To the Editor:
We commend the editors of your Technology Counts 2008 special issue, STEM: The Push to Improve Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (March 27, 2008), for highlighting many cutting-edge projects aimed at improving STEM education in the United States.
Conspicuous in several articles in the issue was the critical role gifted education plays in many of the most promising STEM initiatives, from programs targeting gifted students of diverse backgrounds (“Cultivating a Diversity of Talent”), to dedicated schools that invest in excellence (“A School Where STEM Is King”).
It is clear that the nation’s role as the world’s economic leader and innovator depends on how well schools challenge the advanced students in our classrooms. But we would hope to see future reporting address the clear fact that pockets of exciting and high-quality STEM initiatives targeting advanced learners cannot substitute for a nationwide, systematic approach to providing gifted students the educational support they need.
Until the federal government recognizes the importance of investing in gifted education, we will leave our greatest resource—our students—untapped. With the No Child Left Behind Act driving down U.S. expectations for learning, while other nations are directing increased resources to aid their highest-performing students, the challenges confronting our 3 million academically gifted learners should be more fully exposed—and the numerous benefits that gifted-education strategies deliver for all students better highlighted.
The time to make a greater investment in our brightest children is now. The country’s future depends on it.
National Association for Gifted Children
More letters to the editor.
A version of this article appeared in the April 16, 2008 edition of Education Week as Gifted Education Is Critical To Progress in STEM Areas