All Children Are Gifted

School districts in the United States provide a different academic track for students deemed advanced compared to their peers. The notion that there are children especially endowed with superior intellect is widely accepted as truth. Yet, as Wendy Berliner and Deborah Eyre say in "Great Minds and How to Grow Them", most children are capable of high academic performance. Even "Big Nate" of Lincoln Peirce claims that it is all a matter of wanting to become one.

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Comics! Roo's Comics

The fact that enrollment in advanced academic programs throughout the United States can be easily traced to parents providing excellent opportunities and preparation for academics to their children strongly supports the idea that academic performance can be nurtured. Schools therefore should be able to do so much more than what parents could. Sadly, schools tend to marginally add to what parents have done already. As a result, academic achievement gaps only increase with years of education.

Worrying about excellence gaps is not just about the under-representation of groups like Blacks, Hispanics, and children from low-income families. It should be seriously disconcerting that society is failing to bring every child to their potential especially when both Berliner and Eyre point out that most of society's trail brazers are not among those selected early as gifted during their childhood years.

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Pocket Worthy

And there is plenty of research that provides evidence how malleable our brains are. Sorting children in the early years does great harm to all children, in my opinion. Such exercise is not only inequitable but is also delivering a wrong message to our young learners. Schools should focus more on instilling the love of learning to all children. By segregating children and labeling them as either "gifted" or "not gifted", schools are promoting the idea that only scores or grades matter. And when these children reach higher education, it takes a lot of effort to refocus them on what really counts in education. I have a slide that I always show my students during our first meeting but, I am betting, it will take a lot more time to unlearn what they have embraced during their basic education years.