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[–][deleted] 4 points5 points ago

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I was kept out of gifted programs when I was in public school, but I was in semi-accelerated/accelerated/AP programs throughout middle school and high school. I'm also white, and identified as cis at the time. So some of the stuff I have to say comes from a mixture of those backgrounds and experiences:

A lot of these programs use IQ and reasoning tests as a basis for entrance. I think that separating people out by IQ is really problematic.

I think this is one of the major shortcomings of "Gifted" programs. They often shoot for a certain hegemonic, ingrained, and classist/elitist definition of what "gifted" means. This usually means that a lot of different forms of intellect and "smartness" are kept out. Especially creative intelligence and various skillsets, i.e. mechanical repair, computer programming, engineering, physical labor, etc.

I remember when I was in public school, I never made it into our school's "Gifted 'n' Talented" program because I couldn't hit the reasoning & logic threshold that they wanted me to hit. It made no sense - I knew I wasn't the brightest kid in the entire school, but I did pretty damn well throughout middle school and elementary school. And I met a lot of kids who were much, much smarter than me who never made it in. It didn't makes a lot of sense.

Mobility between "traditional" and "gifted" programs is really low. I think you cannot properly evaluate how well someone would do in accelerated classes solely by a test and it requires time to see if a particular student would do well.

I don't think this is always true - I think it depends on the school system and how accessible accelerated programs are in the first place. I definitely agree that testing is a pretty shitty indicator of whether a student could do well in an accelerated class. However, there are actually a lot of courses in which you can start in one unaccelerated section, and advance to an accelerated section the next year. This is especially the case in a.) courses that don't use skillsets that build on each other, b.) school systems that plan for unaccelerated students to advance into accelerated courses.

I don't think advancing is clean; I think it's very messy and stressful, and the systems are terrible because administrators often intend them to be one-tract (i.e. start in accelerated, end in accelerated). But I also think some school systems are better with mobility than others. I think it also depends on what privileges and experiences a student walks into the classroom with.

It was really obvious that traditional students were viewed as troublemakers. Additionally, I think that having a separate class of mostly white students that were viewed as "smarter" since they were in the "gifted" program was likely extremely discouraging for the mostly black students in the traditional program.

I went to school in a middle-class & upper-middle-class section of NJ with a huge percentage of white students and very few people of color. According to our state statistics, we were split "76.2% white, 2.2% black, 6.7% Hispanic, and 13.9% Asian." And I noticed as well that there was definitely a racial and class gap between accelerated and unaccelerated. There were a good deal of people of color in our accelerated programs, but there were on average more white students than people of color in accelerated and AP programs. I can recall some classes where we only had two or three people of color in a class of like 12 kids, and maybe four or five in a class of 20. Definitely a huge racial gap.

Overall, I think the same power dynamics and social, economic, racial, and gender issues prevail across the United States. Except some regions have a much more rigid and blatantly oppressive system than others.

[–]you_may_die 3 points4 points ago

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In my city we only had IB/AP offered at certain high schools in the area which was kind of problematic since, while I think it was possible to go to a different school for IB than you normally would, that's not an option for everyone because of commuting

That might have just been a gradual rollout, though. We just got IB in public schools here for the first time when I was in high school, so maybe there are more schools that have it now.

edit: another thing was that switching from traditional to IB was hard. I went from regular math to pre-IB in grade 10 and really missed some stuff, so I was struggling. If I hadn't been in an environment where my teachers were willing to help and hadn't been raised in an environment that always reminded me I was a Very Bright Child Who Could Do Anything I could have easily gotten discouraged and given up.

I think those programs are valuable (even though I didn't do all that great in IB, it made my first year of college so much easier, which definitely helped give me the drive and confidence to do well later on) but there is definitely a better way to administrate them

[–]talkingraccoon 3 points4 points ago

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I was in a bunch in elementary but then not in middle school or highschool, even though i probably should have been. I don't know if this is the case, but AP just meant like "History/Algebra, but harder and more homework" so like, fuck that right?

