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 Gifted Education Quotes

collected by Carolyn K., Director, Hoagies' Gifted Education Page

"It's a tough time to raise, teach or be a highly gifted child... Schools are to extraordinarily intelligent children what zoos are to cheetahs... Every organism has an internal drive to fulfill its biological design. The same is true for unusually bright children. From time to time the bars need be removed, the enclosures broadened. Zoo Chow, easy and cheap as it is, must give way, at least some of the time, to lively, challenging mental prey." – Stephanie Tolan, Is It A Cheetah?

See also Education Quotes...

Grouping kids by age for instruction makes about as much pedagogical sense as grouping them by height! ~Deborah Ruf

How do we justify an educational system that ignores competence and achievement, and utilizes chronological age as the primary, or only, factor in student placement? – Miraca Gross, 2012

Because giftedness is not to be talked about, no one tells high-IQ children explicitly, forcefully and repeatedly that their intellectual talent is a gift. That they are not superior human beings, but lucky ones. That the gift brings with it obligations to... be worthy of it. That among those obligations, the most important and most difficult is to aim not just at academic accomplishment, but at wisdom.

The encouragement of wisdom requires a special kind of education. It requires first of all recognition of one’s own intellectual limits and fallibilities–in a word, humility. This is perhaps the most conspicuously missing part of today’s education of the gifted. Many high-IQ students, especially those who avoid serious science and math, go from kindergarten through an advanced degree without ever having a teacher who is dissatisfied with their best work and without ever taking a course that forces them to say to themselves, “I can’t do this.” Humility requires that the gifted learn what it feels like to hit an intellectual wall, just as all of their less talented peers do, and that can come only from a curriculum and pedagogy designed especially for them. That level of demand cannot fairly be imposed on a classroom that includes children who do not have the ability to respond. The gifted need to have some classes with each other not to be coddled, but because that is the only setting in which their feet can be held to the fire. – Charles Murray

We hope for nonconformists among you, for your sake, for the sake of the nation, for the sake of humanity. – Theologian Paul Tillich, told to graduating university class (1957)

When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure. – Peter Marshall

If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse. – Walt Disney

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. – Mahatma Gandhi

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Intelligence is the ability to take in information from the world and to find patterns in that information that allow you to organize your perceptions and understand the external world. – Brian Greene, physicist & author

Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius. – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth -- more than ruin -- more even than death.... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man. – Bertrand Russell

To repeat what others have said, requires education; to challenge it, requires brains. – Mary Pettibone Poole

It is not worth an intelligent man's time to be in the majority. By definition, there are already enough people to do that. – G. H. Hardy

Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade? – Benjamin Franklin

Gifted children have no greater obligation than any other children to be future leaders or world class geniuses. They should just be given a chance to be themselves, children who might like to classify their collections of baseball cards by the middle initials of the players, or who might like to spend endless afternoon hours in dreamy reading of novels, and to have an education that appreciates and serves these behaviors. – Jane Piirto,

...as much as the world has benefited from the contributions of gifted individuals, it is disturbing...to realize that the population least likely to learn and achieve its potential is the highly gifted. – Joseph Cardillo, Gifted Children: Nurturing Genius (Part One)

It's a tough time to raise, teach or be a highly gifted child... Schools are to extraordinarily intelligent children what zoos are to cheetahs... Every organism has an internal drive to fulfill its biological design. The same is true for unusually bright children. From time to time the bars need be removed, the enclosures broadened. Zoo Chow, easy and cheap as it is, must give way, at least some of the time, to lively, challenging mental prey. – Stephanie Tolan, Is It A Cheetah?

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. – Edgar Allan Poe

The greatest intelligence is precisely the one that suffers most from its own limitations. – Andre Gide

It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well. – Rene Descartes

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. – Galileo Galilei

I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain simultaneously on the same topic. – Abigail Adams

You cannot solve a problem from the frame of mind that created the problem in the first place. – Albert Einstein

True wisdom is less presuming than folly. The wise man doubteth often, and changeth his mind; the fool is obstinate, and doubteth not; he knoweth all things but his own ignorance. – Akhenaton

The energy of the mind is the essence of life. – Aristotle

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. – Jim Rohn

Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability. – John Wooden

If you don't invest very much, then defeat doesn't hurt very much and winning is not very exciting. – Dick Vermeil

Intelligence is like a river: the deeper it is, the less noise it makes. – Unknown

