Yes, this is the second post of the day, but I wanted to get this one up before the weekend (and the early school dismissal on account of snow).
Out in St. Louis, the city school system is looking to open a second gifted elementary school, according to this article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
On one hand, this is great. I'm always glad to see schools trying to meet gifted kids' needs. On the other hand, the tone of this article points to two big problems with gifted education as it currently exists.
First, the article notes that there are hundreds of students on the waiting list for the gifted program. This means that gifted education isn't being treated as an intervention for kids who need it. It is a special program for those lucky enough to get in.
Second, the school system is explicitly using the existence of a gifted program as a way to keep middle-class families in the city schools. Again, this makes gifted education about special treatment--a situation that is ripe for resentment. All children deserve a good education; some children just need to move at a different pace than others.
As we've talked about many times on this blog, gifted education should be about matching students with an education appropriate to their needs. It should not be considered "better" than what other kids get. While I'm glad St. Louis is taking gifted education seriously, this seems to be the underlying assumption, at least according to the people quoted in this article.