So I've been reading this book on education, written by a staunch conservative. There's really no getting around the fact that the left has dome some severe damage to our (US) public education system over the last ~45 years. (Mind you, the right hasn't done much either outside of vouchers, which bring along their own set of problems--particularly failed or poor private/charter schools.) The author also mentions that the current federal budget of education funds attributes only 1% (rounding up) to "gifted programs", and that number seems believeable if you look at the stats. As best I can tell, only ~$11 million was spent on gifted programs out of a total of $71 billion (with a b) spent by the federal government.
What set this off was a rant by one of my most gifted students, who felt they were not being challenged (except in my class of course... ). I went and looked up the breakdown of the high school I teach at. The results are rather disturbing. The only departments that have more teachers than ESE (Exceptional Student Education, 16) are Math (18) and English (23). That excludes the 11 ESE Paraprofessionals on the payroll. The department I teach in, science, has only 13 teachers. I wish I had some numbers on the number of students in each department. But I think there's a mandatory English class for every grade, so that'd be the whole student body (~2000 students). Ditto for math, except I think it's only 3 years mandatory, 4th is optional, let's call it a conservative 80% of the student body (1600 students). That gives student-teacher ratios of 87:1 and 89:1 for English and math, respectively. I recall hearing there are about 600 ESE students, but that includes everything from severally disabled to minor things that require additional help (e.g., diabetes). Even if all 600 were to use the ESE teachers, that's still a student-teacher ratio of 38:1. In actuality, it's going to be (probably significantly) lower.
Or, you could sum it up this way:
Employees for ESE students: 27.
Employees (solely) for gifted students: 0.
Fourteen percent of our teachers to teach probably less than ten percent of the students, without a single teacher devoted to the top ten percent. What's wrong with this picture?
Our best and brightest are the future leaders of this country--why are we doing so little for them? In the name of egalitarianism we're hindering those who are our future. The left needs to distinguish between equal opportunity (which I believe everyone acknowledges) and equal results.
PS Yeah, this probably belongs in "Education", but that category is full of spam. My apologies.
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