A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do. – Walter Bagehot

Paralyze resistance with persistence. – Woody Hayes

There are times when the greatest change needed is a change of my viewpoint. – C. M. Ward

Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. – Ronald E. Osborn

We are altogether too easily deceived by the time-worn argument that the gifted student, 'the genius' perhaps, will 'get along somehow without much teaching. The fact is, the gifted... and the brilliant... are the ones who need the closest attention of the skilful mechanic. – W. Franklin Jones, Ph. D., in An Experimental-Critical Study of the Problem of Grading and Promotion (1912)

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island. - Walt Disney

As a society we must be able to admire ability, to support ability, to celebrate ability and to nurture ability. It must be as socially acceptable to support genius that is intellectual as it is to support genius that is athletic. – Michael Clay Thompson

What happens to the rat that stops running the maze? The doctors think it's dumb when it's just disappointed. – Mark Eitzel

Give me rigor or give me mortis! – Michael Clay Thompson

If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working on hard enough problems. And that’s a big mistake. – F. Wikzek

When once the child has learned that 4 and 2 are 6, a thousand repetitions will give him no new information, and it is a waste of time to keep him in that manner. – J.M. Greenwood, 1888

You can never hold a person down without staying down with him. – Booker T. Washington

To learn a particular concept, some children need days, some ten minutes. But the typical lockstep schedule and curriculum ignores this fundamental fact. – Marilyn Hughes

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar! – Helen Keller

Here’s to the crazy ones.
        The misfits.
            The rebels.
                The troublemakers.
                    The round pegs in the square holes.
                        The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing that you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things.
            They invent.                They imagine.             They heal.
            They explore.              They create.               They inspire.
They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels? And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. – Apple Computer Advertisement

Showing up at school already able to read is like showing up at the undertaker's already embalmed; people start worrying about being put out of their jobs. – Florence King

You don’t have the moral right to hold one child back to make another child feel better. – Stephanie Tolan

It's not important what people say about us. It's only important what we know inside about ourselves. – Horatio Caine, CSI Miami

Every gift contains a danger. Whatever gift we have we are compelled to express. And if the expression of that gift is blocked, distorted, or merely allowed to languish, then the gift turns against us, and we suffer. – L. Johnson

With regard to excellence, it is not enough to know, but we must try to have and use it. – Aristotle

Radical accelerants adjust well academically and socially. – Miraca Gross

None of the [acceleration] options has been shown to do psychosocial damage to gifted students as a group; when effects are noted, they are usually (but not invariably) in a positive direction. – Nancy M. Robinson, University of Washington

Acceleration levels the playing field of opportunity because any cost to the family or school is minimal. – A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students

The surest path to positive self esteem is to succeed at something which one perceived would be difficult. Each time we steal a student's struggle, we steal the opportunity for them to build self-confidence.  They must learn to do hard things to feel good about themselves. –  Sylvia Rimm

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. – Seneca

Satisfaction of one's curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life. – Linus Pauling

No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Keeping a child who can do sixth-grade work in a second-grade classroom is not saving that student's childhood but is instead robbing that child of the desire to learn. – Ellen Winner, Gifted Children: Myths and Realities

It is surprising that very highly gifted children do not rebel more frequently against the inappropriate educational provision which is generally made for them. Studies have repeatedly found that the great majority of highly gifted students are required to work, in class, at levels several years below their tested achievement. Underachievement may be imposed on the exceptionally gifted child through the constraints of an inappropriate and undemanding educational program or, as often happens, the child may deliberately underachieve in an attempt to seek peer-group acceptance. – Miraca U.M. Gross, Exceptionally Gifted Children

The wisest mind has something yet to learn. – George Santayana

“I initially thought Terry would be just like one of them, to graduate as early as possible,” he said. But after talking to experts on education for gifted children, he changed his mind.  “To get a degree at a young age, to be a record-breaker, means nothing,” he said. “I had a pyramid model of knowledge, that is, a very broad base and then the pyramid can go higher. If you just very quickly move up like a column, then you’re more likely to wobble at the top and then collapse.”  – Billy Tao, Terrance Tao's father

There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction. –  John F. Kennedy

Being different isn't always a bad thing. –  Alicia, The Fantastic Four

The emerging era is characterized by the collaboration innovation of many people working in gifted communities, just as innovation in the industrial era was characterized by individual genius. – Irving W. Berger, chairman, IBM

Closing the achievement gap by pushing down the top is like fostering fitness by outlawing marathons. – Helen Schinske

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. – George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903)

