I see there’s a lot of discourse from some post saying gifted kids are emotionally damaged, and let me just say that I’m skeptical there are many people on here who have suffered from being too smart and successful.
I think the bigger issue is that a lot of “gifted kids” were pushed into overworking themselves into anxiety disorders without a single teacher taking the time to teach them how to learn, instead merely rewarding students for already knowing something. So when those “gifted kids” get to college they’ve never been taught the fundamental skills necessary to teach themselves: such as homework and note structure, time management, or the self-discipline necessary to sit and write rote math problems until they understand it.
Much of the discourse is rather about how “gifted kids” were pushed by their parents, teachers, and sometimes peers into stressing themselves sick over schoolwork only to now not achieve the success we were assured was ours if we worked hard enough.
Sure every class you’ve taken since tenth grade was AP but now you can’t handle having a presentation due and an essay and a midterm all in the same week without throwing up from stress. You’re failing math because every time you asked your “gifted” teacher to help you with something they’d make sure to condescend to you loud enough for the whole class to hear so now you’re terrified of not knowing something because you don’t want to face the humiliation that accompanies it in your memories.
Your notes are immaculate but no one ever taught you how to parse and prioritize information so you start falling behind bc your notes are essentially the textbook copied verbatim. You know there are resources available to you but you’re afraid to use them because you’re frightened of being found out–of others discovering that you’re a fraud and you were never as smart as the other kids but at least back then you could fake it but now if you reach out you’re betraying yourself as an impostor who filled a seat an actual “gifted kid” could have had.
It sucks because now you’ve got all these gifted kids who are now just smart adults with terrible anxiety and no job prospects.
What a stunning lack of empathy from OP
I agree with everything irate-badfem-harpy mentioned, and would also add that there’s perfectionism and procrastination issues for many gifted students, many gifted students I know also have also had other disorders besides anxiety from dyslexia to autism to handle as well, many gifted students are also overworked in high school from large amounts of busy work to do at home and other expected extra curriculars like sports and must excel there as well, and I know plenty of kids where their grades or gifted status is an aspect of parental abuse, being a gifted kid can also be isolating if you get cordoned off into separate classes with the same few people or end up skipping grades or bussed to a high school or university/college and then you’re the weirdo with a bunch of older students who don’t like you
School basically sucks for everyone and it’s not anyone’s place to say you can’t complain or ‘discourse’ about something, just because being gifted superficially looks great doesn’t mean that’s the reality and nearly every person I’ve seen who complains about the gifted track or system doesn’t do it in a manner that belittles or undermines the experiences of someone who wasn’t in the gifted track so there’s really no need for op’s dismissive attitude about it
Again, these conversations are so frustrating and I know that topics/posts get bounced around, but again, this ~discourse~ started because one of the largest school districts in the United States created a panel to recommend strategies to desegregate and what they recommended was the complete elimination of the Gifted and Talented Program.
RIGHT NOW as I type this, there is a protest/press conference by angry parents who insist that this is ruining the NYC public schools! This is a real actual challenge in education equality! And the literal second I posted about this story, as an education advocate and someone who is interested in the creation of inclusive schools, I received literally over a dozen anons that ranged from “but what should we do with kids who are just more advanced?” or “I was so bored because i wasn’t challenged” or “but aren’t some kids just smarter than others?” and then an equal flurry of angry responses about how it was actually very harmful to be objectively smarter and therefore expected to know things, etc etc. And also a handful of notes or messages that accuses me of being a non-gifted child who is bitter about high school.
And people keep insisting in these arguments that gifted kids are more likely to have learning disabilities or be on the autism spectrum, but nobody has provided me with any evidence that this is true and it certainly would be a startling contrast to the Civil Rights division of the Dept of Education, which reported under George W Bush that schools were violating the law by denying students with disabilities access to AP courses. The Obama-era Civil Rights Division at Dept of Ed (this whole division has been shut down by Betsy DeVos) , in their snapshot of equity issues also noted serious disparities in access to advance coursework for students with disabilities.
That brief also shows massive disparities by race in that black, latinx and Native American students are: less likely to go to schools with GT programs AND less likely to be in those programs if they exist. They are less likely to be in AP programs, less likely to have access to advanced math or science courses AND even less likely to have access to the pre-reqs for advanced math courses, such that the racially biased tracking in SEVENTH grade is cutting off many children’s access to STEM careers.
Earlier this summer ProPublica published an article about the Charlottesville Public School’s Gifted and Talented program that titled it “The Other Jim Crow Legacy: Seperate and Unequal Education”. As a result of that, Charlottesville is starting a de-tracking program this fall, encouraged by a Phd candidate at UVA who reported to the board of education that that the program was likely explicitly designed to exclude black children. She showed a letter from a local parent in the early 1960s that described as pull-out gifted programs as something that, “
may placate the fears of those who object to any opportunity of social intermingling of the races,
Meanwhile, Connecticut is struggling with the issue of class in AP access: Despite the state’s push to enroll more students from low income families, it’s still true that AP classes in CT have 17% low income students when CT public schools in general are 36% low income.
And everyone keeps chiming into tell me that school sucks for EVERYONE and that education is traumatizing for EVERYONE and sure that’s true, but it’s annoying as shit to have to keep coming back to this topic because talking about inclusion in education policy makes a bunch of people who have never grown beyond their false belief that they are superior to other cannot stop demanding empathy for them while saying profoundly unempathic things about kids they think of as something other than “my intellectual peers” (to quote actual language I’ve seen)
I just keep thinking of a school administrator in the late 70s telling racist white parents “I know you’re afraid of busing, but you’re in luck, because we discovered your child has a kind of reverse learning disability that makes them too smart for regular education, and they have to be taken out of their classes lest they go crazy from handling the math curriculum too easily.” And now people just accept this naked bullshit.