“Gifted”

I’m putting it in quotes.

That’s what I feel about it.  The way NYC does gifted, is that children are tested when they are 4 (!) and put into gifted classes where they stay until high school.  That is so dumb.  As though kids don’t change.

I don’t believe one can tell if a child is gifted until he or she is about eight years old.

All of this is to say that Cakie’s teacher pulled me aside to ask me why I didn’t put him in gifted.  Ummm.   Yeah.  Because I think it is silly?  I think it is a way to pull rich folk into to public schools.  Because I hate how the “gifted” fifth graders are so sick of each other they want to puke because they’ve been in the same class all the way through school.   Because I want my son to work hard, not just think he’s smart.  Because I want him to not feel like he has to be perfect at everything, or else he gives up.  (Ok, he’s already like that.  But no need to fan the fire.)  Because my school is full of gifted kids who are not in the gifted program.

But then…. there is one part of me that is curious as to how well he’d do on that test.  There is one part of me that would like to see him at the school run by my friend, that only has gifted classes in it, so it wouldn’t be that same isolation/ I’m-in-the-smart-kids’-class attitude.  There’s a part of me that wonders what it would be like if he went to the gifted school in Manhattan that goes all the way up to high school, so I wouldn’t have to stress out about getting him in to a good middle school or high school.

What’s your take on it?

 

PS I was both flattered and appalled by this little chat.  I’m hoping he isn’t acting up, or being snarky.

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6 Comments

Filed under Parenting the school boy, teaching

6 responses to ““Gifted”

  1. nutella

    Wow, 4 is way early. I do think that for some kids, being in a “gifted” learning environment can be helpful. But that has more to do with curriculums that fit learning styles than it does with being smart. I was tested and put into my school system’s “gifted” track in 3rd grade, and it made a very real difference to me. I was the kid that got bored with rote learning and homework and resented busy work. Once I learned something, I learned it and was ready to move on. And if I didn’t “get it” first than no amount of repetition was going to help.

    All of this is to say that I suppose you know your kid better than any test can determine. Learn as much as you can about your options and then pick what’s best for him.

  2. Yeah. I think some kids can really benefit from a different environment. But it shouldn’t happen when they are 4. 8 is a good age. At 4 it is all about the parents’ ego.

  3. Yeah. Totally. Completely.

    You’ve read Nurture Shock, right? They quote the study about how there is actually NO PROOF AT ALL of the testing at age 4 paying off in the long run AT ALL AT ALL.

    Um. What schools are those last two you mention…? ahem. Not that I care. Public school/gifted issues scare the bejeebers out of me so thoroughly I doubt I will ever be able to break out of private. But still… names? numbers?

  4. Eva

    Well, I agree with you. I think it’s BS–4 is waaay too young but on the other hand, I would be curious to see how Baby Jay does on that test and I don’t want to pay for private school. What did you and A decide? xo Yes, I know this comment was not helpful but wanted to give you a SHOUT!

  5. inlocoparentis

    I was in the gifted program from kindergarten through high school. I was not so good at sports, a little goofy, but I always knew I was smart. You know, because I was in the gifted program. My parents held me to this standard, and I was always very successful academically (I graduated third in my high school class with a full load of AP honors classes), summa cum laude from college and law school.

    Once, when I was home from college, I was looking for my birth certificate and discovered a file with all my test scores. Apparently I was not gifted at all according to the tests (many of them, over the years), but rather on the low end of average. My mother essentially wore down the principal to get me into those gifted classes – I didn’t belong there. I do think it made a difference in how I viewed myself as a child, and also gave me the type of educational foundation and advantages that benefitted me in the long run.

    I guess the point of this story is that even though being in the gifted classes means nothing, sometimes it means something to kids. Just throwing my crazy story into the mix.

    • hmm… this is actually very interesting. Maybe the Pygmalion effect? Anyway, i support you on the part about being in gifted classes being important to kids. I try hard not to get stuck up, because i know that giftedness isn’t just about how smart you are, it’s different.

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