Let's see if I can pull off three blogs this week all with a Thanksgiving theme:
First. You may have seen the story by AP writer Dorrie Turner that was in many Sunday papers yesterday. She sites a report by the National Association for Gifted Children that says most federal education dollars and efforts go into helping low-performing, poor and minority students achieve basic proficiency. According to the report, assisting gifted students so that they can reach their highest potential is left to the resources of the states and local school districts. As one would expect, there is wide disparity in how such programs are supported.
I am reminded of a teacher who once said to me, "All of my students are gifted and talented." Her statement makes an interesting and obvious point. The question of equitable funding notwithstanding, a school ought to help each and every student reach his or her highest potential. In any given classroom, the starting point may differ from student to student, as will the end point in any given term, year, or life. A teacher is not responsible for many of the prior conditions (genetics, poverty, parenting, etc.) that lead a student to struggle or soar. Nor is a teacher responsible for all the future influence that will hinder or help a student as they aspire toward some goal. But a teacher is responsible for inspiring every student--as in "all my students are gifted and talented"--in the present to act on behalf of their goals.