Taking sides on this matter is quite a dilemma. The diversity in the level of cognition of different people can be a great problem for the government and stakeholders to consider as to educating them. While it is in the hands of the government to give good education for all, the “ money” problem makes it hard for them. Such that there are many considerations to take into account in decision-making for this matter, thorough deliberation of the problem should be of great value.
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In the special report in Jim Lerher’s News Hour , a worker for the Gifted Children – Penny Choice clearly stated the dilemma as to, “ Would you, in good conscience, ever cut programs for the mentally handicapped? No. And when ‘ gifted’ is just the other side of the same coin, how could you, in good conscience, cut that?” (Merrow & Lerher, 2004, ¶24). Quite apparent here that cutting back the budget for the gifted children program, it seems, as similar to as cutting the budget for the mentally handicapped learners. Both extreme levels of learners have the same needs – that is special needs as the majority of the population of learners.
It is quite known that some problematic students are not actually behaviourally deviant but are actually brilliant kids who are bored inside the classroom. Again with the news report, Lane Rommel, a fourth grader said that, “ When I get done with my work, I, like, turn around and talk to the kids that are still working, and then the teacher tells me not to bother them. And then I don’t really have anything to do.” (Merrow & Lerher, 2004, ¶41), is clear evidence that these students, if placed along the average learners can be a great “ headache” for the teachers. This is not to say that, as teachers, we are to fear these students – they just need special programs as for them not to deviate or do “ stupid” stuff because the mental “ loads” do not fit their mental capacities (RISAGE, n. d.). Another gifted fourth grader, Alex Kinney lamented that, “ sometimes it’s just so boring and dull, like I already know it. I just don’t see any reason in answering the question because it’s just so easy… I just stay quite.” (Merrow & Lerher, 2004, ¶43 & 45). Class participation may be hard to achieve with this kind of apathy from the gifted.
On the other hand, education should be extended to all. In the light of the government’s current decision to increase budgets into the whole education system with the No Child Left Behind program, it is quite commendable. The access of children to education has been the basic thrust of the government, as to say all governments do all around the world. On the economic side, the government is concerned with extending education to all at the most efficient method.
While covering the majority of learners, it can be argued that it also reaches out to the special learners. Eugene Hitchcock, the US Undersecretary of Education purported in the report that, “ I don’t buy the argument that No Child Left Behind leaves gifted kids behind. I buy the argument that tough choices have to be made, especially during tough economic times.” (Merrow & Lerher, 2004, ¶15). In short, he argues that the No Child Left Behind program can extend to the average learners, to the mentally-challenged and to the gifted learners as well. A spokesman in the report said succinctly, “ My philosophy is you offer the best possible programs for all your students, whether it’s special, whether it’s gifted, whether its kids wanting to go to vocational, but you have constraints.” The economic side hurts much the specialization of the programs as to the level of cognition of learners. Although the efficiency of the budget to this matter helped much the allocation of the national budget to keep up education
In the learning level, though the program may not work. As mentioned that the students may have behavioural issues in the classroom if not given special attention to their capacities. While in the economic side it is feasible, on the academic side it is not. That is why, in making decisions to this matter, it is crucial that legislators should dig more into the pro’s and cons of the program.
In the end, special children should be given special program to give them the edge and deflect them from some other activities that are not beneficial to them as well as the teachers. As such, providing special program for gifted or talented students is a necessity. Since gifted children do well, it means that the outcome of educating them will also contribute to our national interest. As one woman said in the report, “ I know this is a bit of a dramatic statement, but I almost feel like we’ve literally cut off the heads [of] our best and our brightest.”(Merrow & Lerher, 2004, ¶29). True to her statement, the best should also deserve the best in the pace that their “ heads” had been “ hard-wired” to. Although, it is also important to educate the majority, special consideration should also be turned to special children as there is a special attention to the mentally-challenged as well.
There will be two main reasons to argue about the necessity of providing special programs to these children. First, it provides children the freedom to move on ahead academically as their level of intelligence permits. They will not be confined to the less challenging tasks to where average children are to do. With that advancement, they will not deviate into untoward activities that are neither beneficial nor helpful to their education. Next, gifted children can later contribute to the advance of our national interest. This is viewed into the long-term, of course, but providing a good start to these children will eventually led to a better nation. The brilliant children given special attention today will be the brilliant adults who will lead this nation in the future.
Merrow, J. & Lerher, J. (2004). Gifted education. PBS Online NewsHour: A NewsHour with Jim Lerher’s Transcripts. Retrieved April 2, 2008 from http://www. pbs. org/newshour/bb/education/jan-june04/education_05-25. html
Recognizing the Characteristics of Gifted Children in Characteristics and behaviors of the gifted. The Rhode Island State Advisory on Gifted and Talented Education. Retrieved April 2, 2008 from http://www. ri. net/gifted_talented/character. html#Recognizing