Is Your Child Really Gifted?

Gifted Not Plan B

True Gifted Soar

I’m hooked on the CBS show Scorpion. It’s about four gifted adults who work with the government. Supposedly it’s based on a true story. As a young girl, I was given the “gifted” label. I had one of the best gifted teachers in Miami Dade County Public Schools. Mrs. D didn’t just have us think outside of the box, we had to forget there was a box and just think!

When I became a teacher, I had the amazing opportunity to teach gifted students at Southwood Middle School in Miami, Florida. My entire day was filled teaching children who loved learning. There was no doubt it. These students were gifted. But that was in the year 2000. My lesson plans had to be educational, motivational and challenging or I would lose their interest. It was fabulous.

But I only taught one year. Later on, I was exposed to other gifted students in other schools. Everything was ok until this one day.

GIFTED IS NOT GIFTED

One of my students who had never shown a gifted sign was being transferred out of my classroom and into the gifted program. I was shocked. Had I missed the signs? Could I be that wrong? Could I no longer spot one of my own?

I’m nosey. I went to the lunch room that day and asked the teachers if “BOBBY” showed signs of being “gifted” in their classroom. They all shook their head and were in disbelief that “BOBBY” was considered gifted. Who the heck had suggested this?

Turns out, I learned something really ugly about the gifted program.

PLAN B IS GIFTED

A child can be labeled gifted but under Plan B if he or she met certain criteria. Now, I don’t care what the criteria was because I was too shocked to know that a Plan B even existed. What in the world was a Plan B? Either you were gifted or you weren’t.

I asked the school psychologist the criteria for a Plan B. The psychologist gave me some mumbo jumbo that it could be any number of situations. The child might be poor or a minority or the child was on reduced lunch. I couldn’t believe it! So gifted wasn’t really gifted?

Of course, I started thinking, was I a Plan B?

I dug into my old report cards. My elementary teachers wrote that I was working far above my grade level. I was in the gifted program throughout my junior high years at Centennial Junior High. Yet, I needed to know if I was a PLAN B. After all, I was a disabled female with Colombian parents. If that’s not screaming minority, I don’t what is.

I went back to ask the school psychologist if I could have been a Plan B. This was a bone I could not let go. Could I have been living a lie my entire life?

He reassured me that I wasn’t part of Plan B because I was not a student when Plan B was first implemented.

All I could say was THANK YOU GOD!

LIVING A GIFTED LIE

I was relieved. But then, I felt bad for all of the gifted kids who weren’t gifted at all. They were purely a PLAN B statistic.

Then I felt bad for the kids who really were gifted but had to be in the room with people who weren’t yet thought they were.

Then I felt bad for the teachers. They had to teach gifted kids who weren’t all really gifted.

So why live a gifted lie?

Who is going to help these kids when they grow up and find out that they really aren’t gifted?

Why lie to the kids? Why lie to the parents?

Why were schools allowing this?

Why was Plan B even formed?

Supposedly, it was to level out the playing field for minorities. Well, I’m a minority and I’m calling out BS! Either you are gifted or you’re not. Deal with it.

Why does our society feel the need to do these things?

I remember several years ago when a school counselor called me into her office. She gave me a list of 8th grade students and asked me to pick out the gifted the ones. I looked at the list and laughed. I really thought she was being sarcastic. She wasn’t. Supposedly a teacher recommended all of these students. The teacher basically put every child on his/her roster to be tested for gifted. Is that insane or what?

So now, teachers don’t know the difference between gifted or non gifted? This is what happens when we live in a lie.

But you want to hear the doozy of all. Once, a girl was taken out of my class and placed into the gifted program. She was barely making it in my advanced class and she was taking intensive reading. Her grades were not that great in the other classes. So I had to find out how she made it. I was told she scored high on….are you ready? You won’t believe it.

She scored high on MATURITY! Yes! Maturity! You can get into the gifted program by scoring high on maturity. I thought I had seen it all!

Parents, are you really that desperate to have your child labeled gifted? Do you have any idea the burden that goes with being gifted?

SCHOOLS PLAY THE GIFTED GAME

Why would schools want this craziness?

I found out. Of course, I should have seen this coming. Having a gifted student in the school brings in money. YES! I couldn’t believe it but it made sense. Let’s make everyone gifted. Those who aren’t really gifted can fall under Plan B and help bring in money. Wow! Children are indeed a hot commodity.

Some schools don’t even care if the students in the program receive a gifted education. As long as they hear CHA CHING!

If I had a kid in the gifted program, I’d want to know the truth. If my child were a Plan B, I’d take my child out of the gifted program.

I’d want my child to be happy and successful with the truth. Not a lie.

