A Few Haves… And Many Have Nots

MRIslas-Photo_smweb.jpgIn a 10-19-15 Washington Post column, Jay Matthews focused on Failing our Brightest Kids, by Checker Finn and Brandon Wright, and he acknowledges that our nation must improve the identification and service of high-potential students, particularly those from disadvantaged and other under-represented populations. We agree.

But Matthews’ worrisome comments seem to say that because gifted education has been under the radar and under-studied, we should simply take it off the agenda. Doing so would only compound the problem. Mathews acknowledges that we know little about our high-ability students who go unserved because of their socioeconomic status. This inequity results from a lack of focus from policymakers on capturing the data, which helps drive their neglect.

The result is what Mathews finds most compelling—a slight to bright low-income children who are under- achievers. Because most of the decisions on identifying and serving these students fall to school districts, the reality is that we have a nation of few haves—primarily in affluent areas—and many have-nots.

Reversing this neglect starts with transparency and a commitment to identifying and serving the gifted and talented!