I think that it is important to have opportunities for advanced students to obtain seperate instruction is subjects they excel in. It is my belief that by doing this we don’t sacrifice diversity, we actually increase it.
My logic is as follows. If gifted students are not given the challenge they need in school, they will not achieve as much as they can. If the public schools are not able to provide for these childern, then parents of gifted kids will pull them out of school. Unfortunately, only involved parents with money will have the ability to give their kids the alternative education like private school. Thus, the public schools will be left with few children at the top end of the education spectrum since it can’t provide for them.
My belief that this is true comes from my home town in California. We have one elementary school in a wealthy area that is known to have much better educational opportunities for students. Parents in other districts constantly try to move their children to this school. Due to declining enrollment, other school districts have stopped letting students switch schools. To still provide for the children, the school in the wealthy area became a charter school. Now, parents can move their children there without incident. But, the other public schools are left without their brightest students. If the other public schools could provide for their brightest, the public schools would include all of the students.
The importance of public education providing for gifted students becomes especially apparent when you look at personal examples. I did not attend the wealthy school, but through an individually tailored math eduacation, I was able to enter high school in trig. The other freshmen in this course were ALL from the wealthy school, though this school only has around 1/5 of students in the area. Some of my classmates at the wealthy school were from advantaged backgrounds. But, one student in particular was not. This student, “John”, was given the ability to excell at the wealthy school and performed excellently. By the end of high school, he had completed a large portion of a standard undergraduate mathematics major by taking courses at the local college. He recieved a large scholarship to attend a prestigious liberal arts school. He graduated with a math and physics degree after three years.
If the opportunities that were given the students at the wealthy school and the abilitiy to take college classes while in high school were not there, the wealthier students would not be affected much academically. My area has several private and charter schools that many wealthy kids attend when the public schools aren’t good enough. My friends that switched to these schools were predominately the children of doctors, lawyers, and local businessmen. Unfortunately for advanced but disadvantaged students, theirs only chance to succeed is the public schools. If the public schools are not providing for the brightest, the ones with resources shall go elsewhere and the ones without resources will lose out.
My parents told me that had my schools not been willing to give me individual instruction, I would have been homeschooled. My parents felt it was important to see the many culures and personalities in the public school system. But, they would not sacrifice my education for it.