It's been well over 10 years since i graduated from highschool and i'm finally reading this book i've known about for at least 3 years, that i wish i had read when I graduated. it's called gifted adult and, i'm only a few chapters in, but it seems to help adults who were in "gifted" programs as kids (or should have been, at least) deal with their quirks so they can be productive. it's seems silly but theres tons of spots where they're describing people and it's like "ohmygod that is so me". I'm hoping it helps me kinda get over these weird person hiccups i have that have been holding me back for a while in terms of what i actually want to do in life.

they kinda went over how IQ tests are kinda terrible in finding giftedness in people, and how you sorta have to be in the right kind of environment to be able tto get the chance to explore your giftedness at an early age.

[–]trimalchio 2 points3 points ago

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So I was in gifted classes from 2nd grade onward, but the first year was just this weird enrichment class thing where basically instead of eating lunch normally some kids took an extra class thingy and we learned stuff that was more fun/small group oriented, but after that I went to a different school to be in the gifted classes there.

In my school district there wasn't really a lack of diversity to discern in the gifted classes... the demographics of the area wouldn't really allow that. But there was always a very strong class based difference. The richer kids with parents who wanted them in the gifted program got their kids in the gifted program. The parents that had the time and energy to take a more active role in their children's schooling usually got their way eventually, if not because of persistence and the system for getting into the gifted program then because they'd work with their kid enough to get them through the test eventually.

Anywho; the race stuff was still pretty disheartening... there may not have been all that many white people in the Gifted classes; but there were a lot more in there than in traditional classes. Actually wait... that could also be an artifact of the fact that my school system was still under court ordered Brown v. Board busing and integration quotas, and so I was being bused in from the whiter neighborhood to go to my school.... but either way the white kids were almost all in the gifted program.

Anyways, as far as the difference between "Traditional" and gifted programs; I have no idea. My mom taught at the school but worked mostly with the gifted kids. My education there was pretty good but it never felt like... different from the way other kids were doing school. I don't know if we had more projects or something but it seemed pretty normal... I also wouldn't really know what it'd be like switching between them. I took the test so young and had such an easy time of everything academic in school so I can't really gauge what it was like outside of my bubble.

As for the separation aspect... I actually have a story about that from middle school... So basically our shitty ass middle school had the gifted students and traditional students totally separated in our classes; we would eat lunch together some but that was it. Well the administration decided to have an intramural basketball game between the Traditional kids and the Gifted kids, with the whole school watching. So at some point during the game some shit goes down between some people, some shit is said about people, and then pretty much in the middle of the basketball game the whole 800 person gym erupts into a straight up riot. Like, a huge fight broke out in one of the bleechers, teachers were running to break it up, kids were running out of the gym, fights were breaking out all over between gifted and traditional kids... one kid got his face stomped on the stairs and had to have serious surgery from it, all sorts of shit went down. I don't remember how long the teachers didn't have control over the school but it was long enough to be a real shitshow. Anyways, later that day the principal (a middle aged black guy who had retired after the marines because of an injury and walked with a cane, he liked to wear dashikis a lot and he'd always tell us "Failure is not an option" which... like it definitely is.... especially in school... anyways) so the principal sat the whole school down again in the gym and told everyone that they were suspended. Of course this didn't work... he couldn't suspend the entire school.... like that doesn't work and he doesn't have the authority... but he still said it because that's the kind of person he was, he relished his authority and had no ability to self-evaluate. Anyways, so the next day he had to rescind his suspend-everyone plan but the whole thing was a giant fiasco and they never again divided the basketball teams into traditional/gifted.

Anyways, middle school sucked for me a lot outside of academic stuff so I almost didn't get into the only good high school in our district because my test scores weren't high enough and my grades were really terrible in middle school. (I got some Ds and Es out of just not doing homework because i was too depressed) But anyways, while I didn't get into the normal program for that school I got into a less rigorous special program that was theoretically supposed to be about computers and stuff and so I just sailed through all that shit because I already knew more about computers than any of my teachers. Anyways, that program let me take all the specialty classes and shit that I wanted, but because I was lazy I didn't do as many AP classes as I could've. I also got to have an internship except it was with the in school recording studio stuff so I didn't have to leave and it was very low stress and I didn't have to present a research project at the end of it so it was really chill.

