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Ignoring talent at our peril

May 15, 2008

Re "Are gifted students getting left out?" May 12

Sadly, this article is right on the mark. Why the pervasive problem? Without allocation of sufficient resources at the national, state and local levels, the needs of gifted students will continue to go unmet, especially those students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

I hope this article serves as a wake-up call to policymakers at all levels and spurs an investment in gifted education. While No Child Left Behind has focused attention on remedial reading and math, our nation has failed to develop the much-needed talent of our brightest students.

If we continue as is and fail to cultivate the abilities of all students, especially those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, we will leave untapped the very talent our nation desperately needs to remain competitive in an increasingly challenging global economy.

Martha Flournoy

Legislation Committee Chair

California Assn.

for the Gifted

Oxnard

In an otherwise fine article, The Times states as fact many common myths regarding gifted children, such as that many "have sharp mood swings" and "are apt to push the limits at home and at school, challenging parents and teachers and generally opposing structure and authority."

This perpetuates the myth of the gifted yet emotionally unstable child, despite decades of research suggesting that gifted children are on the whole better adjusted and happier than the general population. Although some gifted children have emotional issues and learning disabilities, to suggest a link between intellectual giftedness and other difficulties is simply perpetuating negative and unfounded stereotypes.

Robert A. de Mayo

Associate Dean and

Professor of Psychology

Pepperdine University

Los Angeles

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