Message from the Director: Whose Fault Is It?

 

It’s not one person’s fault, but it is everyone’s responsibility.

This was my response to EduTalk radio host Larry Jacobs’s question during a December 2014 interview about A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students. We (Vol. 2 chapter author Dr. Katie McClarty, Mr. Larry Jacobs, and I) were discussing the abundance of evidence supporting the high rate of effectiveness – both short-term and long-term – for the forms of academic intervention broadly known as acceleration and the low rate of implementation when he spontaneously asked: whose fault is it?

My response: it’s no one person’s fault that our brightest students are under-served, which makes it everybody’s responsibility to implement interventions based on evidence.

My response was intended to capture the dedication and commitment of a wonderful team of authors, editors, and contributors who have been working for more than a year on A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students. The wait is almost over! In mid-April, the publication will be out.

Here’s A Nation Empowered by the numbers:

  • 1 original publication: A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students (Colangelo, Assouline, & Gross)
  • 1 team of Belin-Blank Center Staff including administrators, graduate students, and secretaries who pulled together to make this project a reality
  • 1 website: The Acceleration Institute
  • 2 volumes: Volume 1 synthesizes the evidence provided in Volume 2
  • 2 editorial assistants: doctoral students and Belin-Blank Center graduate assistants, Staci Fosenburg and Katherine Schabilion
  • 2 design teams: Benson & Hepker Design and FusionFarm
  • 3 generous gifts that made the publication possible, from Belin-Blank Center Advisory Board members: The Perry Family; The Belin Family; Chuck Peters, CEO of The Gazette Company
  • 4 authors (Nation Empowered, Vol. 1): Susan Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo, Joyce VanTassel-Baska, and Mary Sharp
  • 4 editors (Nation Empowered, Vol. 2): Susan Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo, Joyce VanTassel-Baska, and Ann Lupkowski-Shoplik
  • 8 new topics in Nation Empowered, Vol. 2
  • 10 chapters in Nation Empowered, Vol. 1
  • 12 vignettes in Nation Empowered Vol. 1
  • 18 chapters in Nation Empowered Vol. 2
  • 20 forms of acceleration defined Nation Empowered, Vol. 2
  • 30 contributors to Volume 2
  • endless: hours writing, formatting, proofing
  • countless: the number of lives affected by meeting the needs of highly able students

Then – and now – we felt a sense of urgency regarding the value of this intervention and the many excuses for not implementing it. This exact situation is captured beautifully by a comment from the parent of a student in a Vol. 1 vignette:

As intimidating and time-consuming as [advocacy on behalf of our son] was, we were more scared to do nothing.

We agree and that’s why we’ve worked so hard to update the conversation that started in September 2004 with A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students by providing new evidence to trump old excuses. Continue to view the progress of the forthcoming publication, scheduled for mid-April 2015, and tune in to EduTalk in late April for another stimulating discussion.

Meanwhile, check out all of the Belin-Blank Center activities for spring and summer. There can be no doubt that gifted students and their teachers have extensive options through the Belin-Blank Center.

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