July 23, 2012

Raising gifted children

It was not easy to write this or post it. I hope you’ll remember that when leaving comments and try not to make me feel completely like an asshole.

Here’s the question I keep seeing about James Holmes, the Aurora shooter: How could a young man with such clear intellectual promise turn so wrong? It’s a legitimate question with many possible answers, most likely including mental illness.

Here’s the thing you may not realize: Holmes is the worst nightmare for parents of gifted kids. Like Ted Kaczynski before him, he’s likely (although I can’t say for sure) a highly gifted person gone horribly awry. Parents of gifted kids spend a shitload of time worrying their kids are going to end up like that.

Now, I know we’re not supposed to talk about gifted children because we’re a country where everyone is above average and it’s downright un-American to even hint that maybe kids have different levels of cognitive strength. If you mention your kid is gifted, it’s bragging, shameless bragging, right? Shut up about it because no one wants to hear about your kid being gifted.

For years I’ve been very careful what I’ve said. I’ve tried to keep my sons’ intellectual ability as quiet as possible, both here in my writing and in real life. We worried so much about the boys learning they were “gifted” that we erred in the other direction. But, I think the time has come to say something here.

There are a hell of a lot of challenges in having kids with far-above-average IQs, and I’m not just talking about the fact that Zachary is long out of books that engage him intellectually but are emotionally appropriate for him.

If you have a kid who is behind in math, the school jumps through hoops to help him with appropriate work. If you have a kindergartener who is doing division and reading on a god-knows-what-grade level and has an advanced understanding of scientific concepts that his mother doesn’t quite get, the school says, “We have a lot of kids to serve here” and “He’s doing fine cognitively.” So your kid is bored. And a behavior problem. And at risk for becoming an underachiever.

There’s something called “asynchronous development.” Parents of gifted kids are pretty damned familiar with this because our kids often lack the kinds of social skills that other parents take for granted their children have. So, while we’re struggling to challenge and engage our kids intellectually (because the schools can’t), we’re at the same time trying to teach rudimentary social ability that might come naturally to other children.

Still sound like I’m bragging? Did you know gifted kids are at much higher risk for existential depression? Anxiety? Driving their poor parents fucking insane?  Trust me – I’d gladly trade 20 IQ points for a kid who is happy and feels like he fits in with his peers. Gladly.

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about James Holmes’s parents. Again, I know nothing about them or their kid, but given that it seems he is a very intellectually gifted person, I’ve been wondering. Did his parents struggle to get the schools to meet his needs? Because, make no mistake, those are needs the gifted children have. They need to be stimulated. They need to feel at home with real peers who use the same kind of vocabulary and think in the same kinds of ways. They need to be taught in a different way. They need to be taught social-emotional skills.

Did James Holmes’s parents worry that they weren’t up to the task of teaching humanity to a boy who lived so much in his head? Did they worry that he was so much brain and not enough heart? Did they wake up at night and wonder whether he could ever find a place of peace and happiness? Did they sometimes cry in the afternoon after seeing the other kids going home on playdates?

It’s really hard to raise a kid like that. There’s no road map, and since you can’t talk about it, you can’t sit around with your girlfriends getting advice on the matter.

Gifted education in this country is a joke at this point. In New Jersey, we had one hour a week. ONE HOUR A WEEK. And the work they were doing wasn’t even particularly challenging. It was, frankly, the kind of work all the kids should have been getting.  Here in Massachusetts, although there’s no formal gifted program, things are better because the curriculum is more progressive and the school is excellent. But the American public schools aren’t set up to serve kids like this because we’ve got a system where passing the tests is what matters and when kids can pass the test two years before they even get into the grade, there’s not much the schools can do. They’re given extra worksheets or told to help teach the other kids.

These children have amazing potential. They can do all sorts of remarkable things with their brains as they grow up. It’s up to us as a society to decide what sorts of remarkable things we want them doing.

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  • Reply Karen July 23, 2012 at 1:30 am

    Yes! We were told that Henry’s executive reasoning was off the charts for his age- while in a
    Kindergarten. He tested so well in that quiet room that he nearly received no services at all. We have no gifted program. The teacher is told to scaffold up.

