Ok, I’m outraged. No kids in our elementary school have qualified for GATE (Gifted & Talented), including my own. That’s surprising, since we’ve some extremely smart kids. There are several in each classroom who are selected for special recognition at the end of the year and everything. The evaluation for GATE is the Otis-Lennon test, a reasonably well-regarded assessment of abstract thinking and reasoning ability.
So what do I find out? That we’re not teaching the skills that are evaluated by this test! We’re teaching a bunch of rote things, and not the skills that will be the differentiators in the coming years. Thanks, NCLU (No Child Left Untested).
Now, I realize that schools are hurting for money, and it’s a dire mess, politically and practically. The responsibility goes right on up to the decision makers in DC. So the school district is forced into playing funny games; apparently, the GATE money is going to teacher training, with the belief that this will help them inculcate these skills in the children. However, that’s not working.
I don’t know how close my son came (my daughter was only tested yesterday for the first time), as they oddly don’t let us know the results (except not/qualify). However, teachers are not able to take the time for teaching these skills, and they ought to be. Yes, kids need to learn to read and write and do mathematical reasoning, but they’re only getting science since a group duns money from the parents to add it in, and they’re not getting the early exposure to the reasoning skills in a systematic way.
I’m afraid to think that the school district doesn’t want any kids to pass, because then they’d have to do things for them. Our curriculum’s broken in serious ways, and our politicians aren’t making it better. We need to be teaching reasoning skills and abstract problem-solving (even practice for these tests). Now, I need an action plan.