians, medical researchers, etc., than it does of fast-food workers and janitors.

    The cost of one Residential Treatment Center (RTC) stay to a school district is often higher than what it would cost to outfit a top-flight science lab and high a doctoral-level teacher.

    I was very lucky to have come through a SPED program that basically skimmed off the brightest and put us into a very alternative learning program where we chose our subjects and worked to our own level. Small classrooms and multiple instructors were there for questions and to encourage us to test our limits.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    The gifted education can also vary within a single school district. I opted to pull my GATE identified daughter out of our elementary school, which clusters these kids with high achievers in one classroom, and sent her to the GATE magnet school in our district, mainly because her older brother had already gone through the cluster program and I was not impressed. The teachers did not seem motivated nor equipped to handle the special needs of these kids, and I don't feel my son got the education he really needed while there. So far, my daughter is doing VERY well in this new magnet school. And while she's not getting straight A's anymore (she truly coasted in the regular classroom setting), she is working harder and learning more. I'd rather her be in the GATE class and getting A's and B's than be a straight A student who's bored to death.

    difficult child 2 is at the GATE magnet middle school this year, and while he did not qualify for a GATE math class (thanks in part, I feel, to the poor job his teacher did last year at the elementary school), he is in an advanced science, social science and lang arts class. There is actually LESS homework in these classes than there is in the regular middle school that difficult child 1 went to. But the level of work is clearly much higher, and he's doing pretty well, all things considered.

    So I think if you have a child that is gifted, you have to consider all the options within your district for them, because they are not all equal.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    In my school, the TAG have their own classes. I disagree that they are being ignored. At any rate, they tend to do very well anyway and end up at the front of the pile. I disagree that a significant number are "bored" and don't try. in my opinion those are the ones with disorders on top of their TAG. The fact is, disabled kids need help more than the gifted and talented and since funding has been cut, I agree that it go to those who struggle rather than those who may get done before the rest of the class thus have to suffer through a few boring minutes. JMO :tongue:
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I strongly disagree that the gifted do well if left alone. That is one of the biggest myths out there. Left alone MANY gifted kids cause problems or get so bored that they just shut down and do very little.

    Just imagine what those gifted kids could do if instead of leaving them alone the school challenged them?

    My district has a "name" for being good with gifted kids. I came through it and totally disagree. My older two refused to perform in the gifted program because the teacher only accepts one way of being gifted. If you are not gifted in the way her sons were gifted, or if you are a girl, you are picked on and made fun of. By the TEACHER!!

    thank you likes her, but he is similar to her youngest and she dotes on him, cooing and giving him all sorts of treats. It is the opposite of how she treated the others.

    I pretty much figure it is up to the family to challenge the gifted. That is why Wiz graduated high school with several college classes under his belt - we pushed him to do them in the summers and on semesters our schools don't challege him.

    The disparities in gifted education are one reason why we fall behind every other industrialized country in many ways. We are not raising the top scientists - we put LOTS more into raising the barely proficient workers. Just in my opinion.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    When I was a kid, there was the beginnings of gifted education but it was almost apologetic, there was little formal. The attitude was very much one of, "They cna manage on their own."

    We now have much better G & T education in Australia, but it's not always as accessible as it should be. There is still an attitude prevailing in some schools, that the bright kids can be used to teach the slow learners and that this addresses the needs of both groups. While you can do this, it shouldn't be the management solution for both groups in entirety, nor even significantly.

    The groups still missing out are the gifted but learning disabled. Our state-based education system still tends to average out the test scores (even when this is actively recommended against by the test designers) and uses this noew, lower but still acceptable overall score to say, "there is no problem - the child is neither gifted nor learning disabled."

    In the recent TV interview that difficult child 3 & I were part of (last Sunday night) the reporter made the point that in Australia our Federal government is giving massive rebates on housing insulation, many times more than the amount spent on early intervention in autism, even though one child in 150 have a diagnosis of autism.

    The problem with statements like this, is that you can't equate housing insulation with medical or educational research. Of course there should be more funding, but the government isn't going to pull the plug on housing insulation to pour it into autism supports. The activists need to find a better angle, to get what they want from the government.

    A better angle would be to compare the cost to the community of an autistic child who does not get the help needed when younger, with the cost to provide that early intervention. And of course, it's way cheaper to put the help in place when the children are young, rather than the vast amounts they will cost us in disability pensions if we cannot support them to become productive taxpayers.

  6. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    oh, lord, don't get me started........

