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Gary Thornock's Weblog » Most gifted children get left behind
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7th Jan, 2006

Most gifted children get left behind


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Yesterday the Senate Site posted a link to this editorial on the harmful effects of NCLB on the education of gifted children.

Whether intentionally or not, the end result of NCLB or any similar effort to "close the achievement gap" will be that the highest achievers are held back as the system caters to the lowest common denominator. No Child Left Behind becomes, in effect, "No Child Gets Ahead".

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Responses


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I always felt when I was in k-12, that the teacher was teaching to just a bit above the level of the child in the back of the class that was drooling on the desk. While I don't object to this child also receiving an education, I always wondered why it meant that I had to be so bored. I never really felt challenged til I attended BYU. I remember in my high school physics class, we covered 12 thin chapters out of the book in the entire school year. At BYU we covered 15 thick chapters out of a different physics book in one semester. And the difference in the quality of learning is much greater than the numbers would indicate. I really understood physics MUCH better after that semester.

And now it sound like it will even be worse.


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Efforts like NCLB take away flexibility from teachers, requiring them to devote so much of their attention to tbe low end of the curve that they can't do nearly enough for everyone else. That's not a reflection on the quality of the teachers, it's the requirements they're given. There's also far too much pressure to just "teach the test", since that's the only criteria by which the schools and the teachers will be evaluated.

What we really need is an educational system that affords every student the opportunity to succeed to the best of his or her potential. But, that requires that we do away with the whole idea of one-size-fits-all.

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