Originally posted by DeReK DaRkLy
I was placed in the gifted program in the 5th grade for scoring exceptionally high on a statewide test.
Oddly enough, we mainly did aerobics and studied Greek mythology of all things, even dressing up for a mock toga party complete with grape juice!
I thought it was kinda creepy, and I didn't really see the point.
I'm not into any type of classism, segregation or social discrimination and the program somehow made me feel more socially isolated than I already
First of all, I want to say that, after pondering the program myself for a few months, I obtained access to an university database where I read
roughly 1000 abstracts on the subjects of the gifted programs and gifted research taking place between the 19th century to the present. Surprisingly,
less than 10% of the abstracts were available in their full pdf version irrespective of time period. Probably the most consistent source that
provided pdf variants were articles from the Gifted Child Quarterly, the academic journal run by the National Association of Gifted Children.
Interestingly enough, the wiki only cites the UK version and only makes a small remark about an US version (of which the aforementioned Gowan was the
president of in the late 70's). I've looked at many old documents in regards to curriculum subjects and ideas that were used to instruct the
Legislation drafted and passed by Congress from 1958 in the form of the NDEA and later into the Javits Act created the gifted programs. It initiated
the search for gifted children through what was called Project Talent and eventually culminated, as intended, into gifted programs nationwide. Each
of the 50 states is mandated to have a gifted program. Congress, for whatever reason, decided that the individuals who were to be in charge of these
programs should be from the fields of psychology and psychiatry--not education though the research and programs were frequently performed by
The Greek mythology unit was most likely used to emphasize what was called in the gifted program, "the Hero's Journey". Instead of summarizing it,
I'll simply leave links that I know that all you former bright kids can figure out. If I had to guess though, I wouldn't be surprised if the reason
why you all had a toga party was to put yourself into the Greek mythos, even to possibly subconsciously stimulate the vision of oneself as being part
of the Greek mythos in the role of the hero: mdk12.org...
Ironically enough, in the late 60's to the present, there was a good deal of research and concern being expressed for gifted students' "attitude
problems" and "sense of isolation". Never once did any of these papers make the correlation that being identified and pulled out of classrooms to
learn radically different from one's peers material as being a factor. Bit of a logical fallacy there and this radical difference in education is
precisely what my youngest expressed after being recently placed into the program herself. She was no longer having math classes with her normal
classroom or even covering the same math subjects. Instead, she's learning about prime numbers, Euclid and perfect numbers, numeric patterns,
Meresenne primes, and playing with cryptex. Her remark about this just last week was "I feel kind of lonely because I can't talk to my friends
about what I learned as I don't think they'll understand it. I don't feel as close to them anymore."
The response by these gifted "educators" to the sense of isolation, as their concern was that we would become so isolated from the rest of society
that we would no longer act in benefit to that same society, was referred to as "character building" exercises. Basically, manipulating our
characters through lesson, practice and deliberate exposures through a variety of media, in such a way that we felt a sense of obligation to society.
Anybody remember what the god Odin did?
I can honestly say that there was some seriously sketchy lines of thought that were occurring, sometimes for decades, within the top researchers of
their time periods in regards to gifted program education. For any that recall bizarre medical like tests, a small number of gifted were used for
biofeedback experiments, EEGs, and MRI's to basically monitor the differences in neural activity between us and others. You can find those in a
google scholar search.