Because we all know exactly what that means:went to a good school and didn’t throw pencils into the ceiling.
Most of the children at this program for “special” children were Asian, Indian or upper-middle class looking whites, which made me wonder if gifted and talented means you can afford a private tutor and science camp.
As a kid who was labeled the other kind of special (remedial) and later found to be dyslexic and bright, I’m very suspicious of categories. If I didn’t have knowledgeable parents, I would have spent twelve years in special education programs. So at one point, as a parent told me the importance of gifted and talented children being around other children who are special, I asked her “What exactly is gifted and talented, anyway? Isn’t it often linked to exposure? And is it possible that bored, inner-city students are too smart for the work they are doing, but never given the test to prove that?” She stared at me blankly.
My school’s G&T program consisted of “you already know how to read, you don’t have to do Phonics worksheets, go read a book in the back of class or something”. One summer – and it was pre-established with my parents that it would be just this one, because the fee was like $3K – I went to a three-week summer camp for “the Gifted”. It was one of the whitest things I’d ever experienced, and I grew up in northern Wisconsin. Though, let’s be honest – when tuition is $3K for three weeks, you know exactly what sort of riff-raff you’re keeping out.
Sure I would have liked to skip a grade or three, but considering I’m just now at 28 figuring out what I want to do with myself, I’m pretty sure my early exit from high school would have seen me in roughly the same condition as this guy:
He was 15 and getting ready to graduate from high school. I asked the boy – a tall, awkward, Indian kid with braces and a buzz cut — what he wanted to do after graduating from high school pre-maturely.
“I want to go to Bollywood and be a choreographer,” he said. He isn’t a dancer: I’m not even sure he was aware that Bollywood isn’t a city.