    Also, I am terrified sometimes that I will never have the resources to feed my kids’ cognitive needs. We are just doing what we can but it hardly ever feels like enough. I am blame myself for not having the money for sending them to a private school but you just reminded me that public schools are for everyone.
    Also, maybe you could send me what he has already read. We need new material. And the just finished Kindergartener is following suit. He can multiply. Henry is doing multiple digit division in his head. He is teaching Theo. I can’t keep up – I want to, but I have work, keeping everyone fed and heathy. This is sometimes more work than chasing down all Henry’s OT issues.

    And it is midsummer
    Today was a meltdown day. Just occurred to me- he is bored again. Here is hoping a little Lego camp will at the wheels spinning on some new projects.

    Thank you, again. I worry. I do.

  • Reply melanie July 23, 2012 at 1:43 am

    I don’t have gifted children… above average, yes, but not gifted and there has always been a couple of kids in my son’s class whose parents made it well known that they were accepted in the gifted program. I am embarassed to admit this “publicly” but I was always glad mine was not among that group, not because I wish my kids were not smart, but because I can appreciate the worries and struggles parents of gifted kids must have. My son’s school does a very good job keeping the above average kids engaged (my son did his first “research paper” in kindergarten, and prepared research and a power point presentation he gave in the schools gymnasium in front of a group of parents in first grade…all done thru the superb librarian and her program specifically designed to stretch kids that are not gifted, but that also are not always challenged) but she is only able to take so many kids, and obviously there is so much pressure to help kids who fall behind, its easy to see how gifted kids don’t get their educational needs met.

  • Reply Catherine July 23, 2012 at 2:00 am

    Thank you, Emily.

  • Reply Devon July 23, 2012 at 2:28 am

    I am not and was not a gifted child; I got to this current point in my life through a lot of hard work (and in some respects through a lot of luck). However, I have a hunch that a lot of gifted kids end up pretty naturally at a point that I’ve come to through years of reading, thinking, and working. I suspect that they understand intuitively (or from having experienced it), that people don’t get fucked up entirely on their own – that they get a lot of help in getting fucked up from a system in which the deck is always stacked against them. What I see in a lot of gifted children, especially as they become adults, is a deeply felt need to push back against that system. Some of them do so by directing their energy towards helping others. Some do it by directing their energy towards themselves and advancing their own interests through career, etc. Some, unfortunately, conclude that things are so messed up that it all becomes entirely pointless, and suicide (or worse – taking out a lot of other people) becomes a logical response.

    I’m rambling, I know, but I’m more and more convinced that gifted children sometimes understand how truly messed up things are before they’re emotionally ready to deal with that reality. And sometimes that has tragic results.

    • Reply emily July 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Devon, that was an excellent explanation of the problem faced by gifted kids. Thanks!

    • Reply Christy @QuirkyFusion January 31, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      I’m not entirely sure I agree with this, although parts of it are true. I don’t believe it’s simply pushing back at a crappy system. I think that because gifted children have reasoning skills beyond their years, they tend to take on worries beyond what is age appropriate. They worry more about global warming, terrorism, and other big picture issues. They spend their lives trying to figure out why adults, who should be smarter, don’t see things that are very clear to them. They can’t understand why their peers talk about inane things and, while they want to make friends, they find it difficult to turn off their brains long enough to connect with someone who is worried about their latest crush, the school dance, and other “fluff.” It’s not just a matter of not fitting in or being understood. It is a world that makes no sense, that is not safe, that is not under control. It is scary. It is confusing. And above all else, it is frustrating. Combine that with total and utter boredom in a classroom all day, and it is not surprising that we see behavioral issues. I think we all handle life’s challenges in our own ways, but I’d have to imagine that someone like James Holmes stopped valuing human life because people are absurd creatures to him. I’m pretty sure that living in a world that makes absolutely no sense, it’s a lot easier to go crazy. After all, it probably feels like you’re already there.

  • Reply Poker Chick July 23, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Excellent points, Emily. Looking forward to seeing some discussion and reaction on this one – it’s an issue not talked about much and we’re going to have to figure out a way to help these kids soon as a society- if we’re falling behind educationally can we really afford to keep ignoring those with the greatest potential? It’s a lose-lose proposition if you ask me.

  • Reply K July 23, 2012 at 2:57 am

    I would really love to read as much as you’re willing to share about your ongoing journey in raising gifted kids. My daughter is 4, and since she turned 2, I’ve been hearing from her teachers that she is clearly exceptionally bright but doesn’t interact with other children the way “typical” kids do (to which we wonder, “Does that really matter?”) It can feel rather lonely trying to do right by this child while the other moms seem to always be chattering about playdates (to which my child is never invited.)

