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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Whackademia Quote: Ignore the Bright Students, Focus on the Rest

     It's no secret that when it comes to education, America gets a D-minus. In the most recent global tests--scored on a 1,000-point scale--the U.S. scored a 481 in math, 497 in science, and 498 in reading comprehension. In comparison, international averages were 494, 501, and 496, and the U.S. lags well behind the world's leaders, a list which includes some of the usual suspects like China, Japan and the Netherlands, but also has Latvia, Slovenia and Vietnam.

     Why is the world's largest economy so bad at teaching its children? One growing school of thought is the the U.S. education system, and its laudable quest to make sure the worst students reach minimal standards, is cheating its best pupils….

     For years, teachers have operated under the assumption that gifted children--the tiny group smarter than 99.99 percent of their peers--need and deserve less attention than the kids in remedial classes….Teachers more or less ignore gifted children, instead teaching to a one-size fits-all curriculum that caters to the lowest common denominator….

     A 2008 report found that the controversial No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 indeed helped low-achieving students to rise to meet a more rigorous course load, but shifted teacher's sights away from the gifted kids….

Chris Weller, "America Hates Its Gifted Kids," Newsweek, January 16, 2014 

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