Not being known doesn't stop the truth from being true. – Richard Bach, in Messiah's Handbook

There is little doubt that educators have been largely negative about the practice of acceleration despite abundant research evidence attesting to its validity. It is difficult to understand the hostility of many educators to this acceleration strategy. – James T. Gallagher, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (2004)

No paradox is more striking than the inconsistency between research findings on acceleration and the failure of our society to reduce the time spent by superior students in formal education. – M. J. Gold, Education of the Intellectually Gifted (1965)

Clearly, the research on groups of early entrants … strongly suggests that many of [the students] were highly successful academically without experiencing concomitant social or emotional difficulties. – Linda E. Brody, Michelle C. Muratori & Julian Stanley, Johns Hopkins University

Acceleration levels the playing field of opportunity because any cost to the family or school is minimal. – A Nation Deceived

Not only was academic achievement more positive for the grade skipped learners, but also their social adjustment and academic self-esteem were more positive. – Karen B. Rogers, University of St. Thomas (Minnesota)

Adult surveys of gifted individuals reveal that they do not regret their acceleration. Rather, they regret not having accelerated more. Lubinski, Webb, et al. (2001)

No other arrangements for gifted children works as well as acceleration – James A. Kulik, The University of Michigan

Meta-analytic reviews have consistently concluded that education acceleration helps students academically without shortchanging them socially and emotionally. – James A. Kulik, The University of Michigan

Creativity is like life insurance. If you are creative, you are never afraid, because you can design yourself out of any situation. – Li Edelkoort

He never pays attention, he always knows the answer, and he can never tell you how he knows. We can't keep thrashing him. He is a bad example to the other pupils. There's no educating a smart boy. – Terry Pratchett, Thief of Time

Our kids are normal.  They just aren't typical... – Jim Delisle

Anything that's worth doing, is worth doing poorly! – Joachim DePosada
Webmaster's note: think about it.  Everyone does everything poorly, at first...

Still rarer is the man who thinks habitually, who applies reason, rather than habit pattern, to all his activity. Unless he masques himself, his is a dangerous life; he is regarded as queer, untrustworthy, subversive of public morals; he is a pink monkey among brown monkeys – a fatal mistake. Unless the pink monkey can dye himself brown before he is caught.

The brown monkey's instinct to kill is correct; such men are dangerous to all monkey customs.

Rarest of all is the man who can and does reason at all times, quickly, accurately, inclusively, despite hope or fear or bodily distress, without egocentric bias or thalmic disturbance, with correct memory, with clear distinction between fact, assumption, and non-fact. – Robert Heinlein in Gulf, a short story in Assignment in Eternity

There is physical and psychological pain in being thwarted, discouraged, and diminished as a person. To have ability, to feel power you are never allowed to use, can become traumatic. – Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds, by Jan and Bob Davidson

Mom / Elasta-girl: "It's perfectly normal..." 
Violet / daughter: "Normal?  What do you know about normal?  What does anybody in this family know about normal?"
Mom: "Now wait a minute young lady..." 
Violet: "We act normal, mom.  I want to be normal.  The only normal one is Jack-Jack and he's not even toilet-trained!"
    (three months later)
Violet: "I feel different ... is different OK?"
Tony / new friend: "Different is great!" – The Incredibles Recommended

Dad / Mr. Incredible: "It's psychotic.  They keep creating new ways to celebrate mediocrity, but if someone is genuinely exceptional..."
Mom: "This is not about you, Bob.  This is about Dash."
Dad: "You want to do something for Dash?  Then let him actually compete.  ... Because he'd be great!" – The Incredibles Recommended

It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. – Dumbledore, in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence and fulfills the duty to express the results of his thought in clear form.. – Albert Einstein

In the ordinary elementary school situation children of 140 IQ waste half of their time.  Those above 170 IQ waste nearly all of their time.  With little to do, how can these children develop power of sustained effort, respect for the task, or habits of steady work? – Children Above 180 IQ Stanford-Binet: Origin and Development, Leta S. Hollingworth, p. 299.

If we were TV sets, some of us would only get five channels. Others are wired for cable (the general population) and some of us (the gifted) are hooked up to a satellite dish. That makes these gifted children capable of making connections that others don't even know exist! Teaching those types of voracious minds in a regular classroom without enhancement is like feeding an elephant one blade of grass at time. You'll starve them. – Elizabeth Meckstroth

The natural trajectory of giftedness in childhood is not a six-figure salary, perfect happiness, and a guaranteed place in Who's Who. It is the deepening of the personality, the strengthening of one's value system, the creation of greater and greater challenges for oneself, and the development of broader avenues for expressing compassion. – Counseling the Gifted and Talented, Dr. Linda K. Silverman, p. 22.

