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Tuesday, September 13, 2005
  Sense from Sowell
Thomas Sowell: Smart 'problems': "This advice came from my department chairman, who said that if the brighter or more serious students 'get restless' while I was directing my efforts toward the slower students, then I should 'give them some extra work to do to keep them quiet.'

I didn't believe that the real difference between the A students and the C students was in inborn intelligence, but thought it was usually due to differences in attitudes and priorities. In any event, my reply was that what the chairman proposed 'would be treating those who came here for an education as a special problem!'

A few days later, I handed in my resignation. It turned out to be only the first in a series of my resignations from academic institutions over the years.

Unfortunately, the idea of treating the brighter or more serious students as a problem to be dealt with by keeping them busy is not uncommon, and is absolutely pervasive in the public schools. One fashionable solution for such 'problem' students is to assign them to help the less able or less conscientious students who are having trouble keeping up.

In other words, make them unpaid teacher's aides!

High potential will remain only potential unless it is developed. But the very thought that high potential should be developed more fully never seems to occur to many of our educators -- and some are absolutely hostile to the idea."
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