    My youngest was pulled from "traditional" parochial school in 6th grade. Ohio has no requirements for accomodations for gifted, just identification (how that makes sense is beyond me). So our local public really doesn't have facilities for gifted, although it does have a higher level high school (which is where he eventually wound up).

    But I did a lot of research and found he was one of those gifted that didn't need a "pull out" program, didn't need "additional" work - he needed to be taught in a completely different way. His ADD also didn't help - in fact, I prayed his ADD was bad enough that we could work accomodations and an IEP from that end, but it wasn't (and his father refused to allow him to be labeled).

    He did well in classes he was interested in, but also managed to dump himself out of AP English senior year because of not handing in homework.

    We had him at a private gifted school for two years. It was a very small school - grades K - 12. Kids didn't do grades, but worked on their strengths. All of the kids his age had come from other schools and had been picked on, so they formed a real "family". As they all would say, they could be "weird" together.

    Highly gifted kids are at a great risk to drop out. They are also at a great risk of "self medicating". Especially those that aren't a good fit for traditional school, and may have social issues that acceleration would just make worse.

    My son will never BE a rocket scientist - although he has a great passion for science. He'll never make it through a big university. Right now, he's not attending any college classes, and is instead working at a fish market. I have no idea what the future holds for him.
  7. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    My kids went to private school for this very reason.

    difficult child 1 was in the TAG program at the public school but it didn't do very much until 3rd Grade. The school had no separate math or LA for kids that needed more challenging work until then. difficult child 1 asked me why they had to go "so slow".

    When difficult child 2 started Kindergarten and had the same complaints, her teacher said I might want to look into private school. I figured if a public school teacher was recommending private school, we should consider it.

    They ended up at a small private school that accepted kids of all abilitities and allowed individual learning plans for anyone that needed them. This worked for "gifted" as well as other learning differences. About 30% of the kids were identified as having learning differences, mostly dyslexia, I think. This school had as many as 5 different levels for Math (with about 45 kids per grade) and 2 levels of LA plus tutoring for those who needed it. Even though everyone knew who was in what group, there was no stigma attached to those in any group. Interestingly, at the public school where they didn't have the separate groups, there was a lot more peer criticism of the kids who were struggling. For Social Studies and Science, they didn't have separate groups, but they did sometimes have separate tests with more or less challenging versions.

    difficult child 1 is now back in the public school for 8th Grade because she would have been the only kid doing Geometry at the private school. They would have done it with her, but we decided to see what the public school was like to see what to do about high school. Geometry is challenging enough for her but the rest of her classes are again moving pretty slowly for her. Even though they say they have TAG History and Science, there isn't a separate class and they do all the same work as everyone else. I think next year will be better because of all the pre AP classes.

    It isn't just being bored for a few minutes at the end of class. It is being bored day after day, listening to the same material presented over and over in different ways. There are worse problems, I know, but it is still a problem.

    Like the article said, the bright kids without the family resources to go to private schools are the ones that are really hurt by this.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    They have options here for middle and high schoolers, which I like. The student can be put in an advanced class or a specialty center (enitire program- not just 1 or 2 classes) if they are recommended and the parent approves/agrees, but they do not have to- they have the option of staying in a regular class.

    What I didn't like though is that this doesn't start until about 5th grade, so in elementary school they won't give anything more challenging to any student. While my difficult child doesn''t test as high as "gifted", he did test very high on aptitude tests in elementary years and was ahead of his peers. I have always wondered if he would have been so restless in classes if he hadn't been so bored- which he complained about often. So in spite of scoring so high, he was labeled "disruptive" instead of needing more challenging work. Now, he isn't that far ahead and falls in the average range- which I guess is ok given he missed about 1/3 of both 6th grade and 8th grade.

    I wish I could have afforded amd known better- I would have put him in private school for the elementary years.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2009
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Our easy child/difficult child (the now 22 yr. old who had brain surgery) tested out for gifted in elementary. They had a couple of classes a week with other gifted kids and had an energetic young gifted teacher who fostered their creativity etc. In middle school (6th grade) the set up was the same. Then the School Board came up with a brilliant idea to save money and to keep getting the extra $1800 a head. They had the gifted kids meet one
    time a week in the media center for lunch :( "to discuss any problems they might have being gifted". WTH!