  • Reply Tragic Sandwich July 23, 2012 at 3:45 am

    I was fortunate to grow up in a time and community where education and intellect were valued–and by that I mean that parents and teachers had high expectations AND provided students with the tools and opportunities to meet those expectations. We had a selective and challenging gifted program, and I remember hearing of more than one kid, “Well, maybe he/she is bored and needs harder work.”

    But I also know that the class behind me lacked a math teacher who could teach at their level. They were given books and sent out to the hall to teach themselves. And while they did just that, I think that was disgraceful of the school.

    I don’t know whether Baguette will turn out to be gifted, but I have every intention of supplementing whatever education she gets from the public school system. I believe that kids will meet your expectations, and if you set them low, they’ll live down to them. Set them high, and give them the tools to succeed, and you’re much more likely to wind up with someone who is at least well-enough adjusted.

  • Reply Varda (SquashedMom) July 23, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Emily, Thank for bringing this up, it took a lot of courage. Yes, this is something not nearly well addressed enough in this country. I was one of “those” kids, finishing my school’s curriculum for the year by October, reading at a 10th grade level by 3rd grade. And I am very, very lucky that my suburban school district actually had a program in place for me. Now, I am old, so old that they didn’t IQ test us until 3rd grade, and that the program was accelerated as well as enriched – because that’s what they did with bright kids those days, speed them up – so we did 4th 5th and 6th grades combined into a 2 year program. And for those 2 years we were in heaven, in a classroom of equally odd, intellectually curious, socially awkward kids. Instead of science just in books we had full laboratory science, we wrote extended research papers and short stories, we created a mock government, and even staged an act of civil disobedience to change a school policy we felt to be unfair (no pants allowed for girls – told you I was old – this was in 1969).

    But then, we were dumped back into the general population into a huge middle school – or Jr. High as we called it then – and no account taken for the fact that they had taken a bunch of kids who tended toward social immaturity in the first place and made them a whole year YOUNGER then the rest of the 7th graders, and while we had been intellectually enriched, social stuff was pretty much completely ignored. (I don’t know if I ever got over the culture shock.)

    I don’t know where I’m going with this, except to say that through the magic of Facebook reconnection, a bunch of us from back then have gotten together recently and we all talked about how vitally important it was to have a period of time to have that feeling of being among peers, of not being the only, or one of only two or three “oddballs” in the classroom.

    My kids are not quite like me as a kid (and I had feared they might be), so I haven’t had to deal with what to do for them about this. But if I had, living here in NYC there is actually a whole k-12 school for kids like m, and a lot of other options. But In most places, most educational systems? It’s really bad.

    And me? I’m one of those legion of “bright underachievers.” Because I have a deep and underlying ADD, that has kept my wheels spinning too fast to actually get anywhere. I wonder what my life would have looked like if anyone had noticed and addressed this before my late 40s (when I recognized myself in my son who was getting diagnosed).

    I hope that you and the school find a way to fully engage your son, and that he finds a pool of friends he who speak his language and where he really fits in, because, yes, it is a NEED, not just nice to have when you’re a kid. I know. I remember. (And sorry about this ridiculously long comment – you stirred up a deep pot.)

  • Reply Gordon K July 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    While I have done nothing like a comprehensive study of the phenomenon of school (and now movie theater) shootings, it does appear that the majority (perhaps all) of the shooters were being prescribed antidepressant drugs. We do know that many of these drugs’ package inserts now include warnings that the drugs may actually increase depression, and may cause suicidal and/or homicidal behavior. So I’m wondering whether this latest shooting might have antidepressant drugs in the picture. And if gifted children have emotional problems because their cognitive needs are not being met, harried and trusting parents might opt for the prescribed quick solution (quick fix?) of antidepressants for their children. The results may be disastrous.

