Friday, April 16, 2010

Wanted: Under-served Gifted Boys

I will be interviewing intellectually gifted boys and/or a parent who feels the child's needs are being poorly met in their public school.

I'll conduct the interviews by phone, or if the family lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'll video the interview and, if his teacher agrees, I'll video the boy in his classroom.

I'll post the best interviews and videos here as well as attempt to publish them in major media.

If you'd like to nominate someone, let me know: post it as a comment on this blog, email me at, or phone me at 510-655-2777.


Marty Nemko said...

This is the first response I received. I have not gotten permission to post her name so I present it anonymously:

My son, as many of the other bright kids in the school, no longer wants to be challenged in school. He almost never has homework that he has to do at home (mostly he does it in class because he zips through the worksheets). He hasn't really been taught critical thinking -- instead the focus is on how to guess the right answer on multiple choice tests. The principal and vice principal are in a bind because they are judged by how well they can close the gap by bringing the underachievers up, but they also know that there is going to be more and more flight of affluent white and Asian parents and middle class African-American and Latino parents from their school into other districts or private middle schools if the level of instruction doesn't improve. But get this -- the ACLU has threatened to bring a lawsuit against the district if the middle school has advanced classes next year (we're the only middle school in the district that still has them) -- I suppose assuming that the kids in advanced classes will get better teachers and better curriculum, whereas the truth in our school is that the same teachers teach advanced and nonadvanced and the resources for advanced, if anything, are less because Title 1 funds can't be used to pay for them. And our district always gives in when a lawsuit is threatened.

Anonymous said...

A lawsuit against the district for keeping advanced classes? Why? Let me guess: because minorities will presumably be "underrepresented"?

Something I've noticed about lawsuits or complaints or general rants like this is they almost always say race is the motivating factor behind it. They hardly ever say anything else because in this day & age, they don't need to. And often, the behaviors groups like the ACLU are trying to protect are detrimental long-term to all parties involved, including, if not especially, the "underrepresented" groups.

For far too long and far too often, the race card keeps bad policies and bad behaviors in place. It's gotten so prevalent that sometimes, we play it in our own minds, before groups like the ACLU even get to us.

Until more and more people begin calling the race card's bluff, it will continue to have power over all of us and the policies of the future, and it will be to the detriment of all of us, including this mother's bright son, an innocent child, and all children.


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