Thursday, June 02, 2005
Sarcasm: It's a lost art in letter-writing, mainly because it can be difficult to pull off, but Robert J. Salvi of San Diego did it in this morning's Union-Tribune.
I think it's a grand idea for Lincoln Middle School to rid itself of the Gifted and Talented Education, or GATE, stigma. In fact, I'm hoping other area schools follow suit. How dare public schools create a curriculum to identify the students they hope will be tomorrow's leaders, inventors, journalists, medical professionals, etc. Self-esteem is far more important.
When I look to the future and ponder solutions for health care issues, water treatment/desalination, alternative fuel sources, space exploration, etc., I feel more confident knowing that these issues will be be handled by just anyone, instead of those deemed well qualified while still in grade school. After all, the beauty of stripping any quantitative or qualitative measurement of an individual's achievement is that anyone can be anything they want, without proof of performance. The future's looking brighter.
ROBERT J SALVI
The tip off that this is not serious praise for the Vista Unified School District is the inclusion of "journalists" among the professions that GATE students aspire to.
I was in the GATE program when I was in junior high. At that time GATE was one class a day where we did a little bit of everything -- math, history, English. Effectively getting rid of these classes by opening them up to anyone who wants to take them is bad for everyone involved. The teacher has two choices. He can teach as he has been, and leave the unqualified kids behind; or he can teach to the least-intelligent kid in the class and bore the smart ones.
Despite what too many administrators and "educational professionals" preach, not every kid is college material. The gradual move away from vocational training in high school is cheating a lot of kids out of a good future.
Plenty of people get through life making good money as plumbers, carpenters, mechanics and brick-layers -- heck, they all pay better than journalism. One-size-fits-all education doesn't work, even though it is politically correct to claim it does.