If I could ban one word from early childhood education, it’s “gifted.” A child gains nothing from being labeled gifted. The label exists to please a certain category of parents and create employment for a bunch of education scammers.

“Yes, but my kid is so gifted she gets bored in a classroom with less gifted children.”

First of all, how smart is the kid if she can’t entertain herself? Second, what’s so bad about boredom? Welcome to human existence where you aren’t supposed to be entertained 24/7. Boredom is a road to invention and creativity, as even ancient Greeks knew.

The main task for elementary school kids is to learn to self-regulate, self-manage, and exist alongside others. Nobody can be too advanced to interact with peers.

Also, special-cookiness is cute at 5, annoying at 15, disturbing at 25, and repugnant at 35.

16 thoughts on “Gifted

  1. OTOH, the way I understand it, in all but the best school districts, the “gifted” programs were mostly a way for motivated parents to extract their completely-normal children from the “mainstream” classrooms after it became un-PC to segregate the behaviorally dysfunctional kids out of those same classrooms. Because racism, or something.

    My mom taught those kids. When she started back in the 70s, what she taught was EMH= emotionally and mentally handicapped (kids who were prone to violent outbursts, had basically no self-control at age 11, were often seriously abused, born addicted to cocaine, parents in jail etc.). Over the years, as it became fashionable, more and more of them were reinstated to normal classrooms, where their academic performance sucked and they also kept the other kids from learning much and required more teachers’ aides to be added to the classrooms because the normal teachers aren’t trained to deal with them… basically for security. By the time she retired, EMH had been phased out, those kids had been mainstreamed, and she was stuck teaching the developmentally-delayed and at-risk preschool and kindergarten population (i.e. 4 year olds who weren’t potty-trained). And the regular 4th and 5th grade teachers got to have a supergreat time dealing with the budding criminals she used to teach (not kidding: she loved those students and some of them made good, but where other teachers might look at the newspaper’s graduation list for their ex-students, Mom always checked the police blotter for hers).

    She had one really memorable kid who’d been shot in the temple point-blank with a pellet-gun. The pellet lodged in his amygdala, and he had zero emotional control: to think it was to do it. He’s now locked up in a state institution for the criminally insane, after murdering an old lady with a hammer. One year a (probably ex-student) threw a brick through her classroom window and smashed her fish tank. We had to pay extra to the phone company to make our phone number and address “unlisted” for security reasons, so her students wouldn’t know where we lived. All those kids are now in the regular classrooms. If I were a school parent and I had a chance of getting my kid out of there and into the “gifted” program… heck yeah, I’d do that. Might even hire a tutor to goose their test scores.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. OK, I now feel a lot better about the “gifted” kid I was going to complain about in the next post.

      This was a very lovely kid. Then the parents (who have a very messy relationship) decided to declare her gifted to make a point. As a result, she regressed in weird ways. Strange toilet habits where she “forgets” to remove the pants and the underwear before sitting on the toilet. She no longer knows how to do the basic things like putting away the boots and the coat when entering a house. Social skills are gone.

      I feel terrible because I have excluded her from Klara’s birthday party. The guilt is overwhelming. But I simply can’t deal with that kid and 6 other kids at the same time. She’s now a full-time project.

      I can’t say anything to the mother because she needs a gifted child to convince the kid’s father to finally marry her. But I feel lousy over the whole situation.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Mom always said her students, for the most part, were great. The worst part of the job was dealing with all the “EH parents”. Everything from pimps and drug dealers to God-fearing grandmas trying to raise five grandkids while the parents were in jail, to wealthy professional couples who apparently never spoke to their kids.

            Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes to the “gifted” label. It is made of bogosity (totally a word) and designed ti appease the less dim parents who’ve figured out they’re being taxed for the world’s most expensive daycare n’ reprogramming facilities.


    “The main task for elementary school kids is to learn to self-regulate, self-manage, and exist alongside others like good little factory serfs who will be pleasingly compliant interchangeable widgwts for their masters.”


    Homeschool or die.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those of us who are very lucky will have jobs and put these skills to use. The rest will be on UBI handouts. Currently, we are being trained, like poodles, to curl our lip at “factory” employment and dream of “freedom and creativity” that will supposedly flourish once we are liberated from the burdens of stable employment, work obligations, mortgages, and families.

      World Economic Forum is offering a standing ovation.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “A child gains nothing from being labeled gifted.”

    It’s actually worse than that: the child has to dodge predatory adults who want to groom the child for some kind of activity they’d like to approve, if not also to sponsor.

