My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Sometimes, We're So Stupid I Could Just Scream 

From this week's Time Magazine:

To help increase opportunities for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds, Miami- Dade County public schools last year began testing all 23,000 first-graders using a culture-neutral, language-free assessment that requires no reading, writing or speaking.

Umm . . . . WHAT? How, exactly, then, do we assess these kids? Is it based on patterns of eye blinks? Perhaps we base our judgments on whether their clothes match?

And, I mean, really . . .isn't it culturally insensitive to the Irish and the Italians that the assessment doesn't include speaking?

But, seriously, this may be both the stupidest and funniest thing I've read in several months. It's only improved on by the next line:

The result? The number of first-graders screened for gifted placement shot up from some 100 the previous year to nearly 3,000.

MON DIEU!! Really? You had to admit more students to the program when you got done non-testing them? Imagine my surprise.

Giftedness is a wonderful thing, but it is not--and SHOULD not--be the be-all, end-all of educational success. By watering down (and by any objective assessment, to say that 12.5% of your population is "gifted" qualifies as watering down) the requirements to enter those educational classes, we are both diminishing the value of those classes and setting many, many students up for delusions and disappointments. As was said so accurately in The Incredibles, "when everybody is special, NOBODY is special."

Says deputy superintendent Antoinette Dunbar of the decision to start testing every first-grader for giftedness: "Sometimes we overlook the very obvious."



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