No. of Recommendations: 13
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/opinion/gifted-students-de...

Young, Gifted and Neglected

BARACK OBAMA and Mitt Romney both attended elite private high schools. Both are undeniably smart and well educated and owe much of their success to the strong foundation laid by excellent schools.  

Every motivated, high-potential young American deserves a similar opportunity. But the majority of very smart kids lack the wherewithal to enroll in rigorous private schools. They depend on public education to prepare them for life. Yet that system is failing to create enough opportunities for hundreds of thousands of these high-potential girls and boys.

Mostly, the system ignores them, with policies and budget priorities that concentrate on raising the floor under low-achieving students. A good and necessary thing to do, yes, but we’ve failed to raise the ceiling for those already well above the floor.

 Public education’s neglect of high-ability students doesn’t just deny individuals opportunities they deserve. It also imperils the country’s future supply of scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs.  
. . .
Here and there, however, entire public schools focus exclusively on high-ability, highly motivated students. . . When my colleague Jessica A. Hockett and I went searching for schools like these to study, we discovered that no one had ever fully mapped this terrain.

In a country with more than 20,000 public high schools, we found just 165 of these schools, known as exam schools. They educate about 1 percent of students. Nineteen states have none. . . Almost all have far more qualified applicants than they can accommodate. Hence they practice very selective admission, turning away thousands of students who could benefit from what they have to offer. Northern Virginia’s acclaimed Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, for example, gets some 3,300 applicants a year — two-thirds of them academically qualified — for 480 places.
. . .


This is part of the fallout of the way "No child left behind" was implemented. Teabaggers raped our schools of adequate funding, then established a priority for what money was left to raise the floor on the bottom of the class. The unintended consequence was a drastic lowering of the ceiling. As a nation, we will suffer for years from this.
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