    That’s because there are always these predators who want to figure out how to weaponise intelligence at an early age.

    When these kids figure out that their own parents might not be entirely in their camp and would also sell them out, some of them figure out how to let out the air in the Dickensian “Great Expectations” balloon.

    It takes a mediocre mind to figure out how to get another ten points on an IQ test.

    It takes an absolutely brilliant mind to figure out when it’s necessary to drop at least fifty points on an IQ test.

    And so the brilliant kids embrace a prison camp mentality in these groups and societies that they would otherwise not need to embrace.

    Yet some of the mediocre kids aspire to be like them still, without once suspecting that through this behaviour, they’d sacrifice nearly every measure of freedom of agency that would ever matter.

    But look on the bright side: these brilliant kids were failed by the institutions that purport to represent them, so they’ve taken matters into their own hands.

    Usually it starts with a library card or someone’s expansive personal library.

    If not, perhaps they may homeschool themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “A child gains nothing from being labeled gifted”

      I tend to have similar ideas about AP classes… what’s the friggin’ hurry? Isn’t that what universities are for?

      The whole AP thing seems like bones thrown to hungry parents…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. A friend keeps telling me it’s great that Klara loves books because this will improve her academic performance in many subjects. And I respond, forget about academic performance. Reading is one of the greatest joys and pleasures of my life. I want my daughter to experience this, too. There should be a place in life for non-utilitarian joy.


    2. On the subject of learning to read in particular, it’s not that hard to teach the mechanics of reading. Anybody can put letters together into words. It’s a lot harder to raise a reader, somebody who derives great pleasure from books, somebody who reads voraciously. Too often it’s all about a parent’s need for achievement and not about cultivating the love of the written word. Cue cards, workbooks – people are turning what’s supposed to be pure love into drudgery.

      When I was a kid, I skipped school a lot to go home and read. My father always said, “I’ll write you a note, I’ll talk to the teacher. Reading is more important than all that school crap.” And look at the result.


      1. There’s a great book called “Better Late than Early” . Its authors maintain that kids will learn to read when they’re ready– and the range of ages at which kids are ready varies hugely. Average for boys is around 7, girls a bit earlier, but the range for outliers runs all the way from two to twelve. Kids who are going to spontaneously figure out reading at three– there’s nothing to teach! Just let them. Kids who aren’t ready until 11: don’t sweat it! There’s no surer way to make a kid hate reading, or develop poor reading skills, than forcing it on them before they’re ready.

        The key to raising kids who like reading, is to read to them.


        1. Funny story: At our house, I read aloud at dinnertime, and my husband reads aloud at bedtime (while I put the toddler to bed– he requires songs, and the story of Goldilocks). Husband came down with laryngitis yesterday, and there could be no bedtime stories. You would have thought someone’s puppy died, it was that tragic. And these are kids who are capable readers, themselves!


  4. // Those of us who are very lucky will have jobs and put these skills to use. The rest will be on UBI handouts.

    Just today read this post (link below):

    (A relevant part translated from Russian)

    The most important thing we need to know about humanism is that it is not an abstract “love of man” … as all sorts of humanitarians like to assert. It is the natural consequence of the rising costs and the increasing importance of the labor force in connection with the complexity of the production system. And therefore, it turns out to be very strongly connected with this very production – a connection an order of magnitude stronger than with the cultural or moral values ​​so loved by all. Well, and accordingly, the dynamics of humanism – that is, its strengthening or decline – is in strict accordance with whether production development is increasing or decreasing.

    That is, the birth of humanism was associated with an understanding of the need for skilled labor, as a result of which people acquired value for each other, becoming an “indispensable complement” in a single production system. And its disappearance, its replacement by the notorious posthumanism, was determined by the reverse process: the disappearance of “large”, complex industries, or, at best, a decrease in their value. As a result, the value of “a person for a person” also falls – in fact, we are talking about a return to the “pre-industrial past”, when people were considered only in two categories: as competitors and “resources”. (Let’s say a peasant was a competitor to a peasant, just like a nobleman to a nobleman. But a peasant was a resource to a nobleman.) Moreover, the latter were considered – as already mentioned – almost inexhaustible.

    Simply put, it turns out that there is no such thing as “posthumanism” – at least in the connotation in which this concept is commonly used. (Conditionally – in transhumanistic.) And there is, in fact, “pre-humanism” – the state in which, in fact, humanity has existed for a very long time.


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