    Decades ago, I read a fascinating book by William Philpott, MD, entitled Brain Allergies. The basic message of the book was simple: The brain is an organ of the body. If it does not receive proper nutrition, and/or is exposed even subtly to neurotoxins, it will malfunction. The book details dietary and lifestyle changes that had dramatic, positive effects in clinical trials of patients suffering from bipolar disorders and other serious psychological disturbances. I remember watching a Bill Moyers program on TV where he had his blood tested for chemical toxins. Despite making every effort to live a healthy lifestyle, Moyers’s blood showed traces of dozens of industrial chemicals. It doesn’t seem to me to be a stretch to suppose that some people become neurotic or psychotic because of these trace chemicals in their bodies. Adding antidepressants may just make the situation worse.

  • Reply Jennifer July 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    This is shared sentiment among many parents of gifted kids. I appreciate the statements Emily has put together. The points you make about gifted kids’ different (not better, not worse) needs are accurate. I am also very grateful that this post was infused with the emotion that it was because parenting is an emotional journey and wanting to meet the needs of every child is what I expect we all want.

    Gifted programs make a difference. I was fortunate to grow up in Illinois in the late 70s and 80s where they were pilotting full-time gifted programs. I spent half of 3rd grade in the class to which I was assigned, in January I moved into a class down the hall which they called an “Integrated Classroom” which was the gifted class. Without exaggeration, the first day was the equivalent to the moment Dorothy crosses from her black-and-white world into color. Now over 30 years later, I remember the very first day of feeling connected not to school, not to a classroom, but to myself. I felt at home with myself. I spent 5 years learning in that type of environment. I was happy, I had like-minded friends. I did well, but I wasn’t hyper-aware of grades or evaluations or anything like that. I took the SATs in 7th grade; I scored in the range that qualified me to attend college courses at the state university when I was ready. But what do I remember from the the day I took the SATs when I was 12? I remember the bus ride, singing songs with friends, and the bag of candy my uncle bought me to take on the one-hour trip to Chicago for the testing. Being with other gifted kids let me just be. My fit was just fine.

    That same year, we moved to Pennsylvania. There was no gifted program at my school. The english book assigned to me in 8th grade was the book I had used in 5th grade. But I didn’t say anything to any teacher, nor to any classmate. I learned quickly that different was not good. At my new school, no one liked science. No one liked math. Foreign languages didn’t start until high school. we were allowed to have up to 3 study halls per school day. During which we, of course, did nothing.

    I spent 5 years wondering what was wrong with me. I spent 5 years not fitting in. I didn’t know it at the time, but my mind was racing, trying to connect. My learning suffered; but it was my identity development that suffered the most. I ended up friends with a bunch of other students who felt different. Many of them felt odd and out of place for different reasons than I. Many of them came from pretty rough situations and could have used some serious intervention had any been offered. What I did learn hasn’t been that useful to me. I learned that teachers didn’t know if you had water or vodka in your thermos, I learned that you could leave school for 6 of the 8 periods in between homeroom and dismissal and no one would know, I learned that I didn’t have to do any work to get As and maybe a few Bs. So I didn’t do much work.

    Thanks to facebook, I know where most of my classmates are from 7th grade. Each one is still gifted, you can tell. But I’ll tell you what they are not. They are not the wealthiest of my friends, by far. They do not have the most prestigious careers. They don’t have more education. They don’t have better education. And I’ll tell you what they do have. Many of them have lives that are not very traditional. Two of them play in bands and I can’t tell you what type of music they play. It’s kind of, well, un-describable. Two others run print magazines with, I suspect, rather limited distribution based on the esoteric content.

    My experiences seem important to share for two reasons. First, the gifted kids I know walked away with a sense of who they are and their own POV and they have infused it into their adult lives. I know that if I hadn’t had those experiences with other gifted kids, I would have no idea why I am “different” and why I feel so different so often. I’m glad thatI’m not and they are not sitting somewhere wondering “what is wrong with me?”

    Second, stories of my gifted friends from way back suggest that gifted kids who receive gifted education at their schools get what they need but they don’t get an advantage that other kids don’t get. They don’t get more; they don’t get better than other kids. When they grow up, they are not going to take more of the pie than other adults. They don’t earn more, they don’t have more homes, the don’t pay less taxes, they don’t have better vacations.

    And I think this is important for all those parents who piss and moan about parents of gifted kids wanting services for their gifted kids. Such parents, from my perspective, think that not giving a gifted kid some gifted education is going to somehow make the playing field more level and fair. Seems fair to me. If gifted kids aren’t out there owning all the beach houses and sports cars, can we let them have education that let’s them just become who they need to be?

