Families of Gifted Children Face Extra Expenses
On January 22, 2006, the New York Times ran an article titled "It Pays to Have a Smart Child, but It Can Cost, Too".
One important point the article makes is that families of gifted children are increasingly being forced to spend thousands of dollars to supplement the education of their children. These families are supporting their gifted children's education with special learning opportunities outside of the traditional school setting. Recently, Prufrock Press released a book for parents and teachers on this topic by Julia Roberts, Ph.D., titled Enrichment Opportunities for Gifted Learners.
In the Times article, Charles Beckman, director of communications for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, described the need that many parents of gifted children feel. "The No Child Left Behind Act has forced many states to redirect money from gifted education to bringing other kids up to a minimally acceptable skill level," he said. "Cutting the education dollars of tomorrow's leaders, thinkers and doers means more families are looking for ways to have their kids' intellectual needs met outside of school."
The article is a good look at the ends to which families of gifted children have to go to find appropriate, challenging learning experiences for their kids.
One irritating part of the article is a quote by a retired professor of industrial psychology, Perry Prestholdt. "It's important to give kids normal experiences that are typical for children of that age ... Unique and expensive opportunities can imbue these kids with a false sense of privilege."
Why in the world did the New York Times print this knee-jerk response from someone with no experience with gifted children or gifted education? Why does this retired professor of industrial psychology feel that gifted children should be restricted to "typical" learning experiences?
I think we've still got a long way to go before we convince the Perry Prestholdts of the world that gifted children deserve appropriate, challenging learning experiences -- be they "typical" or not.