SHOULD WE CHALLENGE OUR BRIGHTEST STUDENTS
I have often wondered why some students get straight A, perfect grades with so little effort, yet they remain in the same class as the struggling student. I would think the aggressive acceleration of students who have an innate ability to excel, would only be good for the student and for civilization and the country all together.
How do we get geniuses unless somebody recognizes them? If we wait until their adult years to recognize them, how much time have we lost and how much opportunity to expand their abilities has passed them and us by? We spend enough time and money on education as a whole, yet it is time and effort not necessarily targeted.
Seldom will anyone argue the effort society puts forth when it comes to children who are dramatically unable to perceive and comprehend vast ideas. In almost every school there is bound to be a “special education” program; a program designed to help the children experiencing learning difficulties, to at least perform at a near peer level.
Millions of dollars are spent every year on what may at times appear to be fruitless efforts. I am not professing a cold, heartless attitude toward those who may be mentally less fortunate than others. I am simply saying if we can spend so much time, effort and dollars on trying to bring someone with difficulties up to a level par with their fellow students, shouldn’t we be all the more aggressive at accelerating the learning ability of our “over-achievers?”
It isn’t a question of personal attitude or individual willingness; it really does concern an individual’s ability. Those who are gifted with the mental ability to learn and search and discover should be no different than those who are unable to instinctively excel. That is, if we, as a society, are willing to recognize the citizens who cannot perform without assistance, then we should certainly be on the search for those who may one day be able to help us service those individuals.
Our gifted young people cannot do it on their own. It was once said, “…the only thing I know for certain, is that I do not know…” In other words, none of us know what we don’t know. We don’t even know to ask the question because we don’t know the topic exists. Until someone who has been there can expose the unknown to the members of our society who can actually do something with it, our growth will languish.
We need to continue to exert every effort we can to assist those with learning difficulties in their pursuit of equality. However, if during the journey, we discover someone who is well beyond their expected level already, without so much as a helping hand, then we need to be ready to promote that growth and to tap that knowledge.
The achievers of today will turn out to be the teachers and trainers of tomorrow. The more we help our mentally exceptional members to expand their knowledge and abilities, the more we do for our own future and for the future for those who continue to have difficulty. This is our opportunity to groom the best, or the most capable, of our society for the dramatic roles they will need to play in the future. To ignore their innate ability is to turn our back to the future.
We must do everything we possibly can to accelerate America’s brightest students, even beyond their own expectations. We need to take our brightest teachers, scientists, educators and professionals from all walks of life and have them pose the challenges of tomorrow to our brightest. Without the challenge, a valuable asset could go unnoticed and unused.