Help some gifted, but poor, children to learn biology.

October 20, 2011

Thanks to all my Readers who have already contributed to Donors Choose this year under my challenge, those of other Scientopians or those of blogs affiliated elsewhere. At present, $24,796 has been contributed by 364 readers of science-related and freethinking blogs. This is fantastic.

We can, however, do more. My blog has only a medium sized audience and I know there are thousands of readers over the course of a couple of weeks.

If you have not contributed yet because you were waiting for a paycheck or have been working on a grant or manuscript, I have another one that caught my eye for your consideration.

A teacher in a high poverty school in San Diego CA explains:

We have two classes of third graders and 1 class each of fourth and fifth graders that include GATE, Special Education and regular ed students. I will be sharing many of these materials with all of our third, fourth and fifth graders. Our school has a 76% free and reduced student population. Many of our students spend 8-10 hours at school each day due to childcare issues.

We are a small public school in a large urban school district in California. With all of the cutbacks in our state, all of our budgets for extension activities have been cut to almost nothing. Without assistance from grants, etc. our students will not be able to experience educational and fun activities like these.

She had me at “GATE”, which stands for “Gifted and Talented Education“. It may be elitist of me, but so be it. The available demographic IQ stats that are available suggest that post-graduate students are on average at least a standard deviation above the mean. We all know that “smarts” are highly valued in our business. We have the sneaking suspicion that very smart people are disproportionally drawn to science careers.

My researches (ok, a few minutes with Google, sue me) suggests that while Gifted students are identified in public education around the US, they are not always well served. Why should they be? They can meet the minimum standards and public education is not so much interested in making sure everyone reaches their potential, just that they meet minimum competency. Middle and upper middle class parents with a smart kid have some options, typically. I may have mentioned that my own children are given numerous extra-curricular educational opportunities because my spouse and I can afford it. Many of your children have, do or will enjoy a similar benefit. Can we not spare $10 or $25 to help some kids who do not have parents who can afford science camps?

My Project: Our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders need live animals to observe (i.e., ladybugs and praying mantis), as well as preserved specimens to dissect (i.e., crayfish, earthworms, starfish.) With this project, we will be able to ensure that our students are able to take part in activities that are meaningful, as well as educational and FUN! This will help me to expose our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders to experiences that they will not be exposed to outside of our classrooms.

It is ever so slightly unusual that this project will impact three grade levels instead of a single classroom. That’s kind of neat. As the teacher states, this is not solely for GATE kids but rather for the general classrooms that happen to include the Gifted children along with the general population and even some Special Ed kids. A nice broad impact for the low, low price of $492 to complete the project.

Won’t you take a moment to donate?

No Responses Yet to “Help some gifted, but poor, children to learn biology.”

  1. drugmonkey Says:

    Thanks to JT for the donation to this project!


  2. drugmonkey Says:

    Thank you T!


  3. Ed Says:

    Being gifted is itself a form of totally unearned and undeserved wealth. Why exactly does already being fortunate mean you deserve even more wealth?

    Oh, right, right, right capital gains, gotcha.


  4. drugmonkey Says:

    The notion that every child deserves to reach her educational potential is hardly comparable to cutting capital gains taxes. But in any case, this project is not merely for GATE children, that is merely an attention-getter for me. As was the fact that this is a high-poverty school.


  5. Ed Says:

    “educational potential” is also mainly a function of unearned wealth, good genes, wealthy educated parent, good living environment, etc.

    Giving already fortunate people like gates sprogs unjust privileges due to their existing privilege necessarily, causes other kids be unjustly underprivileged when they do not receive the same favors, which is especially unfair given the competition that is imposed later for university entry, jobs etc, when prior privilege which has lead to “merit” is again rewarded.

    It takes light to create a shadow. Doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be light, but it is unjust to increase the contrast just because it is already there and I certainly won’t support that.

    You admit yourself that you are unjustly privileging this project by publicizing it. You should be ashamed of yourself, you are actively causing underprivileged kids to get it in the pants even more.


  6. drugmonkey Says:

    Are you even trying to understand the project, the school an which children will benefit? Or are you so incensed by my description of what gets *my* attention that you can’t think straight?

    Kids who test as gifted can come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, my friends. I’ve certainly seen examples of these in the schools my children attend.


  7. Katharine Says:

    It seems that Ed does not comprehend the concept of people deserving work commensurate with their ability. I believe the term is ‘meritocracy’; in this case, people with talent are being given the opportunity to get ahead.

    Enforced equality is stupid. Equity is great.


  8. Katharine Says:

    This is why I have a massive utter hatred of certain segments of the left: because they do not realize that some people are in fact smarter than others.

    If you stuck a couple of averagely-brained kids in a gifted classroom they wouldn’t be able to hack it.

    If you stuck sufficiently gifted kids in a regular classroom they’d go berserk from the slowness of the material and from the stupidity of the other kids.

    I know this because I was tested as profoundly gifted myself. Hell, even in an actual gifted classroom, with the combination of a gradeskip, I sat there bored half the time. Managed to do well as a kid and do well now as an undergraduate in biology myself; still, you have no idea what it’s like.

    You sound like the Communists; you want everybody to be mediocre instead of letting those who have the ability develop to their full potential. It’s an anti-intellectual way to go about things, and that is why I have a deep and abiding personal hatred for filth such as you.


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