An interesting article by TIME about the American education system, and whether they are failing their geniuses. They point out that there’s too much focus on getting everyone to the same minimum level, and not enough emphasis on letting the students excel to their full capabilities.

In Singapore, while grade skipping is not really allowed or encouraged, there is quite an emphasis on gifted programs (financially, at least). And as a former student of the gifted programs (first in the Gifted Education Program, then as an Integrated Program student), I am quite fortunate and grateful for the experience. However, that’s not to say it’s a perfect system.

As the article points out, “Currently, gifted programs too often admit marginal, hardworking kids and then mostly assign field trips and extra essays, not truly accelerated course work pegged to a student’s abilities.” The same is true here. And there are two parts to the problem.

I think firstly, too often the focus (in admission) is related to academic results instead of talent. For a gifted program, that shouldn’t really be the case. Secondly, and more importantly, there’s lack of balance, and a lack of freedom to learn at your own pace, in your own way. The system seems to assume that “gifted students” are all equally gifted and gifted in the same way. More freedom needs to be given to the students to learn in their own way, at their own pace.

In Singapore, where there is a lot of emphasis financially on gifted programs, there tends to be complaints about elitism and neglecting the poorer students. Based on the TIME article, it’s the opposite in America. The question for the administrators is how to find a right balance. I don’t really have the answer to that. But something like Super Cool School seems to be an intriguing idea, that might help.

What do you think? Is your society (wherever you’re from) failing the gifted students? Or conversely, is gifted education being over emphasised? Where and how can we achieve a balance?