To the Editor:
Your March 27, 2008, Technology Counts special issue on science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, education provided critical insight into helping bridge the gap between what is taught in the classroom and the knowledge needed to keep America globally competitive—with an omission: It did not address the lack of gifted education programs across the country.
I commend the editors for highlighting many of the great STEM initiatives under way, but until all gifted learners have access to curriculum and instruction that address their unique learning needs, we will continue to ignore these 3 million students and leave our country vulnerable in the global marketplace.
It is disappointing that Education Week did not use this opportunity to include an article on the negative impact the No Child Left Behind Act has had on gifted education; how some estimates report a 20 percent dropout rate among gifted learners; how gifted programs vary widely between and within states; how many schools are ill-equipped to address gifted education; or how all students can benefit from gifted education strategies.
NCLB has had the unintended consequence of ignoring high-achieving students, and school funding has become so strained that gifted education programs are on the chopping block. Yet the Bush administration continues its crusade to eliminate the only federal program supporting gifted education. The challenges confronting gifted learners and the ramifications of these for the future well-being of our country are worthy topics for future articles.
Bruce A. Ramirez
Council for Exceptional Children
A version of this article appeared in the April 23, 2008 edition of Education Week as Missing an Opportunity On Gifted Education?