Georgia Tries Acceleration
I've been hearing some sad stories about gifted education programs in Georgia lately from parents. So I'm pleased to read in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the easiest, cheapest form of gifted education -- acceleration -- is increasingly on the table. You can read the story here.
While few school districts downright forbid acceleration, they often use it only when parents insist, or when a kid moves to the district and there's no clear record of what he/she was doing before. Even in these cases, the parents often face alarmist stories about "one child" who was accelerated years ago and was consequently screwed up for the rest of his/her life. That's too bad because, as the recent report A Nation Deceived showed, acceleration is not only good for kids academically, it's fine for them socially, too. If "one child" was harmed by it at some point in the mythical past, there are 10 kids who are being harmed more by leaving them in the grades that their birthdates sentence them to.
According to the AJC article, a Georgia panel last year recommended that districts consider acceleration in their guidelines, and noted the "unequivocal" benefits. Ohio, the article also notes, recently required its 600 school systems to create policies saying how kids can go about skipping grades (for instance, the Iowa Acceleration Scale gives parents and teachers an idea of what grade a child is ready for). Since acceleration is cheap, effective, and doesn't share the political baggage of so much of gifted education (that it's a "special" program, or a reward, and therefore should be bestowed upon all motivated children regardless of actual intelligence), this is good news all around.