Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Diversity, Algebra-for-All and The TALENT Act: Gifted Ed Reads

A few interesting reads I found via the Davidson Institute for Talent Development e-Newsletter.

I'm intrigued by the new book, The Diverse Schools Dilemma: A Parent's Guide to Socioeconomically Mixed Public Schools. What does a family do when they value diversity, but also want to meet the educational needs of their gifted children? Michael Petrilli shares his family's answer. Jay Mathews provides background on the book and Petrilli over at the The Washington Post.

I remember back when my oldest was in or approaching kindergarten and I was hanging out with a group of homeschooling moms (and kids) during their gym time. As I looked around the mostly (totally?) white group, I made a comment about missing the diversity found in our broader communities if we homeschooled.

"Sometimes kids don't learn the lessons about diversity that we want them to," she replied.

We sent my son to public school and that mom's words echoed in my mind. She was right. Also, the school's leader, I'll just call him Principal Doofus, would often things along the lines of, "Mrs. Moldofsky, of course we want to give your son a great education, but the free lunch kids, the special needs kids, and the English Language Learners, they just take up so many of our resources."

I'm paraphrasing, of course, but not really embellishing. Ugh. So anyway, Petrilli's book sounds interesting.

And Principal Doofus wasn't all that crazy. Do you know the federal education budget provides ZERO, as in absolutely no, dollars for gifted education? (You should, I say it often.)

That's where the TALENT Act comes in. To Aid Gifted and High-Ability Learners by Empowering the Nation's Teachers Act will amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to require state assessments of student proficiency to be vertically scaled and capable of measuring student proficiency above the grade level in which the student is enrolled.

The act is designed to ensure that all students make learning gains each year, that teachers receive training in gifted education, addresses the needs of under-served populations and promotes the development and dissemination of best practices in gifted education.

You likely? Click to add your name to a petition to help make this a reality.

Many high schools are moving toward a "college prep" for all model. Many educators think this is a Very Good Thing. I'm skeptical. I'm not sure that's best for all. I also think vocational education is underrated.
This article discusses research on algebra-for-all, a key part of the college-for-all model.

Spoiler alert- here's the final paragraph. "The current study, combined with our earlier study," it says, "suggests that simply mandating a college-prep curriculum for all students is not sufficient to improve the academic outcomes of all students."

You read anything interesting lately?

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Kim MoldofskyKim Moldofsky
Kim is a blogger, vlogger, baker, and maker, as well as a trend spotter and founder of #STEMchat. She is passionate about raising STEM-loving kids. to your Google+ circles.

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