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    #247698 - 10/14/20 09:21 AM The Politics of Gifted Education
    thx1138 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/30/12
    Posts: 96
    Well I hope I'm allowed to talk about this here. I can't really think of anywhere else to broach this topic. I don't want to spread doom and gloom. At the same time, I've predicted this for years. The woke have come for the gifted. As we can see in this series of 3 articles with the heading "Gifted Education's Race Problem".

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/gifted-education-race

    Can someone come up with a way to frame this? That can fit in a 170 character tweet? That passes a focus group?

    It all just makes me feel like, the gifted, the kid, the parents, we are on our own. Society is not going to help us. Quite the opposite in fact. At least for the foreseeable time frame of our childrens' childhoods.

    My kids are both DYS. But our local DYS google group, despite having 300 members, has few posts. Resource hoarding is big in our area. Better not discuss things lest other parents find your tutor or class and take your kids spot at Stanford. Even within gifted we lack community.





    Edited by thx1138 (10/15/20 04:35 PM)

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    #247700 - 10/14/20 12:13 PM Re: The Politics of Gifted Education [Re: thx1138]
    cricket3 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 11/02/09
    Posts: 672
    Resource hoarding- it is ugly, and commonplace here as well. I don’t have a solution, only commiseration. It really destroyed our relatively small community. Much of it externally imposed, but certainly not all; prevalent in the parents, but carries down into the children. We, speaking as parents but also for our kids, ended up feeling very alone and isolated, despite the potential for some like-mindedness. My solution, despite the strong inclination to improve things for the generation to come, was to bow out.

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    #247701 - 10/15/20 05:55 AM Re: The Politics of Gifted Education [Re: thx1138]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 64
    Loc: Australia
    In my experience, resource hoarding is mainly by aspirational families rather than the very highly gifted. As a family, we appreciate that our best resource is our collective mind and we share wide, deep, challenging discussions which exercise and stretch our individual intellects. We’ve always been very happy to share. When my eldest was at high school, her mobile phone constantly buzzed with requests for help from all her classmates and she’d always respond even when she had her own tasks to do. Her generosity paid off - when she started Uni, she became one of the most highly sought tutors in our local area (many of her students are the offspring of teachers).

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    #247702 - 10/15/20 10:08 AM Re: The Politics of Gifted Education [Re: thx1138]
    thx1138 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/30/12
    Posts: 96
    So there are two issues here, both loosely under the issue of community relations. The first is relation to the public community at large, as expressed in school educational policies. That are seeing further erosion or elimination of gifted programs as some kind of solution. As of this fourth post in the thread, this has not seen further discussion. Maybe because people fear being outed or doxxed... Though this forum is somewhat anonymous and in fact that's why I'm using it for this controversial topic.

    The second issue is turning then to the gifted community. (Which of course may be further subdivided into, HG vs. PG... but let's not go there...) Its great to hear positive experiences like Eagle Mum's. Though also there are less positive stories like cricket3 and thx1138 have related.

    I'm not sure this is a way through in the short term, but the third article is entitled "Which kids are most likely to succeed in school? Scientists say genes offer a clue" https://www.nbcnews.com/news/education/n...-their-n1243152

    There's now a startup in Silicon Valley that purposes to use DNA to measure some aspects of cognitive ability. https://www.cognidna.com/ However, to my knowledge they are giving the gifted community a wide berth, simply marketing themselves as helping you predict some of your child's abilities so you can plan ahead. I don't expect the word IQ to appear on their website.

    This forum being "THINKING BIG About Gifted Education", I can't say if or when we might get there, but if and as the AI works out, it could inform gene targets for China to genetically engineer smarter babies. Even, is there hope for recombinant DNA to improve my IQ?

    In the medium term though, circling back to the original article, if IQ can be estimated straight from DNA, how will that inform gifted education? It might solve the racial issue the first two articles raise. "You can't study for this IQ test." So minorities could step up to proportionate representation, with gifted assessment based purely on nature and not nurture. No possibility of test bias, or parents cheating by test prep or having their kid study harder, or having more books in the house.

    But what if it such a test generates data that is not politically correct? Lately it seems that science is not even allowed to ask certain questions, let alone research them.

    It does sound like a science fiction novel, to envision a school district that says "we have a gifted program, admitting students based purely on their DNA."


    Edited by thx1138 (10/15/20 05:15 PM)

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    #247705 - 10/15/20 10:29 PM Re: The Politics of Gifted Education [Re: thx1138]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4299
    Originally Posted By: thx1138
    Can someone come up with a way to frame this? That can fit in a 170 character tweet? That passes a focus group?
    As a starting point, unpacking, de-constructing, and analyzing the contents of the articles may be helpful.

    Beginning with the headline for the 1st of the 3 articles, "America's gifted education programs have a race problem. Can it be fixed? White children and those from wealthy families are more likely to be identified as "gifted" — despite decades of effort to make these programs more equal."

