Education of the Intellectually Gifted

By Milton J. Gold | Go to book overview

Chapter 11
Science and Mathematics for the Gifted

We are on the threshold of utter disaster or unprecedentedly glorious achievement. No previous age has been fraught with problems so momentous; and it is to science that we must look for a happy issue.

-- Bertrand Russell

The era of atomic energy, rockets, and space satellites has made the nation acutely aware of science. The ubiquitous competition with Soviet Russia has accentuated pressures on schools to upgrade their programs in science, particularly where students with scientific ability are concerned. As a matter of fact, practically all new proposals in science and mathematics in recent years have centered about curricula suitable mainly for the highly gifted. In one respect these demands have been healthy: they have placed in sharp focus the need for curriculum reorganization in science, a notably weak field prior to 1950 in elementary schools, and in mathematics, a field in which teaching at the secondary level had not changed materially for two centuries. These same demands, however, have not been quite so wholesome when they have tended to impair a balanced educational diet. Nor can these pressures be viewed with equanimity when they impose the same program on all students nor when they "guide" into shortage areas all students of moderate ability whether they have superior interest and competence in other areas or not.*

____________________
*
From the point of view of the gifted, uniform requirements are always invidious because they invite dilution of the required program in order to make it even moderately viable as fare for every student.

-254-

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