HARRISON BERGERON, CALL YOUR OFFICE: State schools admit they do not push gifted pupils because they don’t want to promote ‘elitism.’ “Bright youngsters told inspectors they were forced to ask for harder work. Others were resentful at being dragooned into ‘mentoring’ weaker pupils.”
The great majority of local, state and federal education money is spent on pupils who aren't very smart. Much of that is spent in trying to close the "intractable" test score gap between black and white students, and educating "English learners."
Peter Brimelow asked in Forbes in 1994
"Would any management worth a damn put most of its dollars into its weakest divisions and starve the promising ones of capital? Not and live for long. But that's just what the U.S. is doing in education.
The results are easily predictable.
Some 70% of federal spending on elementary and secondary education goes to the disadvantaged and handicapped (see chart right). Adding bilingual and vocational programs takes the share above 80%.
By contrast, the "Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program," the sole federal program focused on brighter children, only began in 1989. Its share of federal elementary and secondary funding: never more than one-tenth of 1%.
Similarly, last year's Department of Education National Excellence report provided an estimate of state and local expenditures aimed at gifted and talented students in 1990: only 2 cents out of every $100. That's not a typo. Two cents out of every $100. And that amount, the report suggested, was probably a high point—subsequent budget crises resulted in spending cuts that fell "unevenly" on gifted and talented programs.
(Note also that when the term "gifted and talented" gets into politicians' paws, it may come out meaning something quite different than when it went in. The Department of Education's official description of the Javits program says "priority is given to identifying students missed by traditional assessment methods [including children who are economically disadvantaged, limited-English proficient, or have disabilities]." Traditional assessment methods almost certainly include IQ tests.) [Disadvantaging The Advantaged, By Peter Brimelow, Forbes, Nov 21, 1994 v154 n12 p52(3)]