"The truly creative mind in any field is no more than this: A human creature born abnormally, inhumanly sensitive.
To him...
a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a lover,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create - - - so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating." – Pearl Buck

Unfortunately some people deny the fundamental role of acceleration in a program for the gifted. In so doing, they are in effect denying who and what defines the gifted at any stage of development - children who exhibit advanced intellectual development in one or more areas. – Joyce VanTassel-Baska, 1992

If they learn easily, they are penalized for being bored when they have nothing to do; if they excel in some outstanding way, they are penalized as being conspicuously better than the peer group. The culture tries to make the child with a gift into a one-sided person, to penalize him at every turn, to cause him trouble in making friends and to create conditions conducive to the development of a neurosis. Neither teachers, the parents of other children, nor the child peers will tolerate a Wunderkind. – Margaret Mead, 1954

Mildly, moderately, highly and extraordinarily gifted children are as different from each other as mildly, moderately, severely and profoundly retarded children are from each other, but the differences among levels of giftedness are rarely recognized. – Dr. Linda K. Silverman

To understand highly gifted children it is essential to realize that, although they are children with the same basic needs as other children, they are very different. Adults cannot ignore or gloss over their differences without doing serious damage to these children, for the differences will not go away or be outgrown. They affect almost every aspect of these children's intellectual and emotional lives. A microscope analogy is one useful way of understanding extreme intelligence. If we say that all people look at the world through a lens, with some lenses cloudy or distorted, some clear, and some magnified, we might say that gifted individuals view the world through a microscope lens and the highly gifted view it through an electron microscope. They see ordinary things in very different ways and often see what others simply cannot see. Although there are advantages to this heightened perception, there are disadvantages as well. – Stephanie S. Tolan, Helping Your Highly Gifted Child  

Boredom will always remain the greatest enemy of school disciplines. If we remember that children are bored, not only when they don't happen to be interested in the subject or when the teacher doesn't make it interesting, but also when certain working conditions are out of focus with their basic needs, then we can realize what a great contributor to discipline problems boredom really is. Research has shown that boredom is closely related to frustration and that the effect of too much frustration is invariably irritability, withdrawal, rebellious opposition or aggressive rejection of the whole show. – Fritz Redl, When We Deal With Children

Most teachers waste their time by asking questions which are intended to discover what a pupil does not know whereas the true art of questioning has for its purpose to discover what the pupil knows or is capable of knowing. – Albert Einstein

All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talent. – John F. Kennedy Civil Rights Address

Ain’t no man can avoid being born average, but there ain’t no man got to be common. – Satchel Paige

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us. It is in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson

SHOULD all kids do it?  COULD all kids do it?  WOULD all kids want to?  If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” then it isn’t differentiated.. – Harry Passow’s test for a differentiated curriculum

Within the top 1% of the IQ distribution, then, there is at least as much spread of talent as there is in the entire range from the 1st to the 99th percentile. – Hal Robinson, The uncommonly bright child

Until every gifted child can attend a school where the brightest are appropriately challenged in an environment with their intellectual peers, America can't claim that it's leaving no child behind. – Jan and Bob Davidson with Laura Vanderkam, in Genius Denied

What is necessary and sufficient for the nongifted is necessary but insufficient for the gifted, who need more and different learning experiences to match their potentials. –  A.J. Tannenbaum (Gifted Children: Psychological and Educational Perspectives, 1983)

Genius without education is like silver in the mine. – Benjamin Franklin

What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child. – George Bernard Shaw

Do not worry about your difficulties in mathematics. I can assure you that mine are still greater. – Albert Einstein

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal. – Aristotle

I asked Mom if I was a gifted child. She said they certainly wouldn't have PAID for me. – Calvin (Calvin & Hobbes)

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.  – Albert Einstein

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. – Albert Einstein

When a person teaches children - some of whom are more brilliant than others - and sees that it is disadvantageous for all of them to study together inasmuch as the brilliant children need a teacher for themselves alone, one should not keep quiet. One ought to say to the parents, "These children need a separate teacher," even if one loses by making the division. – Judah the Pious, Book of the Pious, Section 823

Persons of genius, it is true, are, and are always likely to be, a small minority; but in order to have them, it is necessary to preserve the soil in which they grow. Genius can only breathe freely in an atmosphere of freedom. – John Stuart Mill

