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Point/Counterpoint: Challenges to Gifted Programs

gtchat 09042015 Point Counterpoint

This week’s #gtchat used a different format to accommodate our topic of how to answer challenges to gifted programs within a school district. The points to be considered were:

Point #1: Gifted students will do fine on their own; they don’t need any extra help.

Counterpoint: “Students should be given reins of learning but should have a teacher to help facilitate their studies.” ~ Jerry Blumengarten, Cybraryman

Counterpoint: “Not all students learn the same way and that includes GT students. They have their own set of needs that need to be addressed.” ~ Andrea,

Counterpoint: “Gifted learners are still learners. Everyone needs guidance and support.” ~ Brooke Horn, Texas teacher

Counterpoint: “Working at the class level so far beneath their possible level all the time is not ‘doing fine’.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “High achievers may do well on their own, but not all gifted students are high achievers.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Gallagher argued gifted students require competent educational services for their special needs to be met (Gallagher, 2004).” ~ Chelsey Mintz, graduate student through USC at Oxford

Counterpoint: “Many GT Students need additional support and encouragement. ‘One size fits all’ never works!” ~ Andi McNair, Texas GT  educator

Point #2: Gifted students serve as role models and need to stay in the regular classroom.

Counterpoint: “Expecting a child to be a role model for age-peers usually is an invitation for bullying. No child needs that.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “No. That is unfair to gt kids. If they want to help classmates, fine, but *expecting* them to be role models? No.” ~ Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert at

Counterpoint: “Some gifted students fill that role naturally. Others will not. Students should not be expected to be anything other than their best selves.” ~ Andi McNair, Texas GT educator

Counterpoint: “Gifted students can be role models, but they’re in school to get an education like all kids. Teaching is adults’ responsibility.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “All students have strengths and can serve as role models in different capabilities. Gifted don’t need to be singled for this role.” ~ Katie McClarty, Pearson Research and Innovation Network

Point #3: Gifted students need to learn how to socialize with all kinds of people.

Counterpoint: “Good to be able to socialize with all but main need is to be able to socialize and have deeper relationships with true peers.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “‘All kinds of people’ can’t mean a lot of time without like peers. Otherwise, claiming they need socializing is just an excuse.” Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “We should address students social & emotional needs as they present themselves. Address issues today to avoid future challenges.” ~ Katie McClartyPearson Research and Innovation Network

Counterpoint: “I think we are really bad at interpreting what students want or need as social interaction. Some kids actually enjoy their own company.” ~ Justin Vaughan, teacher in Australia

Point #4: There isn’t enough money to go around. Gifted programs are too expensive.

Counterpoint: “Many gifted programs are low cost or no cost at all; consider online options or ability grouping.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Not all programs are expensive. We think any student should have access to an engaging learning environment despite costs.Many programs offer scholarships and financial aid (we do!)” ~ Andrea,

Counterpoint: “Expensive GT programs will never replace a quality GT teacher. I’d go with the awesome Teacher every time.” Aaron Peña,  Texas principal

Point #5: Differentiated instruction is sufficient for gifted students.

Counterpoint: “Teachers today are overwhelmed by expectations that they can adequately meet a myriad of ability levels.” ~ Moderator

Counterpoint: “Teachers that plan for voice and choice, menus, passion projects, etc; don’t need to do the differentiating – It happens naturally.” ~ Brooke Horn, Texas teacher

Counterpoint: “Differentiation only works for gifted if done to the necessary level, breadth, depth and pace. Can be a big ask for teachers.” ~ Jo Freitag, Gifted Resources

Counterpoint: “I do believe differentiation is one of the most important teacher skills. I don’t want to dismiss it. But nothing works alone.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Point #6: Gifted programs are elitist.

Counterpoint: “I don’t think they’re elitist, but think they may be too narrow in scope to catch different kinds of giftedness.” ~ Dr. Toby Brown, technology teacher in OK

Counterpoint: “If all students were given access to learning based on interests, abilities & choices, elitism wouldn’t be an issue.” ~ BrendanCatalyst Learning

Counterpoint: “Elitism implies “better.” Gifted students aren’t. They have different needs. I don’t think they’re more or less important needs.” ~ Jeremy Bond, parent in CT

Counterpoint: “It is seen as elitist mainly because gt services aren’t provided in most schools in poor areas – where they’re needed most.” ~ Carol Bainbridge, Gifted Children Expert at

Counterpoint: “Gifted programs depend on a fair and equitable identification process. It’s a well-known fact that this issue needs to improve. Flawed identification practices and funding formulas which favor wealthier school districts are contributing factors.” ~ Moderator

A full transcript may be found at Storify.

Thank you to our presenting partner @giftedandtalentededu for supporting #gtchat and this week’s Giveaway! Texas teacher, Brooke Horn, was the winner of a 3 month subscription to: K-7 Independent Study Math & Language Arts Combo Course.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented and sponsored by is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 11 AM NZST/9 AM AEST to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the author: Lisa 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:


The Obstacles Deterring Gifted Education

The Unkindest Cut: Seven Stupid Arguments against Programs for the Gifted

Assessing the Arguments against Gifted Education (AUS)

Planning and Implementing Programs for the Gifted (Amazon)

Hey America, Let’s Not Leave Our Gifted Kids Behind

America Hates Its Gifted Kids

Are gifted children getting lost in the shuffle?

Achievement & Success We’ve Got This All Wrong

Casting Stones at Cacti Our Intolerance of Gifted People

The Workplace Mobbing of Highly Gifted Adults: An Unremarked Barbarism (pdf)

Gifted Adults in the Workplace: Nerds or Heroes or Misfits

At Work: Are You Too Smart for the Job?

The Wrong Argument for Gifted Education

Top Ten Myths in Gifted Education (YouTube 8:10)

Cybraryman’s Student Centered Page

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Underachievers

The Culture of Bullying 

Easy Ways to Provide New Learning Opportunities

Sprite’s Site: Columbus Cheetah, Mythbuster – Myth 9


Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

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