Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gifted programs as a zero-sum game

In response to my post about whether education alleviates overall societal poverty or just enriches some kids at the expense of others, one reader (they do exist!) sent me the link to this post about the competition to get into New York City gifted kindergarten programs. An excerpt:

It’s unfair that entrance into kindergarten level programs is being gamed by people with resources, disadvantaging the most disadvantaged kids from the get go. I think it’s egregious. Many people will agree that this isn’t fair.

But the more insidious value, the one that almost no one would identify as problematic, is the idea that all parents should do everything they can to give their child advantages. . . .

Somehow, in the attachment to the idea that we should all help our kids get every advantage, the fact that advantaging your child disadvantages other people’s children gets lost. If it advantages your child, it must be advantaging him over someone else; otherwise it’s not an advantage, you see?

The author concludes with the provocative question: “Is giving your kid every advantage the moral thing to do?”

The question is related to another question that I’m hoping to post on someday soon: Do parents have a moral obligation to send their kids to public school? In the meantime, the post is worth reading in full.

..How can I comment?