Talented Students On Hold

Kristen Stephens and Jan Riggsbee
DURHAM – In his State of the Union address last week, President Bush called on Congress to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), saying “We must increase funds for students who struggle…and make sure these children get the special help they need.” But NCLB, as it is currently implemented, largely ignores another important group that is struggling — gifted and talented students.
Our society typically views struggling students as those who are disadvantaged by ability or demonstrated achievement level — those students not meeting proficiency levels for their respective grade.
However, gifted and talented students struggle because they sit in our classrooms and wait. They wait for rigorous curriculum. They wait for opportunities to be challenged. They wait for engaging, relevant instruction that nurtures their potential.
And, as they wait, these students lose interest in their passions, become frustrated and unmotivated from the lack of challenge their schools’ curricula provide them. As a result, they become our lost talent.