  • Reply Anjali July 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    We are very, very lucky to have a fabulous school district, so my kids’ academic needs are more than met. It makes all the difference in the world, and it’s a shame that so few kids get the kind of academic environment my kids have.

    Also, have you read Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students? The book saved my life.

  • Reply Alison July 24, 2012 at 1:53 am

    Amen. My husband and I lie awake at night worried to tears about how our gifted son will handle his teen years when he already, at 10, has such a difficult time emotionally. No school yet has accepted the fact that these kids should have IEPs just like a kid with ADD, dyslexia, or autism has. They have different needs, but if those needs don’t show up in standardized tests, they are ignored.

    I haven’t read any of the other comments, simply because I’m afraid of what other people might say.

    I will say that we are looking at talking to a child paychologist to help us help him. He needs coping mechanisms, and we want to do the right things and say the right things to help him balance his IQ and his emtional/social level.

    Thank you for your honesty.

  • Reply lynne July 24, 2012 at 3:06 am

    So glad you posted this. You hit it right on the nose.

  • Reply Antropologa July 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I honestly don’t really know anything about this, but something occurred to me during the bit about books not being intellectually stimulating. Maybe if he were learning a new language and read books in that language? That way he could read children’s literature that was also challenging to understand.

  • Reply Jenni July 25, 2012 at 12:08 am

    As a former gifted child and former teacher who is currently ensconced in a tent while waiting out a deluge, I can only say this: AMEN. Perfectly stated.

  • Reply Lilian Nattel July 25, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    In Ontario gifted children do have an IEP and there are classes for gifted children from grades 4 through high school. Primary gifted (1 to 3) are for kids who are gifted with behavioural issues as well. I’m not sure how much the IEP is really worth though when you have one teacher with a classroom of kids who all have different skills and needs. How much can the teacher really do for each child differently?

  • Reply Karin July 26, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I share the same opinion. Great post!

  • Reply Christy Moss September 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Thank you! It is so nice to read something that I can completely relate to. Makes me feel a little less alone. I’m at my wits end with my son Dylan’s education. We have three options in our town, public school, small church school or home school. Of course home schooling would deprive him of much needed socialization. So we do public school and I home school him. It’s not fair to him or me, but it’s really our only option at this point. At least he’s learning, and he is happy. He’s only six though, and the future worries me to the point of panic attack. Thanks again for your honest writing. We need more of this.

  • Reply Jen January 31, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    I stumbled across this post looking for something else. Pure kismet. No idea how I missed it earlier. This is the post I wish I could have written last summer when this happened. And again with the recent school shooting. And any time something horrific happens, the news comes out about how brilliant the suspect was, and all I see is a gifted kid left behind. Worse than left behind, held down by a system and society that views giftedness as elitism and not needing of anything different.
    It’s time for the world to realize that giftedness is simply neuropsychological wiring, not an educational issue, and sure as hell not elitist. I’ve been shouting that for years, and will continue to shout until my voice gives out.

  • Reply awk January 31, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    I had the same thoughts and have expressed them only to have people eviscerate me and offer me up as a sacrifice or for incarceration. I have had these thoughts because my five year old son was headed this way. not a day went by that i didn’t wonder how my sweet, smart little guy could now be so menacing, scary and mean. Guess what? for our son, it was school. We had him tested as a last resort (and just prior to going the special ed route) and found out that his intellect was getting in his way. he is now in a gifted school and he tells me he loves me again. he hugs with vigor. his empathy for humanity has returned. It is hard to say what creates a monster but chronic stress and the believe that you inherently suck as much or more than the rest of humanity does not help.

  • Reply Myrinda Dixon January 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I know my parents used to DREAD that my brother would wind up like this. He’s pretty explosive. And he’s still not what most people would consider “normal”. But he has grown into a great uncle to my kids, an adult with a successful career path and a longtime girlfriend (who I hope he gets around to marrying one day, but I digress). Me, I would have never ever done something like that, maybe because my own brother was slightly scary and I learned early to really stuff that emotional stuff down and just “be happy” and compliant.
    Many times, before we took Midnight out of public school, I worried she was going down the same path as Uncle R. Now that we homeschool through a WONDERFUL charter, that lets the kids move at their own pace, things are SO much better! Just yesterday, she tried the “6th grade classes” (she’s only 9) and I’ve NEVER seen her so happy about anything resembling school or being with other kids! I asked and she said they are MUCH more interesting in this class…what they talk about, what they think, how they express themselves. I think we have finally found the place for her.
    And I think that is important, to find a place, no matter how small, where you feel you fit and belong. That is what touches the heart and keeps us connected and from entering a dark hole where we would want to hurt others.

