For many years, the American education system has been dominated by programs that appeal to identified “gifted and talented” students. Big chunks of money have been diverted to these programs, with schools using the prestige and recognition included to climb the ranks of the educational system. However, while these programs may sound good initially, they are very flawed deep down.
Starting off specifically for GT, the “Gifted and Talented” label isn’t accurate. While the general concept is to train the skills of “gifted students”, it has been observed many times that most students in the program are actually average in terms of grades and skill/knowledge. I personally recall an experience that I had a few years ago. I saw something written by a GT certified student. The entire work was filled with typos and horrible grammar/spelling errors. This wasn’t from a gifted student. This was at the level of a kindergartener.
What this exposes is that most students in the program aren’t gifted. In fact, the majority I have encountered have shown little to no willingness to work. They were forced into the program under pressure by others. This causes unnecessary stress and overexertion by the students. By now, most of the students I’ve seen are seemingly burned out.
I recently got invited by my friend to an online chat server for students in the advanced programs. Upon reading some of the chat forums, I repeatedly found them showing anger and frustration over school. This is not what we want to see. School is meant to be an exciting experience filled with exploration of new fields. Instead, we have a bunch of students angered, tired, and not willing to work. Worst of all, it got to the point where they began to insult teachers and staff.
The advanced programs are being used by a wide variety of groups for money, prestige, and power (i.e. College Board, student parents, school administrators, etc.). Right now, let’s talk about the College Board.
The College Board is a non-governmental company that specializes in developing school programs and tests. Officially, they are non profit. However, much of their activities are corporate in nature. In 2019, the company made approximately $150 million in profit, and that was just one year. Their budget is estimated to be more than a billion dollars. They also own much of the standardized tests and have, practically, no competitors. Why should a non-governmental organization have so much control over our educational system? I think that AP should stay, but ownership of the program and SAT tests be handed over to the government.
The GT and AP programs are merely a label in nature. They do not determine someone’s individual knowledge and gifts. They are merely there for prestige and money. This is why I propose that GT either be renamed to something else (so it’s not strictly labeling students as gifted), or be dissolved entirely. In an age where more and more young people are being granted a decent education, we should be thankful for what we have and not be entitled. We also need to prevent more corporate intrusion on government institutions. The American school system is heavily flawed, but we can fix it together. We can make these programs actually mean something. School can actually do what it’s supposed to do, educate.
By Alec Stuart, News Editor