I insist thus emphatically on the importance of genius, and the necessity of allowing it to unfold itself freely both in thought and in practice, being well aware that no one will deny the position in theory, but knowing also that almost every one, in reality, is totally indifferent to it. People think genius a fine thing if it enables a man to write an exciting poem, or paint a picture. But in its true sense, that of originality in thought and action, though no one says that it is not a thing to be admired, nearly all, at heart, think that they can do very well without it. Unhappily this is too natural to be wondered at. Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of. – John Stuart Mill

Loneliness does not come from having no people about one, but from being unable to communicate to others the things that seem important to oneself, or from holding certain views which others find inadmissible . . . If a man knows more than others, he becomes lonely. – Jung, 1989, p. 356

If the respective experiences of Stephen Wolfram and Dean Kamen are any indication, hell on earth for a brilliant innovator is spelled s-c-h-o-o-l. – Great Minds, Great Ideas, Newsweek, May 27, 2002, p.56.

Kamen, whose dad was an artist for Mad Magazine, found himself at odds with his public school teachers in New York's Long Island because he noted that his wrong answers weren't really wrong.  For instance, when asked to select the word that didn't belong to the set "add, subtract, multiply, increase," Kamen might choose "add" because all the others had seven letters. – ibid

Professor Julian Stanley and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins have suggested that mathematically precocious students are more significantly more likely to retain science and mathematics content accurately when it has been presented two to three times faster than the "normal" pace of a traditional mixed-ability class (Stanley, 1993).
Further, Stanley has found that gifted students are significantly more likely to forget or mislearn science and mathematics content when they are forced to review and drill it more than two to three times. In other words, the constant repetition of the regular classroom, so necessary for mastery among the general population, is actually detrimental to long term storage and retrieval of technical content of gifted students. (Note: The next paragraph goes on to say that preliminary research from CTY John's Hopkins suggests that this may hold true for foreign language, literature, and writing.) – Karen Rogers, Reforming Gifted Education: Matching the Program to the Child

The kind of intelligence a genius has is a different sort of intelligence. The thinking of a genius does not proceed logically. It leaps with great ellipses. It pulls knowledge from God knows where. – Dorothy Thompson

The more intelligent one is, the more men of originality one finds. Ordinary people find no difference between men. – Blaise Pascal

Acceleration is one of the most curious phenomena in the field of education. I can think of no other issue in which there is such a gulf between what research has revealed and what practitioners believe. The research on acceleration is so uniformly positive, the benefits of appropriate acceleration so unequivocal, that it is difficult to see how an educator can oppose it. – Dr. James Borland, Teachers College, Columbia University (1989)

The basic principle of the new education is to be that dunces and idlers must not be made to feel inferior to intelligent and industrious pupils.  That would be "undemocratic." These differences between the pupils - for they are obviously and nakedly individual differences - must be disguised. This can be done on various levels. At universities, examinations must be framed so that nearly all the students get good marks. Entrance examinations must be framed so that all, or nearly all, citizens can go to universities, whether they have any power (or wish) to profit by higher education or not. At schools, the children who are too stupid or lazy to learn languages and mathematics and elementary science can be set to doing the things that children used to do in their spare time. Let them, for example, make mud pies and call it modelling.  But all the time there must be no faintest hint that they are inferior to the children who are at work. Whatever nonsense they are engaged in must have - I believe the English already use the phrase - "parity of  esteem." An even more drastic scheme is not impossible. Children who are fit to proceed to a higher class may be artificially kept back, because the others would get a trauma - Beelzebub, what a useful word! - by being left behind. The bright pupil thus remains democratically fettered to his own age group throughout his school career, and a boy who would be capable of tackling Aeschylus or Dante sits listening to his coeval's attempts to spell out A CAT SAT ON A MAT. – C.S. Lewis, from "Screwtape Proposes a Toast," 1959

Gifted children, especially young ones, often have difficulty in making friends. The average child starts to make friends (psychologists say gets into the peer state) at about the age of seven. At this time there is a marked withdrawal from the family and the child finds someone just like himself, same age, same sex, same clothes, same breakfast food, same TV shows, with whom to identify. Parents often think the child has fallen under the evil influence of the neighbor's child and the neighbor thinks the same thing. Despite parental anguish the child is learning a most important lesson--how to identify with others. It is terribly important to be able to get along with and be liked by other members of your own sex, and this is the time when boys learn to be "regular fellers" and girls learn the same lesson.

