U.S. schools are Failing Our Brightest Kids, write Checker Finn and Brandon Wright in a new book. “This failure of will, policy, and program is particularly devastating to high-ability youngsters from disadvantaged circumstances,” writes Finn.
The book looks at how other countries support high achievers. In Asia, “plenty of poor parents — who may not be well educated themselves — strongly push their daughters and sons to succeed in school, get into selective high schools, and proceed to top universities and good jobs,” writes Finn.
Screening all children for ability — used in Western Australia and Singapore — is “far more effective at moving minority students into ‘gifted and talented’ programs than waiting for pushy parents,” writes Finn.
Gifted programs work especially well for low-income and minority students, research shows, but “are scarce in American education, especially in schools full of poor kids,” writes Finn. This is “devastating for able kids from disadvantaged circumstances and disorganized families.”
Educated, motivated parents can supplement their children’s learning, provide challenges and find the best the public system has to offer. It’s much harder for uneducated parents to help their kids go beyond what’s offered in school.