    Just like the statistics prove, our very handsome, very funny, very popular, ADHD Gifted boy ended up a drop out and a substance abuser.
    We hoped that his sports ability would keep him connected to school but
    it didn't work that way. Due to his brain injury his future is questionable
    but we truly believe that if the school had met his needs he would be a
    happy achieving college graduate. He would not have been so impaired
    due to addictions to have fallen from the balcony and suffering brain damage. The situation is very sad as even in our small community I know
    other families who have bleak futures due to the failures of the system.
  10. MyFriendKita

    MyFriendKita Member

    Did it occur to you that maybe these programs that are "educating children with difficulties" could actually help these kids to be able to train for skilled trades rather than end up as fast-food workers and janitors? In other words, for jobs that would allow them to support themselves rather than rely on public assistance? Or turn to crime? I'm not sure why you think everyone has to be either a fast food worker or a rocket scientist. And for the record, I think the schools are failing all but the kids in the middle. Even with programs that are supposed to help underperforming kids, getting that help is very difficult, to which many parents on here can attest.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    rm1976, I think GoingNorth was making a point of contrasts, not saying "either-or".

    In Australia we have a system of trades traineeeships that have been incorporated into the senior high school education. We have "vocational courses" which a student actually undertakes at a nearby college (TAFE or Technical and Further Education) and these courses can be used as a head start in tertiary educaiton; in apprenticeships; in stand-alone courses that may be prerequisite for certain career paths.
    The mai problems eith this, is kids often still don't know for sure what they want to do, and may do acourse that might never be used again.

    We do have school courses which will set a career path option for a student, or perhaps cut a student off from a possible career path. For exampel, if difficult child 3 wants to go to university, he will need to study English at a certain level which could be too challenging for him. However, if he chooses a different path, he can cut right back on English so it's at a very basic level - teaching grammar and spelling but not much else.

    Similarly a kid who isn't good at Maths can study what my kids called "veggie Maths". That way they learn the life skills needed such as how to balance a bank account, how to manage compound interest and other things like that.

    Our education system is getting better at helping kids work towards their skills and the range of possible career paths.

    We even have other options for those who chose the "veggie" route and changed their minds. There are bridging courses available including the TAFE courses which can be used to give a headstart into uni. For example, difficult child 3 is continuing to finish his high school work, but part-time. So when our students usually fiinish high school at 17, he will be 20. But at the same tie, he will be studying a TAFE course from next year. We may be able to get some of his TAFE course credited to his high school curriculum but I'm not sure. The thing is - by the time he finishes his high schooling, he should also have a TAFE diploma also. This should open up doors into university, bypassing all of first year uni and half of 2nd year. Our aim is to avoid a lot of the "push and shove" academically that happens in 1st year uni, when subjects are much more superficial and other often unnecessary subjects are also studied, while the course is still very general. difficult child 3 is going to need specific directed study, not the broader stuff.

    When I was a student there were fewer options through school. Now we have more choices depending on a kid's abilities as well as interests.

    One girl I know was perhaps one of the brightest kids in our area, but she chose the veggie subjects route because she was going to be a professional singer. So why study?

    And now she's over 25, the entry requirements to various courses are relaxed anyway. So after 25, you can pretty much enrol in what you want, after you've provedan interest in it and a capability. Some courses (such as medicine or vet science) won't accept you unless you've done a bridging course and done well in it. At Sydney Uni you can do a basic health sciences degree first, then you enrol in Medicine. From myrecollections of the way things were done with Science and with Medicine years ago, this current system can only be an improvement.

  12. MyFriendKita

    MyFriendKita Member

    I took her point to be money spent on special education is a waste, because those kids will never be able to hold more than a minimum wage job. My point was, there is a middle ground.
  13. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    No question that there is a middle ground. It isn't a case of either educated chidlren with difficulties, or educate TAG children.

    What is happening in large areas of the country since No Child Left Behind is that the focus has shifted over to lower-achieving children and "teaching to the tests".

    Not only are TAG kids missing out, but so are middle-scoring kids. In school districts with very limited funds, they are forced to choose between TAG and SPED students. There simply isn't enough money to provide appropriate educational settings for both.

    With today's political climate, especially as involves the funding of education via property taxes, shifting money out of SPED becomes problematic.

    My comment on "janitors vs. scientists" was meant to imply both ends of the spectrum. But, it is a fundamental fact that part of reason so many highly skilled technical/professional jobs have gone overseas is not just monetary, but because our students lag so far behind those of other countries that we simply cannot produce a qualified internal pool for these positions.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    That's true. And with our economy in the shape it's in now, even more budget cuts are expected- at least here. That means even less for schools and mental health and Department of Juvenile Justice. (That's about all I keep up with.)