But if he is a gifted child, one in a hundred, he has to know 100 other boys to find one like himself, and half the time the hundredth child is a girl, and he's sunk. It does no good to tell the child at this stage that the world is made up of all kinds of people, and he must like them all. He starts in by identifying with someone like himself. Many gifted children develop imaginary playmates to fill the void left by not having any true peers. Educators should allow for cluster grouping in the elementary grades, and parents should bus children around after school to find others they can play with. A gifted child with a chronological age of 8 and a mental age of 11 can't be expected to play with average children of either age--he won't get along with his age peers and average children aged 11 won't admit him to their games. He needs to find another child who is 8 but thinks like 11. This may take some parental doing, but it's much better than letting the child develop lonely, antisocial habits because no one else seems to be like him. So when a child becomes so absorbed in his own activities that he doesn't have friends, it's because he hasn't had a chance to make the right kind. – John Curtis Gowan and E. Paul Torrance, Educating the Ablest - A Book of Readings on Education of Gifted Children

By this refusal to recognize special gifts, we have wasted and dissipated, driven into apathy or schizophrenia, uncounted numbers of gifted children. If they learn easily, they are penalized for being bored when they have nothing to do; if they excel in some outstanding way, they are penalized for being conspicuously better than the peer group, and teachers warn the gifted child, "yes, you can do that; it's much more interesting than what the others are doing. But, remember, the rest of the class will dislike you for it." Meanwhile, the parents are terrorized with behests to bring up their children to be normal happy human beings, and told horror stories about infant prodigies who go mad at twenty. Under these conditions it is not surprising that, as one English critic has acutely remarked, "The United States has more promising young people who fizzle out than any other country." This is admittedly a grim picture--a startling grim picture-- especially when one realizes that parents all over the world dream of making it possible for their children to be born in America, the country where there are the resources and the freedom necessary for good life. – Margaret Mead, The Gifted Child in the American Culture of Today, Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 5, No.3, September 1954

There has been much theorizing about the personal and social maladjustment of the mentally gifted child. The material of this chapter, as well as that of earlier ones, indicates quite conclusively that the mentally gifted are not doomed to be personally maladjusted and social misfits. Where such maladjustment's prevail, one finds that it is the fault of the school or home rather than of the child. It is essential that gifted children not be neglected in the school processes; and that habits of idleness, half-heartedness, mediocre standards, and faulty attitudes toward tasks not be allowed to permeate this segment of the school population. It is such neglect that causes some bright pupils to become maladjustment problems. – Karl C. Garrison, The Psychology of  Exceptional Children

Society is injudicious in the extreme to neglect those children who possess the potentialities of high-quality leadership. Special education of the gifted is not only justified but is demanded by lessons of history. The lack of interest in classrooms manifested by many gifted children has misled the teacher in many cases and caused her to regard them as dull or slow-learning individuals.

Attitudes growing out of frustration have caused gifted children to be classified as delinquents and social maladjusted cases. There is need for careful systematic identification in all schools. Daydreaming on the part of a child, although considered a symptom of maladjustment, is really a tension reducing mechanism. Likewise, aggressiveness, lying, and stealing are attempts to reduce tension. Furthermore, in so far as a study of children will help, it is far wiser to prevent problems from becoming acute than to introduce clinical aid and other external correctives into the educational program after the problem child has become a truant or delinquent. Equality of opportunity demands that each child be given the type of education which best meets his needs and capacities. This principle is violated when a gifted child is forced to accept an education which does not take into consideration his superior ability and give him an opportunity to develop it. The administration should be responsible for instructing the principal and teachers that pupils should never be threatened with transfer to a special class. The plans of the administrator must include provisions for parent education so that the program becomes one of teamwork toward common goals. It is the legal responsibility of the state and the local district to furnish this program. If the responsibility of the state and local district is interpreted as merely permissive, there may be neglect and denial of opportunity to many children unless vigorous leadership is supplemented with adequate financial support . – The Education of Exceptional Children 49th Yearbook, Part II, The National Society for the Study of Education, 1950

Society has not given the same attention to the education of the genius as has been given to other groups. We spend millions every year for the mentally retarded. The unfortunate child of superior intellect spends his time in a usual commonplace school assimilating a diet far below his expected capacity. The gifted child poses one of our greatest present- day problems beginning in the home and ultimately becoming a concern of the school. Teachers bear the responsibility to recognize and plan for the needs of the gifted. – Sister Josephine Concannon, Assessing Human Potential

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