The Washington Post's Jay Mathews tackles the issue of acceleration in his Class Matters post today, called "Why Grade Skipping Should Be Back in Fashion."
Noting research from Belin-Blank (and also citing Gifted Exchange!) Mathews argues what we long have: that acceleration is a budget-friendly and effective way to challenge gifted kids. It is often better than the short pull-out sessions that pass for gifted education these days, and also avoids most of the political issues around gifted education: namely, that gifted kids get "special" stuff like trips to science museums, more fun classes, etc. With acceleration, they get the same education as everyone else. Just earlier.
Yet few schools have embraced acceleration. We have this notion that children do best when they are around kids of the same age, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. For most of the history of education, classrooms were multi-age. Kids learn at home too, and play with their brothers and sisters of different ages. A mere glance around a 6th grade classroom will find that 12-year-olds can be at vastly different stages of development anyway. Furthermore, few adults have such restrictions on our working and social relationships. I am glad to have friends who are both older and younger than me, and I'm not sure why schools are so averse to similar things.