While doing some background research on a group called the East Meets West Foundation, I came across a fascinating press release about the new Kon Ray Boarding School in Vietnam. Providing an adequate education for the ethnic minority students in Vietnam's central highlands has long been a problem for this developing country. Families are scattered, which means that kids have to walk long distances to go to school. With poverty as an additional obstacle, many wind up dropping out. So USAID has helped to fund the new Kon Ray Boarding School, which has provided lodging and education for 180 students this past school year.
It certainly sounds like a good solution to the problem. Of course, as readers of this blog know, there are students a lot closer to home whose needs are not being met in their local schools either. Over the past three years, Gifted Exchange has covered the issue of boarding schools for gifted kids several times. While big cities can have magnet schools which concentrate highly or profoundly gifted children, in less populous areas, this becomes more difficult, with kids either needing to travel long distances, or else forgo an education with their intellectual peers. Some families move -- for instance, to be closer to the Davidson Academy in Reno, a school for profoundly gifted children -- but often this is not an option (either because of parents' jobs, or because other siblings are having their needs met locally).
In these cases, public boarding schools for gifted kids can be a great option. About a dozen states have public residential schools for gifted high school students -- usually those in their junior and senior years -- though there's no reason these couldn't cover other years as well. So reading this press release, I'm struck by the question: if we think this is a good policy decision in Vietnam (and I think it probably is), why don't we see more such schools here in the States?