Leadership Symposium Early Bird Deadline Approaching | Join K-12 leaders nationwide for three days of empowering strategies, networking, and inspiration! Discounted pricing ends March 1. Register today.
Opinion
Special Education Letter to the Editor

‘Gifted’ Label Is Crucial to Ensure Access to Much-Needed Services

May 06, 2014 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Although the authors of the Commentary “Gifted Ed. Is Crucial, But the Label Isn’t” make some very good points about the mismatch between gifted students’ abilities and the educational services they receive, I find their premise—that the gifted label is unnecessary—to be quite naive.

Labels in special education (and yes, gifted children are special-needs students) provide access to educational alternatives that align with the students’ unique learning needs. Simply put: No label, no access. Instead of advocating elimination of the gifted label, the authors should argue for its strengthening. Perhaps when the label is celebrated instead of discarded, identified gifted students will receive more than the minimal services that most schools now provide.

The authors’ views of the benefits of gifted programs are shortsighted, as they focus entirely on enhanced academic growth. While such growth is both expected and beneficial, it is seldom the reason that graduates of gifted programs recall these programs so fondly. Rather, it is the social and emotional connections that gifted kids forge with other students who are as smart as or smarter than they are that make these programs so memorable.

Gifted kids are more than academic superstars, but the authors of the Commentary perceive them from a one-dimensional vantage that does a disservice to the gifted students they presumably support.

James R. Delisle

North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The author, now retired, was a distinguished professor of education at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the May 07, 2014 edition of Education Week as ‘Gifted’ Label Is Crucial to Ensure Access to Much-Needed Services

Events

Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Science of Reading: Emphasis on Language Comprehension
Dive into language comprehension through a breakdown of the Science of Reading with an interactive demonstration.
Content provided by Be GLAD
English-Language Learners Webinar English Learners and the Science of Reading: What Works in the Classroom
ELs & emergent bilinguals deserve the best reading instruction! The Reading League & NCEL join forces on best practices. Learn more in our webinar with both organizations.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education Q&A Schools Should Boost Inclusion of Students With Disabilities, Special Olympics Leader Says
Schools have work to do to ensure students with intellectual and developmental disabilities feel a sense of belonging, Tim Shriver said.
6 min read
Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver greets a child at one of the organization’s events.
Special Olympics Chairman Timothy Shriver greets a child at one of the organization’s events.
Courtesy of Special Olympics
Special Education Spotlight Spotlight on the Science of Reading for Students with Disabilities
This Spotlight will empower you with strategies to apply the science of reading to support students with learning differences and more.
Special Education Video A Student Wrote a Book About Her Learning Disability. Now, She Has Advice for Teachers
Zoe Kozina, 17, is the author of Your Beautiful Mind, a children’s book published this year.
Special Education Disability or 'Superpower'? The Push to Change Mindsets About Students With Learning Differences
Advocates are calling for a paradigm shift in how adults perceive, and educate, students with learning differences.
5 min read
Conceptual artwork, imagination dream and hope concept, Superhero boy
Jorm Sangsorn/iStock/Getty