By Mark Phillips
Having just seen He Named Me Malala, a film about the life and work of teenage Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, I wonder whether this young woman, gifted in thinking, values, courage, and public speaking, would ever have been selected for a gifted program in a U.S. school. In the film, she notes that her performance in some of her academic subjects is not that good. A few days earlier, Id received the book Failing Our Brightest Kids by Chester Finn, Jr. and Brandon Wright, a critique of how were failing our best students. Carefully skimming the book and the index, I saw only one mention of the arts and some musings about whether considering giftedness and talent adds to or “muddies” the authors topic.
Perhaps more muddying is needed!Discussions of the best and brightest seem to invariably focus on kids who score high in math and language testing, and some who also demonstrate high scientific aptitude. I agree that we need to do a better job of identifying these kids and nourishing the development of their abilities.