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Failing Our Brightest Kids: The Global Challenge of Educating High-Ability Students (Educational Innovations Series)

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1612508412
ISBN-10: 1612508413
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The best book on gifted education I have ever encountered."--Jay Mathews, Washington Post


"From the very outset, the authors wade unflinchingly into turbulent waters of identifying gifted students from disadvantaged backgrounds, while holding aloft the flag for our nation’s high flyers. No fife and drums were needed to herald the advance of their ideas; their words march forth on their own."--Kumar Singam, Examiner


"All of us need these talented individuals, and to cultivate them we should examine how other countries do it. The bulk of Failing Our Brightest Kids does precisely that...The profiles are informative, and they offer school officials examples to follow and the rhetoric to justify them."--Mark Bauerlein, Education Next


"What is society's responsibility vis-à-vis children who excel in school? Finn and Wright (both, Thomas B. Fordham Institute) do a brilliant job of tackling this thorny question through the lens of policy. This volume leaves readers—be they scholars, parents, or policy makers—with a deep understanding of what it will take to address the special needs of under-served, high-achieving students in the US and bring their talents to fruition."--R. F. Subotnik, CHOICE Connect

From the Back Cover

Failing Our Brightest Kids argues that the United States, compared to other countries, has done too little to educate students to the highest levels of achievement—particularly students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This candid and provocative book makes a powerful case that our country can and should do more to fully develop the nation’s human capital by providing gifted and talented students the opportunities they deserve.

Failing Our Brightest Kids provides a comprehensive analysis of the failure to educate American students to high levels. Using international comparisons, Finn and Wright provide clear recommendations and opportunities for action that meet both the challenge and charge of America—educational excellence and equity.”
—Hanna Skandera, secretary of education, New Mexico Public Education Department

“Finn and Wright make a strong case that policy makers and education leaders must work to improve the education of academically talented children from all socioeconomic categories so that our nation lives up to its commitment to equity, maintains its competitive edge, and helps these children develop as happy and productive citizens.”
—M. René Islas, executive director, National Association for Gifted Children

“This book provides myriad insights into why the US has a relatively poor record of educating its best students and gives a clear, balanced prescription for what is to be done. The bottom line: we should not settle for getting everyone merely to proficiency; we need actively to cultivate our star students, particularly those from poor families.”
—Harold Levy, executive director, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, and former New York City schools chancellor

“With this vital and controversial book, Checker Finn and Brandon Wright have made a huge contribution to educational thinking on a subject that has been neglected for far too long. Policy makers across America and beyond should pay attention!”
—Sir Michael Barber, chief education advisor, Pearson

Chester E. Finn, Jr., is a distinguished senior fellow and president emeritus at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, and a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Brandon L. Wright is a managing editor and policy associate at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.

Failing Our Brightest Kids is a volume in the Educational Innovations series.
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Product Details

  • Series: Educational Innovations Series
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Education Press (September 15, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612508413
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612508412
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Loyd Eskildson HALL OF FAME on January 25, 2016
Format: Paperback
“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” Isaac Asimov, while a professor of biochemistry at the Boston University School of Medicine.

“If America is to remain internationally competitive with other advanced nations, we need to maximize the potential of our top students.” Chester Finn, co-author of 'Failing Our Brightest Kids"

Authors Chester Finn and Brandon Wright first defend the idea that policymakers should stop ignoring gifted students - it's become PC to instead discuss 'educational equity' and devote more resources to students struggling to read at grade level. (The political lobby for gifted students is practically nonexistent.) Gifted students, however, are the most likely to make major contributions to society - in any area. They are our future leaders, yet are rarely pushed to achieve their full potential. They also reference research showing that bright pupils unchallenged in school do not progress as far on their own as ones challenged in school.

Turns out that foreign applicants to American business schools (especially those applicants from India and China) do much better on the quantitative portion of the GMAT than their American counterparts. Not surprising, however, when one looks at the details of the Program for International student Assessment (PISA) exams in 2012. It's well known that the U.S. ranked poorly (17th in reading, 20th in science and 27th in math), but not nearly so well known how few young Americans reach the top ranks.
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Format: Paperback
This is an intelligent, well written and generally objective and fair book. It does have a bias but not so strong as to prevent the authors from being mostly fair in their analysis. Their conclusions and proposals for reform are not especially strong or convincing in the last two chapters. And their charts are not always pertinent or clear. I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other about gifted education. I know that gifted kids often do not get a good education in the US and therefore are harmed. But I also believe in equal opportunity and I don't think it would be fair to emphasize opportunities for more intelligent students if that came at the expense of other students. I am not qualified to settle this dispute. The book is worth reading. Other good books and information on education can be found here:

mwir-education.blogspot.com/
Midwest Independent Research
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By Jen on September 10, 2015
Format: Paperback
American Education has focused on equity for several decades--on making sure that children who come from disadvantaged backgrounds reach a minimum level of proficiency. And there has been some success in closing that gap.

On the other hand, bright and high ability children are often neglected with the assumption that they will do fine anyway. The authors are concerned with those children for whom the minimum provides no challenge. How have these children been served? And how do our most capable students stand in relation with students from other countries?

While the authors make a strong case for better opportunities for all children with high ability or who are high achievers, they are even more concerned about the neglect of high ability students from disadvantaged homes in which academics are not a priority, students whose parents are unaware of what is offered or don't have the financial means to take advantage, students who live in areas where transportation to a better school is not available or practical, and of students who speak another language at home. Untapped and neglected potential that we cannot afford to waste. Why are other countries doing better at reaching these students than we are?
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Excellent Look at Gifted Education around the world. The researchers were thorough and focused in their research. This provides me with great research for my Program Design and Administration Course in the Capitol Region GATE Consortium GATE Certificate program in Northern California. This book is not for everyone but does explain a lot about American Gifted Education or lack thereof.
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