  • Reply BTDT January 31, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Your eloquent words perfectly describe what it’s like to parent children who are gifted. Our school district was so worthless at educating gifted students that our solution was to move overseas. We were tired of our children, especially our oldest, being looked at as a sure-fire way to raise test scores, yet when we asked for ANYTHING, we were met with opposition and uphill battles at each turn. Although it was never verbalized around us, there was always an attitude of, “he’s fine/he’s got it.” He may be fine and he may get it, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be allowed to learn something new. This is truly my personal soapbox issue, so I’ll stop now. Again, thank you!

    I quickly read some of your other posts, and you have a new follower.

  • Reply MamaChicks January 31, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you, Emily, for saying what so many parents of gifted children want to say.

  • Reply Julie Poe January 31, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    This is so incredibly true. I have a son who is gifted and extremely smart. He is a handful. The school this year really works with him where they didn’t in the past because the teachers didn’t know how to work with him or challenge him. He is in the top group as far as he can go right now but yet “not good enough” for the gifted program (by a few points) because of getting a bad review from his teacher last year who didn’t like him that much to begin with. It is a challenge and you have to work hard to stay one step ahead of them at all times which is not easy and doesn’t always happen. America does not accept “brainiac” type society. Not in schools, not in work places, not anywhere. I am currently writing a paper about this in my college class for Psychology and in my research am finding that the United States is not making it socially acceptable for any type of what we call brainiacs (or gifted, intelligent person) to be known or be able to speak the way they need to communicate, or even to learn the way they need to learn. In Europe (where I am from), it is suggested and taught and thrived to learn and speak intelligently, think for yourself so to speak, and to learn how to use critical thinking skills. Why is the US so against it?

  • Reply Andrea January 31, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    This is just what I needed to read today. My 11 year old faces all the problems you described and the school is helping him some with his social skills. However, they aren’t doing it in a discreet way and it’s really embarrassing him. I know he needs the help but I hate that he feels like less of a person because he’s going to a special teacher several times a week. He already struggles with depression and lack of self-esteem so while the school is trying to help they’re not going about it in the right way. It’s just frustrating. Frustrating because he’s in the fifth grade and they are just now helping us. I have honestly thought about homeschooling but he NEEDS that interaction with his peers. It’s just too bad that kids are so mean. Anyway, thank you for posting – great article!

  • Reply Kathy January 31, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Joining the chorus of thanksgiving for you writing what so many parents of gifted children are thinking, but often feel afraid to say. I feel lucky that my third grade son is able to attend one of the Chicago Public School Regional Gifted Centers. I am very aware that our suburban neighbors, as well as his peers that did not test into one of the RGC schools do not have the same attention and resources that my son and his classmates receive. That said, even with him attending a school for gifted children, I still believe that there is more they could (and probably should) be doing for their students/my son when it comes to their social and emotional development. Thanks again for writing and sharing this year. Well said.

  • Reply GG February 1, 2013 at 1:54 am

    “If you have a kid who is behind in math, the school jumps through hoops to help him with appropriate work. ”

    Sorry, no. The current system hurts all kids. If you learn too fast, you are messing up the lesson plan. If you learn to slow you are a drag on the system. They may give you assistance, but you miss class to do so and are illogically required to keep up with the grade level work that you don’t understand (and that you are most likely missing for their remediation pull outs) in addition to the “skill builders.” If somehow you don’t manage to do this; no problem, we’ll just keep the goals the same and better luck next year, too bad about those crappy grades, but you really should have done the work.

    And if you are 2E like my son you get the best of both worlds. Today you need to stop being so opinionated and let the other kids answer. Tomorrow we will yell at you for being a bother and asking for help 12 times an hour.

    Don’t get me wrong, I fully support gifted ed. I know some wonderful, amazingly bright children who I’ve seen crushed by teacher dismissiveness. (And this at an alternative school for quirky kids of all abilities.) But don’t think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. A large percentage of kids sitting in juvenile corrections are 2E and LD. This is how well we serve those kids.

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