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The Forum > Article Comments > Educating Gracia: a lesson for all > Comments

Educating Gracia: a lesson for all : Comments

By Rosie Williams, published 29/10/2008

Gifted children bring many special problems with their giftedness: their learning needs are totally different to non-gifted students.

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Sadly, this is an all too common problem. At the heart of it lies well intentioned but deeply flawed policy and practice. Children like Gracia need schools that respond specifically to their individual needs. The standard comprehensive high or primary school will never be able to provide that response. The same applies to disadvantaged children from dysfunctional families for whom the routines of mainstream schools are almost completely inappropriate.

In some states, accelerated programs for gifted children are provided inside mainstream schools, but they are rarely popular with the teachers in those schools and politicians have deeply ambivalent attitudes towards them. My answer, though not perfect, is to provide small schools dedicated to teaching children who have been properly assessed and recognised as gifted. I'm not necessarily talking about selective entry schools, like those in NSW, but designated schools for the gifted, staffed by teachers who are expert in meeting the learning needs of these children. I think similar schools, small and informal in character, should be available for significantly disadvantaged children as well.
Posted by Senior Victorian, Wednesday, 29 October 2008 1:22:40 PM
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so age,skin colour, sex, or any other attribute you have no control of is discrimination under the law. And the law is for everyone isn't it?
And education deals with teaching and learning primarily surely.
That is where the Government ought to start review our education system if they are seriously interested in educating our children; In building blocks. There is no point in a student going to grade two to learn to read if they don't know the ABC. (This is were constructive peer presure could work) Nothing succeeds like success. And to learn one area then progress to the next is satisfying. For student and teachers alike.(How much easier the teachers jobs would be if they knew all the students in their class knew the ABC so they were read to proceed.) And if they know it before starting school then go on to the next class to learn. Pretty simple solution, and if they haven't learnt by the next year than nothing is to be achieved by going up.
As I understand it to go to high school in Queensland there is no entrance exam, no age requirement, not accademic, social or maturity benchmark, so why discriminate? Especially as the case of Gracia's was that she was accepted by the private school who acted within the law and the evidence was she was flourishing, only to be offered demotion to the primary school by Anna Bligh then minister for Education in September to even Dept of Education still offering primary school when she was in year 9
Posted by home tutor, Thursday, 30 October 2008 4:33:00 AM
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I am so sorry to hear the case was unsuccessful.

My families story puts a whole new meaning on the mistreatment of gifted children.

In 2000 my family complained about the neglect of the education of our two eldest gifted children and from that date forward things starting happening to our children and decisions were made that on the face of it were 'obviously wrong'.

After a number of incidents occurred we requested documents under FOI. These documents showed evidence of bias, manipulation of test scores and school applications and misconduct.

We made a formal complaint, our complaint was sent to those whom we alleged were responsible who just discredited me and the children and closed the complaint internally. But it didn't end there. Things kept happening to our children and even our younger children were impacted. The kids became anxious, depressed and sick nobody cared.

Everytime we requested documents under FOI we encountered evidence of bias, manipulation and misconduct. But the DET would not accept our complaints. Even fresh ones involving different children and siutations were ignored. They had closed our complaint on the word of the person that we alleged was responsible without investigation and have just ALLOWED our children to be discriminated against and neglected year after year.

Eight years later we have spent $30,000 on Solicitors trying to get PROTECTION and justice for our children to no avail. The system is corrupted. WE have 4 matters before the ADT seeking at present to get relevent documents produced and to have documents amended to reflect the truth.

This year we have two kids doing Year 12 and they worry for their marks. We know that the DET have created a story about my family and that is the story that they want the marks to tell so as to support the picture that they want to present.

Unfortunately rather than getting support, more often than not people attack. This ensures that the children remain at risk of harm by the DET.

Education - Keeping them Honest
Our Children Deserve better
Posted by Jolanda, Thursday, 30 October 2008 7:11:25 AM
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Interesting. I can't help but feel that the problem is with the terminology and the democratisation of intelligence.

My brother, now in his fifties, was also, by today's standards, "gifted". He was also accelerated through the school system and started medicine at Queensland University at 16. Back in those days though, it wasn't called "gifted", it was called clever. Perhaps if we forget about "the concept of giftedness" (is the latter actually a word?) and just remembered and accommodated the brainiest kids as we accommodate the dumber ones, we might not get lost in this welter of blame and court cases.

"Equally, I have dealt with some parents in the school setting, who are seriously struggling to maintain rationality and believe that "no" is not an answer they can ever accept."

So have I. They suck.
Posted by Veronika, Thursday, 30 October 2008 9:51:02 AM
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Thankyou all for your interest in the topic.

It is difficult for schools to cater to students whose potential or ability varies widely from the norm without identifying (labelling) them. The research done by people who study and work in this area has led to certain definitions and words being used. Further information on definitions and why they are used can be found at the following links.
This is particularly interesting and gives a comparison between a 'bright' child and a 'gifted' child.
This url gives some historical context:

Personally, I find some of the terms eg 'profoundly gifted' a bit of a mouthful but I do not see the issues as stemming from this labelling per se. Differences do exist and attempting to hide them feels to me more like Orwellian doublespeak than it does useful policy.

Posted by Rosie Williams, Thursday, 30 October 2008 4:53:52 PM
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