No Child Left Behind and Gifted Children

No Child Left Behind and Gifted Children
My guest author for this week's article is Kristen Houghton, Litt.D.
Her article addresses the concerns over the inequality of federally funding for the Gifted Programs.

Kristen Houghton is a writer and award-winning educator. She is an educational consultant and the editor of School Reform for BellaOnline. Dr. Houghton is a strong proponent of the Humanities and Gifted Programs in public and private schools.

Here is her article:

ESEA, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 established laudable goals, high standards and accountability for the education of all children. It was designed to provide a “fair and equitable” education in public schools and was a noble endeavor. Monies for individual programs, such as Gifted and Talented, and for all levels of learning, were disbursed for this purpose.

But, today, there are children who are not receiving their fair share of educational monies. This is in part due to the renaming and restructuring of ESEA in 2001. The program came back with a new title, No Child Left Behind, and a new “improved” policy. It is geared solely to those children who are seen to be under achieving academically.

Who are the ones not being treated fairly by the federally funded NCLB law?
They are the children who have been identified as academically advanced and placed in the Gifted and Talented programs in public schools. Monies from federal funds are required to go to NCLB and thus the Gifted programs are short-funded.

It is unfortunate that the government feels so strongly that all children must learn and achieve in the same manner. This is impossible to implement as all do not, and cannot, learn at the same level. Instead of improving the Gifted programs for those students who have advanced abilities and strong talents, the NCLB gears it's resources to trying to achieve an unattainable goal.

No one is given the same hand to play in life. Students are no exception. To restrain advanced children from learning is abominable at best and idiotic at worst. The gifted child is in danger of receiving an inadequate, unfair and inequitable education simply due to the fact that they are advanced!

The gifted child is not being academically challenged because resources are being used for NCLB and that is a shame. The Gifted programs have no financial support or educators to facilitate the process of challenging and encouraging the gifted child.

Certainly we have a responsibility to provide a quality education for all children but the gifted child should not be penalized for being bright, inquisitive, and intelligent and that is what NCLB seems to be doing.

It is unfortunate that NCLB wants to see all students as created equally. That never has, and never will be the case. Individuality and individual levels of learning are a real fact. Nothing about learning is ever really equal.

Education should fit the child, not the other way around. Education will never be equitable in all ways. It should, however, have to be fair to all.

copyright 2007 iTeach! by Kristen Houghton all rights reserved.
No part of this article may be reproduced or copied without the expressed written permission of Kristen Houghton

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