The lamp of genius burns quicker than the lamp of life.
No paradox is more striking in the education of the gifted than the inconsistency between research findings on acceleration and the failure of our society to reduce the time spent by superior students in formal education. More evidence will be found favoring acceleration than homogeneous grouping or particular enrichment devices; yet acceleration is the least practiced instrument in educating the gifted. Apparently those values which favor a standard period of dependency and formal education for young people in our culture are stronger than demands for early achievement because of social need. These values seem stronger, too, than the individual's desires for early independence or his drive to create.
The years spent in school, of course, are not determined by school authorities. School boards work within confines established by the economy and by attitudes toward educating the young which reflect the nation's economic needs. In the United States for at least two generations our society has been able to forego the productive efforts of adolescents and of approximately one-fourth of young adults of college age. Our traditions of equal opportunity and of individual betterment through education have influenced public and private decisions to keep young people who can be spared in school. Not only have they been permitted to attend school, school attendance laws have steadily pushed upward the age at which they have been required to go to school. Moreover, public and