Sunday, August 8, 2010

Other parents and brainy kids

I learned last night of another sort of bias against left-brain children--children who, for all their weaknesses, tend to do well in academic subjects.  At a social event populated largely by parents of such children, one parent told me about how they'd ended up pulling their son out of their friendly local Quaker school. One big reason: the other parents, who were badmouthing them around the school, blaming them for their 8-year-old's advanced academic skills.  Surely the only reason this boy knew so much more math than his peers did was because his parents, blatantly defying the school's egalitarianism and studied avoidance of competition, were ruthlessly pushing him ahead.

In some sense the parents were responsible. By purchasing Singapore Math books and encouraging their son to work through them, they were enabling him to get ahead of the school's Everyday Math curriculum. But the reason they did this was that their son seemed bored by school math, yet interested in math.

Another set of parents at this social event, a Turkish couple appalled at how laughably low-level 2nd grade Everyday Math is compared with 2nd grade math in Turkey, has followed suit. They're concerned that they, too, will end up feeling unwelcome at the school because of the animosity from other parents that will likely ensue.

Openness and tolerance mean different things to different people.

1 comment:

Peach Pod said...

I've had something similar to this with my own child. When he was in 2nd grade he took the ITBS and blew the top out of all the categories but one, the vocabulary section. This did not make any sense to me or to his gifted education teacher. My son was reading at a 7th grade level at the time. After much pondering, the gifted ed teacher said, "I know what happened! Hunter has never had a second grade vocabulary. He shot right over it!" I actually had to go back and teach my child some lower level vocabulary for standardized testing purposes!