Let’s Raise the Academic Ceiling for Gifted Children

Chester E. Finn and Brandon L. Wright, fellows at the Fordham Institute have an issue with the “No Child Left Behind” program put forth by our government. The results show it is marginally helping weak students reach low levels of proficiency while at the same time neglecting to push gifted students in the same demographic group to excel. For this reason we see the youth in our nation fall farther and farther behind their global peers. What does this mean for the future? If we don’t take the education of children who can and wish to excel seriously then we will watch as other countries surpass us in producing the scientists, artists, leaders, inventors and entrepreneurs of tomorrow. How do children in a public school setting get the education they deserve?

All students should be screened at a young age and the gifted should be given more challenges. These children could also be allowed to move through curriculum at their own pace and not be stuck in a grade just because of their age. Extra-curricular and social activities could still be age specific. School systems should not only track the low achievers to chart their progress but also follow the gifted to find out what specifics help them to surge forward. School districts can also admit children to schools based on academic potential. It has been discovered that gifted low-income students need this type of support and encouragement at an early age.

For the homeschoolers reading this, you already know the advantages of giving children free rein to learn at their own speed. These children not only excel but they gain confidence, discover what they are passionate about in life at an early age and they readily understand the value of working to be a productive member of our society locally and globally.

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