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Old 10-05-2011, 02:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma_bear View Post
Well the issue is that Americans don't necessarily see it as inappropriate. That is you bringing your cultural values here.
Nope; what I am arguing stands on the very shoulders of a quintessentially AMERICAN cultural value:
EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY. As in "at least, let them all try; put them all in the race; nature and other man-made inequalities will separate them in the end, but they should all be given the same chance".

This is indeed a noble value and no other country has ever been so committed to this value, culturally speaking, as this country.
What happens in the jungle of reality is a different story, of course. But American public schooling, defined as the Great Equalizer, is not exactly the place or the context to let that jungle spirit speak.

Separating kids by ability so early on, before they are even exposed to the ENTIRE range of the elementary curriculum means killing that equality of opportunity in its infancy.
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:24 PM
 
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I can't rep you again Syracusa but you are so right.
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formercalifornian View Post
Based on the general perception here on the C-D forums that our American public education system is a raging failure, perhaps we are unwise to dismiss her point so blithely.
I guess it is not - as long as ONE'S OWN kid is in the GT program.
Forget about principles, fairness, good will or common sense.

I am the mother of a K child who is clearly bright-to-very bright but who may NOT quite make it into the GT program next year, based on standardized testing and other rigid criteria used to create a high cut-off point for funding-related reasons. So I acknowledge my bias.

However, I can assure you that if he somehow does perform well enough to make it into that "kingly" percentile, my view of this entire issue would not change one bit. It would not be different if he was devastatingly gifted and it would not be different if he was downright slow. This is because I do believe in equality of opportunity while having no illusions on equality of outcome.
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DewDropInn View Post
What are the stakes? (Not being snarky, trying to learn.) I can assure you that the kids 40 years ago spent hours and hours a week on it as well.
I have only been coaching for 9 years. When I came in, the competition "bar" (what kids needed to know to do well) was far above what an academic team was expected to know when I was in high school (10 years before that). Since then the bar has become even higher. To get in the top spots 10 years ago they needed to know lower level undergraduate type information, now to be competitive, they need to know graduate level information.

The stakes are higher, the expectations are higher, and so are the rewards.

Additionally, when I was on one of the top 20 (not the top by a stretch) academic teams I did not do much reading beyond what I would normally do for school or hobbies. Each one of the kids on my team is expected to read two undergraduate level textbooks in their "specialty" and one graduate level by christmas by the time we pick the "A" team. Maybe you were always working at that level, most people I know were not.
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formercalifornian View Post
I'm just stymied as to what they thought they were motivating the children to do. If it was to work hard, then this isn't really about giftedness at all.
My obviously limited experience is that the majority of the "gifted" kids in the public schools I formerly worked at were just above average with both a good work ethic and exemplary behavior.
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:38 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
Algebra is a discipline like any other. It starts with very easy and ends in painfully difficult. It is what it is. The teacher teaches all levels of difficulty and then lets the kids perform. Why can't all children be exposed to Algebra A-Z? Why can other countries do that? Explain that.
Because lots of other countries TRACK.

I lived in Asia for years, went to school there as well. Some of the "best" school systems in the world. They also HEAVILY track starting in first grade.
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
Nope; what I am arguing stands on the very shoulders of a quintessentially AMERICAN cultural value:
EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY. As in "at least, let them all try; put them all in the race; nature and other man-made inequalities will separate them in the end, but they should all be given the same chance".

This is indeed a noble value and no other country has ever been so committed to this value, culturally speaking, as this country.
What happens in the jungle of reality is a different story, of course. But American public schooling, defined as the Great Equalizer, is not exactly the place or the context to let that jungle spirit speak.

Separating kids by ability so early on, before they are even exposed to the ENTIRE range of the elementary curriculum means killing that equality of opportunity in its infancy.
The opportunity is there in a tracking system by allowing students to move from one track to another with ease based on their skills.

What you are advocating for is the equivalent of sink or swim for kids with IQS ranging from low 80s to 150. That is neither fair nor kind way to teach. It maybe the most realistic in terms of what they will face as adults but the idea that letting lower IQ kids just "sink" with shame and frustration while the higher end kids get what they "need" is ridiculous.
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
Unfortunately, this answer - like all the others - is equally evasive and continues to repeat the mantra that "some are smarter than others" all while ignoring the fact that I agree on this. In the end, it simply fails to address the question: why can't the "average Joes" be at least exposed to advanced academics along with the GT kids? Why can't they all have a GT day instead of only an "elite club" being pulled out on Fridays?
I do not think this model is effective at all. I prefer the complete tracking method. Children are grouped by skill level first in each subject and not age. Additionally, this is not a pull out. All of those kids are taught together all day everyday in that subject. There is no elitism when it is entirely based on skill level.

Quote:
If I go to another country tomorrow to have what's done there, this will not change the reality that the question remains pertinent to the US educational system as a whole. This is not about where I could go to get what I want.

It is about the developmental inappropriateness of separating children into ability levels so early on and to teach different curricula based on this early separation.
Uh, what someone's skill level is should NOT determine what they are taught? How does that make sense?

I think the idea of AGE based learning for any child is RIDICULOUS. Never are individual differences greater than elementary school. Grouping children by age is what is creating a false sense of difference. For example kids enter kindergarten at all different levels, some can read others barely know their colors. This is less to do with their innate intelligence and more to do with what they have already been taught. Grouping children by skill level in each subject automatically lets children play to THEIR own strengths.
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Old 10-05-2011, 02:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
I guess it is not - as long as ONE'S OWN kid is in the GT program.
Forget about principles, fairness, good will or common sense.

I am the mother of a K child who is clearly bright-to-very bright but who may NOT quite make it into the GT program next year, based on standardized testing and other rigid criteria used to create a high cut-off point for funding-related reasons. So I acknowledge my bias.
I am not sure that one's feelings are driven entirely by whether one's own children are in GT programs. My kids were in GT programs in elementary school and I felt that they did not do ENOUGH to advance the education of the gifted kids who were in them.

My kids are in a private school that does not have a gifted program although there are honors classes. We moved them in 6th grade. I like that placements are based on actual achievement and not IQ. But I do support separation of students into ability groups in secondary school.

I think it benefits all the kids. I do not support low standards for anyone although not all kids are ready for the same subject matter at the same time.

I also support differentiated placements. My oldest was not placed in advanced foreign language classes despite being in other advanced classes. He is taking the same Spanish class as his brother who is 2 years younger. As bright as he is he really struggled with foreign language in middle school. He was not ready for HS Spanish in 7th grade. I don't think any harm was done by him waiting for him to be ready to take that class.

Giving him the "opportunity" to take it early would probably have made him hate foreign language study. Now he is talking about taking a new language in college.

Quote:
Originally Posted by syracusa View Post
However, I can assure you that if he somehow does perform well enough to make it into that "kingly" percentile, my view of this entire issue would not change one bit. It would not be different if he was devastatingly gifted and it would not be different if he was downright slow. This is because I do believe in equality of opportunity while having no illusions on equality of outcome.
I really feel that ALL kids should get what they need and what kids need is not equal.
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Old 10-05-2011, 03:18 PM
 
32,538 posts, read 29,325,866 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkb0714 View Post
The stakes are higher, the expectations are higher, and so are the rewards.
And what is at stake nowadays? I still don't understand. Sorry. Prizes? Trips to far away places? Better lockers?
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