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The Problem with Gifted and Talented

Image credit: http://www.dreambox.com
Image credit: http://www.dreambox.com

There has been a lot of talk about “Gifted and Talented” (GT) in my house lately. When my kids have friends over, I find that the conversation often turns to this program at school, and why my kids and many of their friends aren’t in GT.

My kids are smart. And they definitely are talented in their own right. But they’re likely not going to be a part of the GT program. I mean, my son can make some impressive fart sounds in his armpit, and my daughter can do dramatic interpretations of practically anything, but those aren’t the talents that earn you a seat in the program…

I wasn’t in GT when I was in school, either. Back then, it was merely called “Gifted”. I guess now they had to add on another acronym to specify that the children in that program aren’t merely Gifted anymore, but also Talented. More special than “special”.

To tell you the truth, I really don’t like that moniker of “Gifted and Talented”, because it implies that children that aren’t in the program just AREN’T. Aren’t Gifted and Talented.

And I hear that in the conversations in our house.

“Amy is in GT. So is Sally. I took the test for it this week. I wonder if I’ll get in.”

Underlying that statement, I know there is self-doubt as my children wonder why they aren’t in that special group.

I’ve had numerous conversations with them about not being GT because I can relate. I wasn’t in Gifted either growing up, but I was definitely smart. By the time high school rolled around, I found myself in honors classes with those Gifted people who had been segregated in the earlier years, and you know what? I could totally hang with them in the advanced classes.

And at my high school reunions, I honestly could hardly remember more than a handful of people who had been in Gifted. There was one who was leading a highly impressive career as an Aerospace Engineer. She was valedictorian of my high school, and clearly in a league above me academically.

But the rest? No more successful than I am. Time has a way of evening things out, and once you graduate high school and get out on your own, a lot of it comes down to grit and determination.

So I tell my children that they do have gifts, and they do have talents, but those gifts and talents aren’t necessarily ones that will show up on a standardized test. And that the children that are in the GT program just learn differently, just like the kids that receive intervention at school. It’s good that our school system provides individualized paths for learning.

Meanwhile, I will help them hone their unique gifts and talents. Because in the end, isn’t that the goal of motherhood?

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About Lynnette Bellin

Lynnette Bellin
Lynnette Bellin is the owner of the Reno Moms Blog. She is a married mother of a girl in her tweens and an 8-year-old boy. Lynnette moved to Reno in 2001 after choosing to live in a place that she loves for its natural beauty. She has written three books in a children’s book series called the Adeline’s Magical Moments Collection as well as The Kindness Ninja. Lynnette has been blogging since 2002 and admits she's a bit obsessed with reading mommy blogs. She loves to experience the outdoor adventures in our area, including skiing, hiking, camping, and open water swimming. Lynnette’s life is a blur of school activities, kid sports, breaking up fights between her kids, making home cooked meals, and snuggling, mixed with days of working on a computer trying to make this world a better place.

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