I’ve tried for many years not to be “that mom”.  Needless to say, not only am I that mom, but I’m also a couple of other moms teachers don’t like as well.

One area where school and I haven’t really meshed is the whole GATE thing.  Now I know more than anyone that California hates a GATE student and is so egalitarian that we can’t even acknowledge that some kids are way more intelligent than others.  Instead we stick to lame platitudes like, “Every child is gifted, some just open their presents earlier.”  Yeah, tell that to the moronic schlub trying to make change, and failing at it,  at Walmart.

When I asked about it at Keb’s school, I was informed that Sunnyvale doesn’t GATE test.  This is because all Sunnyvale students are gifted.  Bullshit is the honest answer to that one.  Hell, if it weren’t for the fact that we’re so vigilant as parents in this community, I’d swear some kids had made a habit of eating lead-based paint chips for snacks for years. There are some peculiar bunnies running around is all I’m saying.

I had made it fairly well-known on the few occasions I’d been at school that I thought Keb was gifted. I wasn’t met with much enthusiasm in that department or even agreement.  I figured his teachers just didn’t get it.  Either that or they had heard it from so many other parents that they had become immune to the idea.

Here’s how I know my son is gifted.  Last year he calculated the 12 days of Christmas gifts in his head in five minutes.  He told me he did it by grouping (“Did you know there’s a pattern?”), finding the pattern, and adding.  IN.HIS.HEAD.  I had 4th, 5th, and 6th graders who struggled with direct teaching who hadn’t managed that, let alone that quickly.  He had wanted his teacher to do it in class.  She declined.   His math CST last year was perfect.  Not that that’s a GATE thing (well, high performing is GATE too), but it shows his ability to apply what he’s learned.  Before that, he easily grasped new concepts and could hold formulas in his head once he’d learned them.

This year he’s in Math Olympiads.  His math challenges me (in part because I haven’t done anything complex in a while).  Again, a lot of mental math, but he sees patterns where I don’t.  I shouldn’t be surprised though.  His dad is gifted too.  Keb manages to work quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

We finally did get an IQ test on him.  According to my friend who GATE tested for our school district, the state of California school system would classify him as a genius based on the number we were given.  Apparently he’s a bit more than gifted.  He’s now considered “twice” exceptional.

Which is all well and good, but now we have to see what he does with it.


5 thoughts on “Gifted

  1. Jolene says:

    I truly believe you were a GATE child. Do you have any memories from school where you could assist Keb?

    I struggled with Matthew and Joshua too in the Des Moines schools at first. I stood my ground and became “that kind of Mom” . I kept repeating to them, my child deserves an equal opportunity of education. You have programs to assist those who need resources where are your enrichment programs? At the secondary level I did not accept the answers they would provide me so I went to the person in charge of secondary education. Des Moines has funds that many parents do not know about for GATE children, like funds that provides tutors to come to the school to teach the child if they do not have anything available at that school for them. Check to see if your school district has anything like that.

  2. robinbjames says:

    Your post leads me to the question, What is the school going to do for him? More work is not an answer (although it is usually the route taken by schools and teachers who don’t understand Gifted Kids). In Colorado, he would have an ALP (Advanced Learning Plan) that would (hopefully) result in him getting different work that would challenge him. What most people don’t understand is that kids who are gifted aren’t just smart, they think differently. And that needs to be encouraged.

    Also, kids who are twice exceptional deserve services to meet their needs. It is possible to have a learning disability AND be gifted. What I would do if I were in your shoes would be to look for the teachers who are the most skilled at differentiating the curriculum. Track down those who have taken coursework in Gifted and Talented Education or have endorsements in that area. See about having your son go to a higher grade level for math. And hang in there. Middle school tends to offer more opportunities for kids to meet others who think like they do.

  3. Suzanne says:

    Yes, Jolene, I was a GATE (only then it was TAG) child. Mostly language and situations. I have no tolerance for math or strategy; although, I’ve grown to love them as an adult. The school district itself doesn’t test for GATE or take funds so they don’t have to provide programs. Actually that’s where Taed comes in. Honestly, I think he could open a program/school for GIFTED and do better than most.

    As for twice exceptional, in Keb’s case it’s Gifted, high IQ, and ADD. There’s no learning disability, but the previous three make it hard for him to be tolerant of others. This reads to people as Aspberger’s rather than he needs help navigating a world that doesn’t get him.

    Keb is currently signed up for an after school Math Olympiad program as well as learning basic programming. The parents at the school do an amazing job of trying to push their children. He has done Lego Robotics and we sign him up for art classes each summer.

    He does pretty well. It was just nice to get the affirmation so that, should he ever attend an institution where GATE is offered, we’d have the information for it.

  4. Kathryn Johansen says:

    In American education system, there seems to be a theme of taking the phase “All men are created equal.” to its literal extent. Evolution, the other thing Americans don’t like, states that there different types of people. Why can’t we accept this and not work as a society to become a Handicapper General to our gifted youth.

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