I get lots of catalogs in the mail, one of which happens to be Title Nine, a maker of women's athletic clothing. I opened the current edition to see founder Missy Park listing "My definition of insanity." It was an 8 part list, with such things as "Any diet with one ingredient," and "our tax code" and... "'Gifted' children...How do they know??"
It's a bit puzzling, really. I mean, there are several ways they know. Some children really do exhibit exceptional intellectual abilities, at a very young age. And if that's not enough, there are multiple tests that have been rigorously prepared and studied that can ascertain when someone's IQ is outside the norm and there is a high probability he/she will need accommodations to meet her academic needs.
But of course, I think Park was coming at this from the perspective that it is patently absurd. Who could fathom such a thing as "gifted" children? I am quite curious what she thinks of the comments that several Davidson Institute bulletin board readers left on the online version of the list. I can sympathize to a degree. When I worked for Reader's Digest, writing the "Only in America" section, I once made a mocking list of "Museums Not To Build Your Vacation Around." I included a mustard museum, with the snarky line "thousands of mustards, not a hot dog in sight." Suddenly, there was a letter writing campaign to Reader's Digest from fans of this particular mustard museum. Dozens upon dozens. I kid you not. I was surprised, and I imagine Park is surprised that what she considered a throwaway line drew such ire.
On the other hand, I think giftedness is well enough established in educational research and pedagogy that it doesn't need quote marks around it. I do wonder why a catalog going after women who think it's OK to bust the norm (on the athletic side of things) would insult children who are busting the norm on another side of things. It's as if someone scoffed "Athletic children... how do they know??" Well... look at someone like Tiger Woods. That's how they know.