Eroding Excellence in Education

How did we get here? Why the attack on gifted education funding at both the federal and state(s) level simultaneously? The focus on excellence always seems to sharpen when state and federal budget proposals are released, but this year has seemed daunting with cuts proposed at all levels; affecting research and education initiatives. The framing of the discussion to fund gifted education inevitably turns on informing the public about current funding or the lack thereof. Gifted education has strong public support and their voice needs to be heard.

‘Anti-intellectualism’ may play a role in eroding excellence in education. It seems counter-intuitive that anyone would oppose excellence in education; but, here we are. Confusing equality with equity muddies the waters. Eliminating programs to level the playing field doesn’t make sense. Equating intellectualism with elitism is a false equivalence. Providing all children with what they need to succeed should be the goal of education.

Standardized testing brought with it ‘standards’ … and a race to mediocrity. As a majority of resources are focused on ensuring all students reach proficiency; the potential of advanced students remains stagnant or is slipping away. The amount of time devoted to test prep in the school year directly affects instructional time and reduces the quality of education across the board.

How do we extend the search for excellence in minority and low income populations? Identification that is sensitive to cultural and linguistic needs of specific populations and applied school-wide is a first step to providing appropriate educational opportunities for GT students. Cultural sensitivity in the search, availability of programs, professional development to counter bias, and community engagement are all ways to extend equitable solutions in gifted education.

‘Educational excellence’ can have a profound effect on our economy. The advantages of having a well-educated work force go without question. Employers who do not have to provide additional training or even remedial training will have lower costs and be able to devote resources to research and development. Countries who place importance on striving for excellence in the education of their children are our competitors of the future. Well educated citizens spark innovation and technological advances which drive our economy.

Where do we go from here? Is there a path forward for bridging the excellence gap in education? Academic and tech competitions are good at identifying and motivating talented youth. We must find a way to institutionalize the effects of these efforts; to incorporate them in our educational systems. Federal funding of research dedicated to gifted and talented education potentially creates educational environments that nurture creativity, encourage academic excellence, and prepare students to meet the challenges of the future. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.


Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 1PM NZST/11 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

 Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:



What I’m Reading: ‘A Nation at Risk’

Addressing Excellence Gaps in K-12 Education

Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps and America’s Persistent Talent Underclass

Trends in Education Excellence Gaps: A 12-Year International Perspective via the Multilevel Model for Change (Abstract Only)

Dumbing Down America: The War on Our Nation’s Brightest Young Minds (And What We Can Do to Fight Back) (Amazon)

Failing Our Brightest Kids: The Global Challenge of Educating High-Ability Students (Educational Innovations Series) (Amazon)

Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds (Amazon)

Bridging the Excellence Gap

Closing the Excellence Gap

Are high-IQ students more at risk of school failure?

National Security and Educational Excellence (2005)

AU: How education system is failing our smartest children

FR: Are French schools failing their brightest children?

29 Ways American Schools Fail Students

Is Boston Failing Its Brightest Students: The Valedictorians Project

Stop Politicizing Our Schools


Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Posted on April 7, 2019, in Education, gifted and talented, gifted education and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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