Should it be up to parents and students to find ways to take learning to a higher level, or does society have something to gain if more schools make it part of their mission?

Student_DeskIan McKeachie is a freckled 15-year-old who “drifted along” in elementary school. Not because he didn’t love to learn or because it wasn’t a good school, but because he mastered new concepts so quickly that the classroom work presented no challenge.

Ian had hit a sort of “class ceiling” – the limits advanced students often encounter in an education system that groups kids by age and gives teachers little training or time to cater to individual needs.

One of the joists in the “class ceiling” that many observers point to is No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The goals of the federal education law, in effect since 2002, include bringing all students up to math and reading “proficiency” – grade-level skills – and closing achievement gaps correlated with race, income, and other factors.

The teaching in many schools is prescriptive, even scripted. “We have squeezed out of the curriculum the kinds of things that really contribute to the next generation of highly creative, productive, inventive, entrepreneurial people,” says Joseph Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

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Source: Stacy Teicher Khadaroo | The Christian Science Monitor