35 Comments
May 6, 2023Liked by Aporia

My IQ was nowhere near as high as Georgios, but even at only two standard deviations above average I experienced all of this. My school district did offer a talented-and-gifted program which allowed us to pursue our special interests two mornings per week in elementary school, which gave me four hours away from the mind-numbingly boring standard curriculum and the constant bullying; but that ended in fifth grade.

I was the sort of gifted child who also had poor executive function, courtesy of ADHD. I adored learning, but the slow pace of the classroom was suffocating and by high school I was skipping class constantly, yet somehow still getting perfect scores on exams. Most of my teachers actively disliked me. I have a vivid memory of arguing with my Honors American History teacher in high school about my grade. I had a 100 percent average on tests and quizzes, but she gave me a C- due to missing homework assignment and unexcused absences. I pointed out to her that the purpose of the homework was to ensure the student mastered the curriculum, and since I had the highest average in the class on tests and quizzes it was obvious that I had already mastered the curriculum - and since her lecture that day contained a factual error and she misspelled a word on the chalkboard, perhaps *I* should be the one teaching the class. It didn’t go over well.

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May 6, 2023Liked by Aporia

Wait, are you describing my two sons? LOL. That teacher interaction sounds very familiar.

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I'm late to the party. My high school civics teacher hated me because I always slept in his class until the end of the year when I had the highest score in the state on the standardized civics exam. Apparently that made him look good and he was nicer.

Ahhh public schooling (that I attended) sure had its ups and downs.

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May 5, 2023Liked by Aporia

Brilliant article. I’ve long joked that I’m “an adult survivor of a gifted childhood”. Everything in the article is spot on. I’m reasonably happy and successful in my 50s now so on paper it all went fine but boy did it suck a lot as a kid.

My two sons are about as smart as I was (take that, regression to the mean!) and my wife and I have long struggled to help them navigate the process of growing up like that.

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May 6, 2023·edited May 6, 2023Liked by Aporia

Kenneth Anger made an insightful remark when he called himself "a child prodigy who never got any better."

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author

Many thanks.

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I cried a little reading this. Thirty years on from my own version of Georgios's experience, the wounds are still too raw. (My own IQ was estimated at the time to be around 160. An inaccurate and imperfect measure of course, but indicative.)

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author

❤️

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Aug 17, 2023·edited Aug 18, 2023Liked by Aporia

Hey, I just wanted to post a quick update. Your article inspired me to get my IQ formally tested. It made me feel that I shouldn't accept the framing of my comprehensive-school youth that intelligence is something to be ashamed of. I just got my results back (161, identical to the original estimate twenty-five years ago), and I am filling in my forms for Mensa membership. Thank you for the inspiration! I hope you are happy to hear that your writing has had a concrete positive impact on someone's life.

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author

Many thanks for the kind words.

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May 3, 2023·edited May 3, 2023Liked by Aporia

Depressing reading. Brings back memories of middle school in particular. Rejected by my peers, and having long since learned that speaking up was 'being disruptive'. Nothing to read, and nothing to do but sit and stare out the window, day after day, for years.

I don't judge anyone really. Helping people less fortunate than yourself feels good. Policy makers get to feel beneficent. Helping some arrogant snot feels cold and prickly, even if they did not uncomfortably expose one's own shortcomings. Meanwhile, policy makers seeking to help expose themselves to accusations of elitism.

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May 7, 2023Liked by Aporia

Just echoing the previous comments in saying how much this article resonated with me. I likely have something approximating brain damage from how much boredom and ostracization I endured in school. I made it to what yanks would call high school until I stopped engaging altogether and fell behind from absenteeism. The school's reaction was (quite hilariously, at least in hindsight) to stick me in supplemental remedial classes with the kind of kids whose reading comprehension made them functionally illiterate, around the same time that I'd scored 140 on an IQ test administered by a psychologist the school referred me to. I soon dropped out entirely and never looked back at academia.

All the way I was made to feel defective by my peers, the teachers and most egregiously my parents - they're not bad people, they were just hopelessly out of their depth and had no one to guide them. It's only now in my thirties that I'm very gradually getting over all the inhibition this childhood instilled in me, working toward that "spreadsheet's eye" expectation. though these things leave a persistent mark. Much of the damage is likely permanent.

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author

Thank you so much for the kind words and sharing your story. I’m going to tweet this comment out!

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Our western educational systems are obsessed with helping the low achievers and not doing anything for high achievers because they have been infiltrated by marxist thought for at least one hundred years. Their marxist thinking wants to bring down every student to the lowest common denominator, intellectually gifted students are seen as a threat to the system and are ignored or mistreated. In Pol Pot's Cambodia, people who wore glasses were assumed to be intellectually gifted (and concomitantly a threat to the system) were massacred by the thousands. While we might not go to such extremes, we should learn from the Chinese, who have thrown off their communist beliefs and now value the intellectually gifted and give them all the nurturing they need. Our inability to take advantage of such a valuable resource results in the Chinese eating our lunch.

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Apr 21·edited Apr 21

Unfortunately all too true. They are going to try a takeover at some point, could be in a few years, could be in a hundred years, but if the trajectory continues that is what will happen. Buying up US farmland, real estate, production facilities, owning most our debt, and doing most of our manufacturing. China has valued scholarship for a long time. Identical twins reared in east Asia and the US, the US raised are 15 points lower IQ. East Asia and India do not coddle students, nor do they try to slow down the highly capable. The US's teaching system is literally retarding and wasting people's potential. Not only is it unfair to students, it's a national security liability that could literally lead to loss of sovereignty.

