The Real Child Left Behind
by Kelsi Bustad
Special and Gifted Education
Faculty advisor: Dr. Robbie Ludy
With No Child Left Behind the focus of American education has gone to the students that are falling behind, not those that naturally achieve. Gifted programs receive little or any funding, so schools have gone to provisions - like pull-out programs - which aren't fair to gifted students, (who aren't gifted for only 2 or 3 days a week or for an hour, but for 365 days a year). Schools are also pushing kids online to AP classes or other college courses, but it is unclear if these things are benefitting them or not. For example, do we want gifted 8-year-olds taking online college course that are meant for 21-year-olds?
My project focuses on ways that teachers can help students use the internet better, such as by encouraging their students to do "web quests:" for example, a Social Studies lesson plan over Jamestown and the settlers might have gifted students design their own virtual Jamestown. With webcams, students can also talk to other gifted students in distant countries to exchange ideas and information.
These types of instruction may benefit gifted students more than online classes. These options aren't expensive and could help the students learn more at appropriate levels. The most important thing is that teachers need to be trained in working with gifted students and online projects. The teacher cannot just think that since the children are gifted that they are capable of learning everything on their own. They need guidance and direction just as much as any students.