Perry Glanzer on Secular Angst About Gifted Students
Many public schools have traditionally offered “Gifted and Talented programs” or special classes for “gifted children,” and I sometimes mused to friends that Americans United for Separation of Church and State should have been screaming in protest. Calling kids “gifted” implies that Someone gave them the gift. If you believe “gifted” students are really just the fortunate winners of the gene lottery or the propitiously fated products of competitive evolutionary development, why would you call them gifted? You should call them lucky.
Obviously, “Lucky and Talented” doesn’t have the special ring parents and educators find attractive. And “More Evolutionarily Advanced” seems downright undemocratic, if not social Darwinist. I prophesied to friends that educators uncomfortable with the word “gifted” might change the preferred term to “talented.”
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Perry Glanzer is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Baylor University and the author of The Quest for Russia?s Soul (Baylor University Press). He attends First Baptist Church in Woodway, Texas.
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