The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Is gifted education properly funded?

How much of a priority is gifted education, in the modern world? Gifted people contribute disproportionally to the development of mankind, so it seems natural that education systems would try to support them to grow to their best – after all, this is for the betterment of all, as they blossom into contributors to science, society and culture.

If a society were seeking to maximize its own cultural, intellectual, scientific and technological growth, it would choose to spend a disproportionate amount of its education budget on the gifted, in reflection of their disproportionate contribution to the future of that society. Now, I would like you to consider this: gifted people comprise approximately 2% of the population of America. So, what percentage of America’s education budget is spent on gifted education? Is it democratically fair, at 2%...or is it more or less? Please have a good think.

Well, Jonathan Wai, a research scientist at Duke University’s Talent Identification Program, has revealed that the United States spends just 0.02 percent of the Federal education budget on the gifted. That means that the gifted in America receive 100 times LESS funding per head, than the ordinary child receives. Isn’t “democracy” wonderful?

There are a number of things one can conclude from this. Firstly, America’s education system is run by dumb people. Secondly, America’s politicians have no foresight and cannot understand the cause and effect relationship between effective creative genius and creative products. Quite simply, they don’t seem to understand who makes culture, science and technology happen. The third conclusion one can draw from this is that America is destined to decline pretty steeply in the coming decades, as its ability to draw foreign talent to its shores dries up – because native talent is likely to be in too short supply, since it will not have been nurtured, in any way at all.

The most forward looking education policies would assign a greater than average allocation per head, to gifted education, than the general population receive. The reason for doing so is quite obvious: should those gifted children develop to their best, the entire society would be raised up by them, culturally, scientifically and technologically, just as mankind has been raised by its geniuses since the first breath of the first human. Spending such a proportion of resources on people of less potential would result in no particular gain for that society.

As a minimum, the gifted should receive an equal portion per head, as other students do – yet, in America, they do not. They receive just 1% of the normal allocation. That can only mean one thing: the American education system either does not believe that the gifted need educating, OR it is trying to “level the playing field” by HAMPERING and HINDERING the development of the gifted, so that the eventual outcome is more equal – that is, the gifted are to be PREVENTED from developing to their best, precisely so that they DON’T OUTSHINE the dumber members of society. That, of course, is a prescription for a mediocre society and a moribund economy – which is precisely where America is headed, if all recent indicators develop as expected.

As I am often reminded, we live in dumb times – but the kind of dumb times America is experiencing have been created by EDUCATIONAL POLICY. America’s leaders WANT America to be DUMB. The whole emphasis of the education system is seeking just that outcome.

It is time to change the name of the USA, to the USI: the United States of Idiots...because that is just what the design of the education system is seeking as an outcome.

I am hopeful, however, that other education systems will learn from the mistakes of America and that their gifted children will be nurtured to be their best. Should any country do this effectively, then that country will become a leader among nations, in culture, science and technology. The prize is there for the taking – a nation need only decide to educate its best to be their best. If America doesn’t want to do this for its people, no matter – let other nations take up the mantle of the future of the human race. Such nations might even be Asian ones. Should these nations become the cultural centres of the second half of the 21st Century, America will only have itself to blame, for not taking care of its own and trying to nurture them to become the best they can be.

Which nations do you think are going to become the new thought leaders, in the second half of this century? Write your views, please, below.

Posted by Valentine Cawley

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