Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Un-Gifted

My almost 8 year old son was recently tested for placement in his school's GT (gifted and talented) program we are awaiting the results, but I have received some indications that he did not qualify. As a former teacher I am fully aware of how much of a joke this school district's GT program is, but still one hour of stimulating lesson plans a week is better than nothing. As a former "GT" student I am fully aware of how much it is not only a joke, but also how little being labeled "GT" really means to one's future success.

I know all this, logically I get that it really is no big deal, BUT when its your kid up for scrutiny you can't help but want others to see in them what you see. I can't help but be just a little disappointed that he didn't get in.

This kid is literally one of the smartest people I know, he can play music by ear, and well, I could go on an on, but I'll spare you. What I have been told (when I worked for this school district) is that there is a certain type of "GT" that they are looking for when they do the testing!?!? What, so they only have the desire to (attempt to) meet the needs of a certain type of student? What is to become of the rest of the riff-raff? In looking at the way this school looks at "GT" one could only assume that most of the world's population would not qualify, the fact that we don't see fit to take everyone else's learning one step further, to promote creative thinking, and to offer differing perspectives to the vast majority speaks volumes for our education system. Would we not be better served to also offer up the best to everyone else, since our world is mostly made up of everyone else?

In a conversation I had with my son's teacher a few weeks ago, she expressed to me her sincere hope that he would qualify because he so obviously needs something more, she can tell he gets bored and doesn't have to apply himself to learn the subject matter they present him. He also doesn't have the most accomodating personality so when he gets bored he becomes a major pain in the ass. Then just a few breaths later, she suggested that he has attentional issues and that maybe I should talk to his pediatrician about it because she just doesn't know how they will get him to sit thorough the entire TAKS test in 3rd grade. ) That, roughly translated, means "please drug your kid into submission so we can better deal with him." I must say that she did think he'll still be able to pass the test, but the more kids they can get to receive a "commended" rating, the better their standing with the state. I could blog for days about the pitfalls of teaching for the discrete skill memorization and regurgitation that the emphasis on standardized testing has led us to, not to mention how many more kids are alienated by this type of teaching, but then I'd be getting horribly off topic and I might never stop.

On that note, I'll go attend to my average, un-gifted, run-of-the-mill kids!


My Darling Kito said...

There is nothing average or run-of-the-mill about your kids, especially knowing that they came from you! It's the education system that is stupid. Really, really dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dummy dumb dumb system! - "DA in TX"

Jennifer said...

I am so very lucky we live in a great school district. They are a one school district of about 300 kids k-12. We moved from a large metro school area about a year ago and the differences in schools, policies, teachers, attitudes, etc are OFF THE CHARTS different. I was hesitant to move my 2nd grader to such a small school when he had so many problems to begin with but, now I never want to move him out of this one! I understand where you're coming from-it's frustrating to see your kids needs "more" and not be able to get it for him! Who knows, maybe he'll get in-after all, the results aren't in YET! :)

monike said...

that is such BS. i wish there were a school for the gifted for sean. he is obviously talented in a much different way.

i know how you feel about the GT program...i got in when i was in fifth grade, but i honestly think they fudged my results. i failed it in third and fourth grade.

did you happen to watch the videos i put on my blog? i get really annoyed when i think of how school systems don't accommodate kids who are talented in other ways. you don't have to be good at math and science to be considered smart.