Regarding Jay Mathews’s Oct. 9 Class Struggle column, “Gifted education doesn’t make sense” [Local Living]:
Gifted-education professionals look for ways to include as many students as possible in programs. They evaluate ability at several points during a student’s academic career rather than attaching a label once, without reevaluation. Applied research funded by the federal gifted education program led to the development of many of these identification strategies, particularly those focused on students from communities underrepresented in gifted programs.
Gifted education is more than advanced courses in which select students are enrolled. Effective gifted education programming must be a menu of evidence-based options, such as judicious use of grade acceleration, ability grouping and pull-out classes; supplemental content delivered via online modules; and other strategies. All of these options require well-trained educators.
Unfortunately, most students have to fend for themselves.
Without accountability for the learning gains of our top students, there is little support for teacher training, and many states provide no funding to support services at the district level.
The result is that far too many highly able students go unserved. This is a recipe for boredom and underachievement, not learning excitement.
Nancy Green, Washington
The writer is executive director of the National Association for Gifted Children.