And Answering The Classic Criticism Of “Are Gifted Programs “Elitist”?”
A Ploy, used long ago, where a Principal Palcuzzi had been criticized by his Pennsylvania School Board, because the Gifted Program he was in charge of was “elitist, and took a favored few students, and gave them special learning experiences.”
Yes, a commonly referenced misconception about the essential nature of Gifted Programs. It goes along the lines:
Palcuzzi, as the story goes, responded to the School Board by saying that the biggest problem with the Gifted Program was that it was not elitist enough. He said that if the school really wanted a first-rate gifted program to be proud of, then they should take several steps.
1) Conduct a state-wide search to hire a specially trained gifted teacher who had been through gifted programs;
2) Give that teacher a salary supplement;
3) Hire specialty teachers to work with children who showed promise in particular specialty areas,
4) Let children try out for the gifted program, and avoid age grouping so that the gifted children could work with other children–older or younger–based on competency and potential,
5) Allow these teachers to freely bring these gifted children in after school, on weekends, and during vacations to develop their skills,
6) Make the program a source of pride, with school assemblies where the children could describe the projects they were working on, as well as their goals and aspirations,
7) Get broad community support, including newspaper and TV reporters who would write about their activities, and
8) Perhaps supply these students with a sweater or a jacket that said “G” for Gifted.
Then Palcuzzi said, “But I guess you already have this kind of program, because I just described your football team and your basketball team and your baseball team.”