If ever there was an indictment of George W. Bush, this article is a resounding one. His “No Child Left Behind” initiative is one of those things that he hails as indicative of his compassion and would probably consider his legacy.
Unfortunately, in today’s publicly-funded educational system, money allocated for a new project must carve out funds from existing projects. The message sent by this new program is clear: the dumb must be raised up. The zero-sum budget game of public education adds in an implicit corollary: the bright must be brought down.
This, I must say, is a travesty. Speaking as a recipient of gifted education throughout my public school career, I think that I would have tuned out if I hadn’t had a daily respite from the doldrums. Being able to associate with other smart people who had all sorts of quirks that were as egghead-y as your own—think Head of the Class but younger—was literally a life-saver (or, perhaps, a mind-saver).
If you believe that children are our future, the gifted are the particular subset of children that are most likely to represent our future. The mass of public school children will, by and large, become the future construction laborers, service workers, and auto mechanics of our country. All of which, mind you, are perfectly respectable jobs and will enable them to live their lives and raise their families.
But to condemn the gifted to wallow in the banality of their regular classrooms is indefensible. In a more perfect world, the fact that such a law was passed with such inevitable and foreseeable consequences would be damnatory and result in Bush II’s inability to achieve the Republican Party nomination. That it isn’t points to the sorry state of affairs the GOP finds itself in.