Anyways, I think the issue with gifted programs is that they create a hierarchy of opportunities that continue to lavish opportunities on the most privileged or already engaged students. I think that funding should be more evenly distributed and more creatively spent on all students regardless of how well they scored on certain tests. I think though that being in a gifted program does not better prepare you for high school, college, or the real world. I think it gives students inflated egos and more neuroses than a more inclusive classroom style. I think that there's no reason that kids not identified as gifted can't be educated alongside their "gifted" classmates nor that gifted students are held back by being integrated with normal kids. I think that more individualized attention is great for kids; but I don't think that should come at the expense of feeling like a normal kid who's just doing their best.

[–]onononon 1 point2 points ago

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I've never been to an IB school but I've subbed at several IB schools. They usually have the IB and the "regular" students on two completely different bell schedules, in two completely different sides of the school, with completely different lunch schedules. So, in theory, the only time an IB student will have to interact with or even look at a "regular" student is in like, band class or right at the beginning or end of school.

I think it really shortchanges everyone involved because teenagers need to learn how to interact with people unlike themselves. That is the prime time when learning how to socially interact is one of the most important things anyone can be learning.

From the ages of 13-22 (basically high school to college) most of what people learn that they use in their day-to-day life is OUTSIDE the classroom. I've said that before in front of professional teachers though and had them just looking at me like I just shat on a bible. It's pretty frustrating and partly why I got out of the education business.

[–]othello[S] 0 points1 point ago

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Wow, that's really interesting. It's bad enough at my school where all the "gifted" kids would sit together at lunch and interact mostly with one another and not the "traditional" kids, but at least some classes were shared and we were in the same buildings.

[–]onononon 1 point2 points ago

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Granted, this is only at a small number of "magnet" schools. At other schools, there's no schedule difference for AP/"Honors"/"Traditional"

[–]blip 1 point2 points ago

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I was in accelerated classes for a few years in elementary school.

  1. The school offered the IQ test so I was pulled out of class to take it, my parents did not need to drive me. I scored 136 and was put in accelerated classes and a "gifted" reading class.

  2. There may or may not be difficulty experienced by the student. In my case, I was extremely bored in regular classes. The teachers would take an inordinate amount of time covering each topic and each day was used to build on the basics of each topic and going through in-class assignments. I would usually sneak in a book and read while the teacher talked. I'd finish assignments much faster than most students. Students who experience such frustrations in school tend to come to dislike school and are not being challenged. This poses issues in the future, perhaps in secondary or post-secondary education as these students never had the opportunity to discover their learning styles and do not develop a work ethic.

    That said, I never had any difficulty transitioning from regular to advanced classes. I always looked forward to them as they were the few moments where I felt that I was actually learning.

  3. That could be an issue but it depends on the school, its demographics, and the region. I also attended a poor school that was populated mainly by immigrants. There was a sizable number of whites but people of Somali and Lebanese backgrounds were prominent (the vast majority of students knew some Somali, which is an attestment to the large number of students of that background). So I never felt as though I was as much of a minority as I did in later years. The number of gifted children in our year was small, there were only about 6-8 of us some years, eventually only about 3-4 near the end. Mostly, we were placed in classes with students 1-2 grades ahead of us and the classes were diverse.

    The only issue with being put in these classes is that students may feel uncomfortable with being grouped with older students (remember that age differences are more noticeable in children than in adults).

I believe that accelerated and gifted classes may be greatly beneficial for some students. Teachers are individuals who can only do so much, it is difficult to go through material at a steady, consistent pace and still help those who need more assistance to keep up and keep the "gifted" students challenged. Frankly, I understand if teachers consider the latter their last priority. This is why classes for these students is necessary.