Gifted student feels Left Behind

Dave Toplikar
January 30, 2007
Lawrence ninth grader to speak up for high achievers during Capitol visit.
As No Child Left Behind policy is reviewed this year, there is one group of students some think may have been left behind — those who are high achievers.
“Most of the time I’m stuck in regular classes,” said Dravid Joseph, a ninth-grader at West Junior High. “Sometimes I’m bored with what I’m doing there.”
Partially for that reason, Dravid will join a contingent of some of Kansas’ most gifted students who will travel Wednesday to Topeka to advocate for specialized classes for more than 15,000 of their peers across the state.
Similar stories from Wisconsin and beyond:

2 thoughts on “Gifted student feels Left Behind”

  1. It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach. – Franklin Roosevelt
    I agree that all kids should get a year’s worth of education every year. The question for me is how it should be provided.
    How much should the parents (if they can afford it) provide, how much should the kid be responsible for taking the initiative to learn material themselves.
    Let me be the “devil’s advocate” at this point.
    I grew up in a small farming community in Indiana in the 50’s and 60’s. I remember reading Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Scientific American, and Heathkits were available. “How to build your own …. ” was in every magazine. Televisions were new and exciting. Everyone seemed to build their own radios. It’s what we did as kids, it’s what adults did for hobbies.
    In fact, everyone seemed to know how to do stuff on their own. My parents and grandparents lived throught the Depression, WWII. My dad followed Rommel across Africa maintaining the communications equipment, and later built and maintained the radios for the bombers attacking Italy. They knew how to make do with what they had and resourcefulness — they had to.
    Some of this must have rubbed off on some of my generation.
    I built radios from parts, amplifiers from parts. Scientific American had this “Science Experiments” section of the magazine, and eventually published a book, thick, which gave instructions to on how to build interesting science fair experiments. I built a Van DeGraaf generator, and a cloud chamber based on these specs. Just fun.
    Rockets were in. No toy CO2 cartridges; real “rocket fuel” — zinc & sulfur, sugar and saltpetre (we called it). Dangerous, almost blew my face off. This was not under the guidance of teachers. We built model airplanes. My cousin, in another town, built his own rockets too.
    My school did not teach calculus, so I picked up a calculus book and learned some of it on my own. Sometime in the 5th or 6th grade, I wanted to learn how to do arithmetic faster, so I found this book by a Nazi concentration camp survivor who kept his sanity by discovering different neat ways to do mental arithmetic. It was fun learning new ways to do something the teachers weren’t teaching.
    Einstein had just passed away, but his name was used in everyday conversation. Imagine, a ticker-tape parade for a scientist/mathematician/philosopher. So was Werner Von Braun. Maybe this was after Sputnik, but there was no question that we (the kids) were expected to take the initiative, and I don’t think parents questioned the appropriateness of it.
    I don’t think I was TAG kid, but we didn’t label kids that way; it was college-bound or not. Even in small town Indiana, most kids knew to how to do things on their own and being bored and blaming the schools, teachers, and parents for it was just not done. If we were bored, that was our fault, and not others’ responsibilities.
    And if the schools didn’t give us what we needed, we did it ourselves; we never expected and demanded that the schools do it all. And, they didn’t.

  2. Amen! Larry’s energy and curiosity as a young person are something I hope to witness and encourage in my own kids.
    Anyone who attends college, enters a trade, or begins a new profession must take ownership of their own education. It is a lifelong project. The earlier a child is encouraged to think this way the better.
    As a child grows, the public school needs to play more of a supporting role, less of a controlling role. To me, this means that our district must keep pace with the self-directed kids who need flexibilty to pursue college courses, apprenticeships, independent study, etc.

Comments are closed.