Being ‘Poor’ A New Qualification for Denver’s ‘Gifted’ School Programs


By: Warner Todd Huston

The Denver Post gave us a fine example — not that they meant to — of why every year our schools are turning out more semi-literate kids with over inflated egos. To the Post, of course, it’s all good news that being poor in the Denver School Districts now qualifies a kid to be placed in the “gifted students” programs. To the Post this new classification “makes things more equitable” in those gifted programs. Why, it’s giving minorities a “lift,” you see? Of course, there isn’t a word out of anyone in Denver if whether or not any of these kids suddenly classified as “gifted” students actually have any gifts that might prove them worthy of their politically motivated status.

In the typically empty fashion so popular among our ideologically left infested school administrations the country over, it’s merely a matter of quotas and economic stats by which we measure success, not any true educational achievement. If your program for gifted students doesn’t have enough of the right race of children (or the minority du jour) why then it must be obvious that the program is a failure. So, instead of improving the overall education for all students in order to bring minority students up to snuff so as to qualify them for entrance into a gifted program, the Denver Schools are just going to “add points” to the tests for kids merely because they are “poor,” or if “English is their second language.”

Voila, more “gifted” kids abound in Denver.

Unsurprisingly the Post is enraptured by the new ratings that will give a “lift” that will “boost” these kids.

A new DPS system awards some kids an extra boost to make things more equitable… More minority and poor students in Denver are being classified as highly gifted under a new system that gives extra credit to children who are economically disadvantaged or nonnative English speakers.

So, with this revolutionary new way of rating kid’s intelligence, being “poor” somehow automatically makes you “gifted” to these halfwits in the Denver School System. I suppose that one must draw the conclusion that being “rich” automatically makes you unworthy of inclusion in a gifted program, too? After all, for every action there is a reaction. (I learnt that in my gifted classes in school, you know?)

It used to be that those awarded inclusion in the “gifted” programs before this new plan went into action were given “oral tests that measure a student’s reasoning and IQ.” But, naturally, Denver’s vaunted “social scientists” have now determined that tests that measure actual knowledge are bad, racist, biased things.

To make things more equitable, the district now relies on a sum of measures to determine eligibility into the highly gifted program — cognitive tests, annual assessments, reading tests and teacher nominations. Next year, the district will consider artwork and writings.

Also, students get extra points toward entry into the program if English is their second language or if they receive federal meal benefits — a measure of poverty.

So, little Johnny, now you can draw your teacher a nice, colorful stick figure and… whamo… you’re in the gifted class! Way to go little Johnny. You are such a smart little feller! Can’t do that math? Don’t worry, if you are on a Federal food program, we’ll forget all about those nasty old timie standards. U r smart!

Did it not occur to these politically correct fools that the reason kids didn’t qualify for the gifted program before is because they aren’t gifted?

Thomas Jefferson once said that there is a natural aristocracy among men. He meant that some people are just smarter than others. This doesn’t not make the smarter people “better” people or the less smart worthless. It merely makes them different and suited to different things in life.

But, Jefferson wasn’t as smart as the philosopher kings in the Denver School system who are so smart themselves that they can tell how “gifted” a kid is by looking at their parent’s annual income or by reviewing a child’s Federal assistance records.

And our new system in Denver succeeds in making us all warm and fuzzy inside as it informs us that we now have really, really smart kids in them thar gifted classes. Even if we do have to make up test results out of whole cloth to prove it.

As Joshua Wyner, executive vice president of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, told the Post:

“If what we are trying to do is measure not accomplishment but giftedness and talent, then putting your thumb on the scale or adding points for kids from low-income backgrounds re-equalizes things,” he said. “The question is how heavy should that thumb be?”

If “giftedness” anything like “truthiness”? But, I do have an answer to how heavy that thumb should be. How about light as a feather? How about we measure the real “giftedness” by finding out the cognitive skills of a student before we pump his ego up with a “gifted” classification?

I know it’s a radical idea.

Surely, these sudden reclassifications made merely to satisfy the politically correct “feelings” of hand wringing, self-hating administrators will actually hurt kids in the long run. After all, if they are to find themselves in “gifted” classes where they are unable to grasp the curriculum, how will that not serve to bruise their apparently so delicate egos? And, even worse, if the curriculum is dumbed down so that their egos aren’t bruised, how does that serve these kids? If the program is dumbed down for the suddenly gifted, that aren’t so gifted after all, won’t this underserve those who truly are gifted but are now getting a less vigorous regimen?

And if these kids who have now graduated from a dumbed down “gifted” program, thinking they are smarter than the rest, go on to schools where the gifted programs are not dumbed down, won’t they suddenly find they aren’t as prepared to succeed as they were told they were? And won’t that damage their education as well as their ego?

The Post obviously doesn’t consider any of this and neither do those blinded by feelsgoodism in the Denver Public Schools. The last line of the Post piece is a perfect capper to what is wrong with American education… or lack thereof.

Soon, she hopes, kids from all backgrounds will have the same opportunity to be safe and weird in their brilliance.

Sorry, Denver. If those kids really aren’t “brilliant,” merely telling them they are does not make it so. In fact, it’s lying to these poor kids! Ands that can’t help anyone.

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