Friday, April 3, 2009

I have spent all morning trying, in consultation with my husband, to construct a gifted-and-talented battle plan for one of my sons. Although he has been formally identified as gifted, his school has neither money, nor resources--nor, apparently, the will--to implement an individual plan for his education.

This is, of course, a touchy subject in a poor town. I don't know where we rank on the "number of kids identified with special needs" charts, but I'm sure you won't find many residents who believe that a bright, self-motivated kid ought to require any extra support. The state says he does; but as far as I can tell, the state doesn't enforce its mandate or offer financial assistance. So the problem is, in large part, unsolvable--that is, unless I decide to home-school him myself. But why would I want to take a shy, temperamental, high-strung kid out of a social milieu in which he has developed a strong sense of comfort and competence? Anyone can tell you that smart kids aren't always socially gifted. I don't believe that taking my son away from daily interaction with his peers would be a good move at all.

And then there's the bigger question: what about all those smart kids without advocates? What happens to them in this life?

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