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Myths That Persist - A Five Part Series- Part Five

Myths That Persist- A Five Part Series

Part Five

By Teagan Taylor


“Lately, I have had teachers ask me if AIG kids still come to class if they are not making good grades. As if coming to AIG is a reward for getting good grades or having good behavior… I always explain it by explaining AIG is a service just like speech, ESL, and EC. Would we discontinue EC services just because a kid gets good grades?”

- Anonymous survey participant


Stakeholders took a survey on 5 common misconceptions/myths about giftedness and their opinions on what work there is left to do. Since we got so many thought provoking responses, we are doing a Five Part Series, a blog post for each of the 5 myths. Below is Myth #5!


Myth #5) Gifted programs are elitist

myth5

The Numbers

graph of survey response

The Problem

  • “They are elitist. If the definition of elite is "a select group that is superior in terms of ability or qualities to the rest of a group or society" that is what a gifted program is. Not sure how you can get around that idea.”

  • “Students who don't see the gifted teacher, they think they are dumb.”

  • “Soccer moms will measure their own success with those of their children's giftedness. Is your child taking Math 1 next year as a 6th grader? The social discrepancy between low SES areas and High SES areas shows that.”

  • “Parents believe it's a "special club" that they want their children to be a part of.”

  • “This makes some kids NOT want to engage with their giftedness because it is seen as a negative.”

The Solution

  • “I think this depends on the gifted specialist. One way the gifted program may be viewed as elitist is if the classroom teacher announces to the students, "AIG (or gifted) students, it is time to go." Classroom teachers don't stop and think, "I would never say, 'EC students, it is time to go,' so why do they do that with gifted students? Talking to classroom teachers about avoiding that usually stops that issue.”

  • “At my school (a high population school) it is still a status symbol-we are working to gray the lines by pretesting, implementing flexible groups, and being more inclusive.”

  • “I understand that the idea of saying elitist is meaning that it is a group that believes themselves to be better than others which may cause them to be condescending to others. I have had gifted students who share that their classmates have been rude to them because they comment, "you think you're better than us." But that is not the case. We work hard to understand that being identified gifted just shows that there are some areas in which enrichment will help you to continue to grow. Some parents seem to feel that they are a failure if their children are not identified as gifted. Their child IS a gift, identified or not. Matt Zakreski had a line in his speech, "Parents need to parent the child they have, not the one that they wish they had."

  • “Parents need to relax and let kids be kids and not discuss their academic abilities.”

  • “Just because you are gifted doesn't mean that you are smarter than anyone else you just have different gifts. Having these programs around for all students, not just the students in high SES areas.”

  • “Breaking down the image that it's this special club and working with teachers and parents to meet the student where they are and move them along the continuum of learning.”

  • “1.) We could stop calling gifted service enrichment. It's not always straight up enrichment. And, this implies kids who aren't in the group aren't getting enrichment. And 2.) More training for gen ed teachers. But from gifted experts from outside the school. Gifted teachers cannot be the only ones advocating.


Final Musings for the Future

  • “I think giftedness means a lot of things. It does not mean that the child has the skills to maneuver around in society. Oftentimes gifted children will be perfectionists which is not a real world skill. Grit is needed and I think a lot of parents are setting the bar so high that it is unachievable. Students need to learn how to fail and pick themselves up.”

  • “I think a lot of public service awareness will go a long way. Some of it is simply because people aren't exposed to these ideas. Leveraging platforms like TikTok and Instagram to put out Reels about gifted information would really help since so many people get information (sadly) through these platforms.”

  • “I wish schools felt gifted students deserve just as much attention as those on grade level, slightly below and those on tier plans. High performing students often get put on a back burner.”

  • “Demanding our seat at the professional development table when planning for PD at our schools is important…”

  • “An increase in state funding for AIG is needed, as well as a local district mandate for funding gifted education. Increased compliance would help other view gifted education as necessary and required and important, as well.”

  • “There is still A LOT of work to be done to dispel these myths :/”


We would love to continue this discussion in the comments here or on our social media platforms. What are your thoughts about this myth?

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