    1) "America's gifted education programs have a race problem."
    The article seems to explain that it is considered to be a problem if the proportion of students of each race/ethnicity identified as gifted and/or in a gifted program and/or receiving gifted services does not match the overall proportion of students of that race/ethnicity in the population.

    Is this a sound premise?

    - Does this meet the needs of the individual child, for learning in the zone of proximal development, and for intellectual peers?

    - Do sports teams, at the school level, the professional level, the elite level of the Olympics choose their members based on quotas for race/ethnicity? Or for characteristics related to aptitude, ability, potential, performance, such as height, speed, condition, health screening?

    - I will suggest that it is obvious that the quota-based approach meets neither the needs of the individual nor the team. Imposing/accepting a quota system signals a societal change from valuing the individual as self-determining, to valuing casting the government in the role of decision-maker, placing the government in control of capping the academic/intellectual growth of students from "over-represented" racial/ethnic groups.

    2) "Can it be fixed?"
    I will suggest that gifted education can be fixed by valuing meeting the needs of the pupil, for both challenge-level curriculum in their zone of proximal development, and academic/intellectual peers. Measure continued growth.

    3) "White children and those from wealthy families are more likely to be identified as "gifted" — despite decades of effort to make these programs more equal."
    This statement bundles and/or conflates race/ethnicity with social-economic-status (SES).

    From paragraph 5 -
    "...an IQ test children take as young as 4, that experts say keep gifted education out of reach for kids who need it."
    It is my understanding that identification is most accurate and effective if it utilizes several measures. That said, if an IQ test is keeping kids out of a gifted program, it seems obvious that either the child does not need or would not benefit from the program OR the identification criteria should be changed so that children who need and/or would benefit from the program are admitted.

    From paragraph 3 -
    "Unlike at Olmsted, the highest-scoring elementary school in the city, students at Eve scored around the dismal city average in math and English in 2019, when fewer than a quarter of students passed state tests."
    One might expect that if the needs of the individual students were being met at Eve, with students being regarded as self-determining and taught at a challenge level in their zone of proximal development, then the student performance scores would improve both individually and as a group.



    I will read further and continue to reflect on the linked articles, as time allows. Meanwhile, I hope more will post their thoughts! In unpacking and analyzing the article's various statements, I am seeking to separate fact from fiction, point out inconsistencies, assumptions, and biases presented by the article's author. Essentially, unfounded statements which we have all been conditioned to accept.

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    #247707 - 10/16/20 09:20 AM Re: The Politics of Gifted Education [Re: thx1138]
    thx1138 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/30/12
    Posts: 96
    When this Hechinger Institute leads off with headlines like these...

    "Getting rid of gifted programs"
    "Gifted classes drive inequality"
    "How gifted education is driving racial divides"

    ... you know, calling us all racists is not a helpful way to start a conversation. It makes me feel Hechinger is not interested in a conversation, but in advancing some kind of pogrom waged against the gifted. The articles do have a few interesting notions within them, but the overall framing, and sensationalized headlines, are deeply problematic.

    Here is their latest:
    https://hechingerreport.org/getting-rid-...r-in-one-class/

    Just now I am too hurt by their broadside on my person, family, children, and gifted community, to write a rational response, but they do claim "At The Hechinger Report, we publish thoughtful letters from readers that contribute to the ongoing discussion about the education topics we cover." if anyone is feeling up to it.

    Thank you indigo for your considered thoughts.



    Edited by thx1138 (10/16/20 09:21 AM)

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    #247708 - 10/16/20 10:50 AM Re: The Politics of Gifted Education [Re: indigo]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4299
    Continuing with article 1:
    "America's gifted education programs have a race problem. Can it be fixed?"
    by Danielle Dreilinger,
    The Hechinger Report,
    October 14, 2020,
    published by NBCnews.

    From paragraph 8 -
    "Gifted education has racism in its roots: Lewis Terman, the psychologist who in the 1910s popularized the concept of “IQ” that became the foundation of gifted testing, was a eugenicist. And admissions for gifted programs tend to favor children with wealthy, educated parents, who are more likely to be white."

    These two sentences jump about 100 years and present a discrediting conclusion about today's IQ tests and admissions criteria, which is expected to be accepted by readers as fact.

    The first sentence decries eugenics. An informative article at Stanford Daily helps us place the statement about Terman (1877-1956) in context:
    Originally Posted By: Stanford Daily
    Terman is best known for developing the Stanford-Binet IQ test, a development which made both him and Stanford University well-known throughout the United States. Terman’s interest in intelligence... was motivated and shaped by Terman’s deep belief in eugenics.

    ... He was a firm believer in attempts to improve the human race through selective and restrictive breeding.
    To be philosophically consistent, those who decry eugenics would oppose the modern-day applications of science in DNA testing, sperm banks, in-vitro fertilization and selective implanting, and more. They would also oppose abortion (promoted by Terman's contemporary, Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) as a means of eugenics). Margaret Sanger shared her views in this half-hour interview with Mike Wallace.

