[personal profile] philobiblius
Dr. Borland has returned to the battles of taking gifted children and programs away, in the name of "reforming" gifted education. Here is the first of his blogs on the topic:

This is his book on the same theme from 9 years ago:

This was my response to the blog entry:

With all do respect, Dr. Borland -

I start from a different set of premises than yours. The field of gifted education has, at its core, the goal of ensuring that gifted children receive an appropriate education.

The *methods* of how we go about doing so are highly contests. In fact, for all that you talk about going to the roots to have "gifted education without gifted students" as a novel approach to be adopted, it is neither novel nor radical (in the sense of diverging from roots). Gifted education grew out of just such an environment and there plenty of places which have neither gifted programs nor gifted students so far as the schools are concerned.

"Differentiated curriculum" is a lovely notion with its own roots going back to a period before the field of gifted education came into being. Currently, it presents the notion of trying to reach each student (not each gifted student) in the ways that are most effective. However, as research has shown us repeatedly over the last few decades, differentiation happens far more in school literature and even law than it does in the bulk of our classrooms.

Nor has our practice reached a "dead end." It has certainly encountered any number of obstacles, but there is a substantial difference between those and a place in which there is no progress nor from which there can be progress.

There have been successful programs and unsuccessful programs for as long as there has been gifted education. Schools such as the North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics work. To suggest that such institutions are in any way at a dead end seems to me absurd. Conversely, the bandage programs designed to make G/T parents quiet while not providing substantial programming are, as you suggest, at a dead end - but they have been since their creation, because they are not gifted programs!

None of the proposals I have read that follow the notion you have advocated for several years now address the single greatest need of gifted students --> other gifted students. Nor do they address the second greatest need of gifted students in schools --> teachers who understand their needs. Without those two factors addressed, while your new-fangled programs may not seem to be at a dead end, the gifted students may well be.

For 80 years, one drum beat has echoed through the national reports: "that all teachers [should] be given instruction in regard to what they can do for the gifted child."

It is not that our gifted programs have reached a dead end, Dr. Borland.

They have never been given a chance to start.



February 2017


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