Gifted Education in America: Suggested Improvements by Dr. Maurice Fisher

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During the last ten years, the gifted education field has fallen farther and farther behind as being one of the key areas of American education. The United States Congress has stopped funding research on gifted education, school districts in almost every state have cut back or completely eliminated funding for gifted programs, and STEM initiatives implemented by the federal government and corporate America make few provisions for identifying gifted students to participate in these innovative programs.

I have always believed that our gifted students are our nation’s greatest natural-education resource. This is a subgroup of our school population that will produce the outstanding inventors, scientists, mathematicians, poets, authors, and creative business executives. It is difficult to determine what has caused this serious decline in gifted education, but here are a few ideas I have for improving the current situation:

· Educate all teachers to take a more holistic view of education that stresses the unification of English/language arts, social studies, math and science. Our schools are currently using a curriculum model that is over one-hundred years old and was developed to fulfill education needs at the beginning of the industrial age in the United States. To accomplish this reorganization of the curriculum, it will be necessary to reduce the influence of entrenched schools of education, and to replace them with intensive and required liberal arts programs in our colleges and universities.

· Require all gifted education programs to be integrated with a STEM education curriculum beginning in elementary school. To achieve this goal, the instructional schedules at all school levels will need to be radically reorganized to accommodate a 21st century STEM/Humanities program. The model for achieving this reorganization has been operating successfully in public schools for many decades – as exemplified in arts and music programs. As in these esthetically enriching programs, instructional periods should be expanded to the studio level of two or three hours, so that all students will have enough time to work on individual and rigorous STEM/Humanities projects. Teachers will also have the time to work together in designing a unified curriculum that combines math-science and English-social studies to achieve the necessary synergy for solving STEM related problems.

· For the gifted and all students, it is important to unify STEM learning with the Humanities. In this regard, I recommend that educators, gifted students and parents read and study the works of great Renaissance artists and scientists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo and Newton. These and many other gifted Renaissance doers and thinkers had a holistic attitude towards learning that affected the quality of their work. It would be a welcome improvement in public school classrooms if this attitude could be restored, at least in part. It might even help to reduce the low morale that seems to exist among teachers because they are being dragged down by enormous paper work and excessive testing in the name of “education reform” and the “common core.”

· Across the nation, there are many retired individuals in such areas as engineering, science, technology and medical fields who could serve as excellent models for gifted and all students. By recruiting these individuals into inner city and all schools, both students and teachers could learn about real world applications of the sometimes abstruse K-12 curriculum, and be inspired by the accomplishments of these individuals.

 

Submitted by:

Maurice D. Fisher, Ph.D. - Publisher, Gifted Education Press  

Manassas, VA

http://www.giftededpress.com/

Dr. Fisher and his wife have published and edited Gifted Education Press for over 27 years.  It is an invaluable resource for those seeking information on gifted education.

 

 

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