State Puts a Lid on Talent!

The School Department will receive about $200,000 less in state subsidy for gifted and talented programming after the state discovered that the city had been using some of that money for unapproved curricula.
Bangor loses gifted and talented funds, BDN, 4/11/09

The State wants G&T funds used for children who fit the following criteria:

Gifted and Talented Children: “Gifted and talented children” shall mean those children in grades K-12 who excel, or have the potential to excel, beyond their age peers, in the regular school program, to the extent that they need and can benefit from programs for the gifted and talented. Gifted and talented children shall receive specialized instruction through these programs if they have exceptional ability, aptitude, skill, or creativity in one or more of the following categories:

1. General Intellectual Ability as shown by demonstrated significant achievement or potential for significant accomplishment above their age peers in all academic areas

2. Specific Academic Aptitude as shown by demonstrated significant achievement or potential for significant accomplishment above their age peers in one or more academic area(s)

3. Artistic Ability as shown by demonstrated significant achievement or potential for significant accomplishment above their age peers in the literary, performing, and/or visual arts

NOTE: Children with exceptional General Intellectual Ability and/or exceptional Specific Academic Aptitude usually comprise five percent of the school population. Students with exceptional Artistic Ability usually comprise five percent of the school population. Children in the top two percent of the school population may be considered highly gifted. (Rule Chapters for the Department of Education — click on Ch. 104)

That last NOTE is the kicker.

For those of us soft-headed enough to think that just about every child has some talent or some gift (and — pardon me — but is it just too mawkish on my part to remark that every child is a gift?) it’s a bit of a shock that those with these talents and gifts are necessarily just five percent of the population.

The philosophers among us will have to think about why that should be so, why it should be so even after children have been in school for several years, and what the implications are for the State’s take on the nature/nurture question. It would appear, though, that the State’s solicitude for these children is pretty limited!  Hard-hearted generosity!

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