If only parents understood that raising a gifted child isn’t that easy. It’s not always a blessing.

We aren’t helping students when we lie to them.

We aren’t helping our society either.

By the way, where does this money go? I have yet to see it for the gifted program.

FUTURE GIFTED PROBLEMS

What will happen when the Plan B child graduates far below his/her classmates who are truly gifted? Does anyone think about that? Don’t you think the child will be depressed? Self esteem down the toilet. All of this because of a lie. Sad.

I think it’s time to change the gifted program. No more PLAN B.

While we are at it, if we are going to have a gifted program in middle schools, critical thinking should be mandatory at every grade level. But that’s for another post.

I ask you, do you want to be labeled gifted and be expected to perform a certain way when it’s not possible? Or would you rather be placed at your true level and grow from there?

I would love to know what you think. Leave your comment below. Thanks!

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  • Steve

    I have some of those “Plan B” students in my honors classes.
    Some must have IQ’s below 100.

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      OMG LOL That’s so wrong.

    • nathashaalvarez

      the things you say! LOL

  • Steve

    One of our “gifted” students bashed teachers at graduation. Because she was class president (popular), she was allowed to speak at graduation. She didn’t give her approved speach. Instead she bashed teachers for not challenging gifted students. But the reality is I had her one year and she skipped class regularly and failed. Pretty sure she skipped other classes as well.
    She got a lot of mileage out of that “gifted” label that she should never have gotten.

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      That’s embarrassing for the entire school. How come no one stopped her?

  • Kate

    s a teacher of the gifted it’s frustrating. I’ve had a few true Plan B kids (disadvantaged, ESOL) who were at the very least high achieving, if not gifted. They did very well in the program. However, I remember being told that a student would have qualified for gifted if his now divorced mom had been in that situation when he was tested. So, this child of an educated mom would suddenly be gifted just because she dropped an income bracket after the divorce? I think not. I do think there are plenty of ESOL kids and other special pop kids that are gifted and fall through the cracks, but the answer isn’t putting through a lower score on the test, it’s finding a more appropriate test for the individual child (too much $$$, won’t happen).
    I have a bigger problem with the kids who aren’t gifted whose parents have the means to shop around for a psychologist who will give them the score they need to get into the program. It’s all about bragging rights (or getting out of their zoned school. Next time check out the school before you buy your house). Parents of truly gifted kids (I happen to be one) know parenting these kids isn’t a picnic, and we’re never the ones you hear bragging about our kids’ intelligence.
    I truly feel bad for the non-gifted students in this setting. They know they’re not gifted. They may not say it, but they know it. At the very least, they know they’re not in the same category as the others. Fortunately for them, they usually have company. Now they just know they’re in the low center group.

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      Kate, when I heard about parents getting their child tested I was shocked. I don’t fully believe that only teachers should decide but to have to shop for someone to tell you that your child is gifted is cheesy and sad for the child. Why place these false labels? So sad.

    • nathashaalvarez

      @disqus_7CesGuZHH6:disqus I totally agree with you. Why not allow the ones who are truly gifted to reach their potential and the others to reach theirs? Why must they be together with a false label? sad.

  • Michele Burka

    Being a mom of a truly gifted 22 year old, I feel bad for those children placed who didn’t really qualify for a gifted placement. If my memory serves me right, the expectations were very high and one of the reasons my daughter did so well was because the children in the class were so like minded. For example, they were insanely intelligent but over all very disorganized. Also, without the challenges that the program offered, I am sure my daughter would have never learned to study. She was so accustomed to simply knowing the material with barely reviewing the information outside of the program. This is a travesty of epic proportions. Using children to gain note funding… Shame on you education system!

    • http://www.audaciouslady.com Nathasha Alvarez

      When we place students who aren’t really gifted into the gifted program, we hinder the learning process for those who are truly gifted. Michele, many gifted children tend to be disorganized. It’s one of our more likable traits.

  • gcberg19

    I am becoming overwhelmed with opinions – I am currently taking a class “Gifted Identification” as I work toward my gifted certification and while the content we are working with in class discusses the benefits and why we have Plan B for identifying gifted, this blog ( not sure if that is the correct term) seems to not be in favor of identifying those Plan B students. Looking for commentary to guide me – I am very torn and could probably argue either side????? Help!!!!!

    • nathashaalvarez

      I can’t argue both sides because I don’t think it’s fair for the child who is truly gifted to have to deal with a class that isn’t going to be really that gifted while there are Plan B kids in there. Who really wants to be in a class in which they don’t belong? That’s like me playing football with able bodied people. I’m in a wheelchair for goodness sakes. I should play with others like me so I don’t get hurt and the others can play without fear of hurting me. Too much equality isn’t always a good thing.