    In considering the formation of one's own views on eugenics and myriad other topics, each person should be informed and cultivate the ability to recognize philosophical consistency and inconsistency in society, in articles and statements, in others, and in self. To borrow an idea from later on in the article, this may be considered as putting on one of Edward de Bono's six recommended thinking hats for varied perspectives... specifically the blue "Big Picture" hat.

    Looking at the second sentence:
    "And admissions for gifted programs tend to favor children with wealthy, educated parents, who are more likely to be white."
    By virtue of beginning with the word "And," this sentence is bundled with the first sentence, regarding eugenics.
    The rest of this second sentence may be seen as giving anthropomorphic characteristics to the tests and/or admissions criteria, while casting people as passive entities being sorted by wealth, level of parental education, and skin color/race/ethnicity. It is a bit of creative writing which could be stated more plainly, factually and without implying the falsehood that correlation means causation.

    To address the fact that some test questions may not provide meaningful measurements of native intelligence, IQ, aptitude, ability, achievement: science is never settled. There will always be more to learn, more refinements to be made. However, to retro-fit test questions to yield uniform scores/results among various race, ethnic, and SES may require abandoning valid and meaningful measurements altogether.


    More later, as time allows.

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    #247710 - 10/17/20 07:44 AM Re: The Politics of Gifted Education [Re: indigo]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4299
    Continuing with article 1:
    "America's gifted education programs have a race problem. Can it be fixed?"
    by Danielle Dreilinger,
    The Hechinger Report,
    October 14, 2020,
    published by NBCnews.

    Having the feeling that several thoughts had occurred to me which had not yet been posted, I once again began reading the article from the top.

    Paragraphs 2 & 3 compare and contrast two schools, in this manner:

    Paragraph 2 describes an activity engaged in by 22 fourth graders at one school. Paragraph 3 immediately follows with a description of a simpler activity engaged in by 13 students at a different school. While readers contemplate the differences in activities, the article mentions that the first school has the highest test scores, while the second school barely has 25% proficiency.

    In this presentation of the material, a detail may be lost on readers: the student activity described at the first school was being undertaken by FOURTH grade students, while the simpler activity at the second school was being undertaken by FIRST grade students. This is an invalid comparison. Readers should not accept the author's implication that the schools present different curriculum, lesson plans, and activities.

    Readers should note that the author chose to compare/contrast 4th graders with 1st graders, and ask why.

    For all we know, the 4th graders at both schools may have been engaged in the same activity simultaneously, in "airy" classrooms, while the first graders at both schools may have been engaged the same activity simultaneously, in "basement" classrooms conducive to running around, chasing paper airplanes, and being loud without disrupting other classes in session.


    More later, as time allows.


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    #247712 - 10/18/20 05:42 AM Re: The Politics of Gifted Education [Re: indigo]
    Eagle Mum Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/24/20
    Posts: 64
    Loc: Australia
    I like your comments.

    Designing & testing paper aeroplanes is an excellent activity for gifted first graders. My DS was an origami whiz in kindergarten and went through a paper aeroplane craze in first grade. He learnt a lot about engineering from self exploration of this activity.

    I’m no longer a fan of separate programs for gifted and mainstream students. Wherever possible, I think resources should enable ALL kids to reach their full potential. Both of the activities described in the article would have enriched students across a wide range of abilities. My kids attend(ed) local schools. Except for the first few years of schooling for my eldest, they aren’t/weren’t in any special gifted programs - their teachers were just very flexible and also looked for digital programs that enabled self paced learning. DS is a poster child for our local school. I’ve lost count of the number of families who have transferred from selective and private schools because he’s demonstrated it’s possible to succeed in a mainstream environment.

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    #247717 - 10/21/20 08:25 AM Re: The Politics of Gifted Education [Re: thx1138]
    indigo Offline
    Member

    Registered: 04/27/13
    Posts: 4299
    Continuing with article 1:
    "America's gifted education programs have a race problem. Can it be fixed?"
    by Danielle Dreilinger,
    The Hechinger Report,
    October 14, 2020,
    published by NBCnews.

    This article links to a Purdue report, "System Failure - Access Denied, Gifted Education in the United States"
    - Downloaded the 6-page Executive Summary.
    - Downloaded the 209-page Full Report.

    By sheer volume, there are lots of pages to read and digest in the Purdue report. However a quick skim does not reveal new concepts and ideas... just reiterates/reinforces the shift in wording (from: students having a "need" for curriculum at their zone of proximal development ... which may be at a different level for intellectually "gifted" than for most age-mates... to: other entities, such as schools, organizations, demographic populations having a "need" to meet an externally imposed accountability requirement to identify proportionally equivalent numbers of students as having "gifts and talents"... and/or to reveal "gifts and talents" in all pupils).

    In this evolutionary change of wording, it appears as though the national conversation on "gifted education" is:
    1) no longer student-centered (what does each student "need")
    2) no longer focused on intellectual giftedness

    The Purdue report material may take some time to wade through.

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