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The dumbing down of the US, is going to result in a takeover attempt by a country that doesn't coddle students. Most likely successful if we don't start maximizing and rewarding ability of our young people.

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I am about to say something that will, no doubt, anger many people. You have been warned.

From the article:

"Let us take a child of average intellectual ability, and when he is five years old, let us place him in a class of children with severe intellectual disabilities, children whose IQs are at least four standard deviations lower than his. The child will stay with this group for the duration of his schooling, and he will undertake the curriculum designed for the class, at the level and pace of the class.

(snip)

If this proposal appalls you, rest easy. Such a study will never be undertaken. No education system would countenance it. No ethics committee would approve it."

I agree. It is HIGHLY unlikely that such a disparity of four SD would be allowed. But a full single SD would not only be allowed, it would be (and has been!) mandated. African-American students average a full SD below White students. One can argue nurture or nature as the cause; frankly after 60 years you would think the matter would have been settled by now. Regardless of the cause, after the adoption of civil rights laws in the 60s (laws that I supported then and still do) the integration of Black and White students into the same classrooms quickly became a source of argument. Black students simply were not performing at the same level as Whites. Of course "structural racism" was initially blamed. Various remedies were tried to "bring up" the Black students. None have succeeded in across the board grade levels or for long periods. The solution? Dumb down standards of behavior, standards of knowledge, standards of success, rates of advancement. Dumb them down until the 85 average IQ cohort had the same chance of graduation as the average 100 IQ group.

Result? We have multiple generations of children, children of ALL races, with an increasing disability to do common math, speak or write grammatically, or understand complex or abstract ideas. The brighter students have been brought down to make the poorer students look average.

Solution? There is none. More accurately, there is none as long as we insist on refusing to acknowledge that different races, on average, have different intellectual abilities. (As well as differing emotional makeup, differing physical talents, and probably other differing attributes.) Me? I wish this were not the case, that these were not the truth of the matter -- but I see no way to objectively look at the past 60 years and not come to this conclusion.

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I’m a little late in responding here, but this article really resonates with me.

I’m the father of a gifted son. He never fit in regular schools, so he was mostly home schooled. He’s high achieving in math and science and has written output difficulties that affects his grades significantly.

We’re lucky that he was able to join a special program where he joined other kids like him to finish 5 years of high school in 2 and start university early. He’s currently in is first year of university and thriving.

This program was a life saver for him since he needed the intellectual challenge and couldn’t get it anywhere else.

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Great article. We are in Harrison Bergeron world.

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What the author fails to mention even in passing is that most highly gifted children are just precocious. They don't really have an exceptionally high intellectual potential, but only reach their cognitive maturity a lot earlier than most people. That's why a large majority of child wonders grow into unimpressive adults. An IQ of 145 for a 13 yo translates into a measly 115 for an adult...

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Whatever helps you cope, bud.

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May 8, 2023·edited May 8, 2023

Interesting.

A couple of points.

The most interesting parts of the piece related the personal interactions with Georgios. Nice work.

Yes, customized education is always a good idea but is expensive.

Society deems high intelligence to be a large asset and gift in itself, and therefore less deserving of support than, for example, a low intelligence, that will face serious obstacles throughout life, deserves. There's some logic to that.

Life is tough for everyone. Try imagining life with a 30-centile IQ. Stop crying about having a big gift, even if it come with some downside.

Cutting of funding for advanced courses, high intelligence children, standardized tests, ... is a trademark of the woke left and is clearly part of their agenda. And it's dangerous.

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Denying a child with low intelligence the appropriate learning resources necessary to thrive and succeed is cruel and unjust treatment.

Similarly, denying a child with high intelligence the appropriate learning resources necessary to thrive and succeed is also cruel and unjust treatment.

A child is a child. Both archetypes of childhood and everything in between require nurturing attention and guidance on their path to adulthood.

To deny recognition and resources to gifted children is indeed, child neglect and child abuse.

Don’t kid yourself that gifted kids will be just fine coasting through life, because they were born smart.

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Don't kid yourself that the really intelligent need as much help as those with low intelligence.

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If you need the imprimatur of a Mensa membership to justify your intelligence, you’re not the success you imagine yourself to be. It’s pure narcissism.

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You can't even follow the flow of logic in a thread.

Go away.

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Mensa is silly. I’m not impressed.

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IQ correlates with success in academia, career, health, ...

You're silly. Now get lost.

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How would you know?

What does “as much help” mean when their needs are so different?

And even if your premise were true, how would that justify COMPLETELY IGNORING the needs of the gifted children?

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Well, since you asked, I'm in Mensa.

Help can be measured by dollars, for starters.

I didn't suggest completely ignoring gifted children's need. Quite the opposite. Read the last sentence in my first post here. And stop making up junk.

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Thank you for writing this. I'm just reading it for the first time today, and the part about executive functions smacked me in the face: I still suck at those at age 43.

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Why the rebrand?

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That's what was on Prof Freeman's report. She could have made a typo, but I'm not certain she did. Many thanks.

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deletedMay 2, 2023Liked by Aporia
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Thank you.

Your experience is par the course. Depressing, but not surprising.

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“When I was growing up there were various disconnected "gifted and talented" programmes here and there, but they felt more like a daycare, lacking any structure or goal. Stick 'em in a room a few hours a week and let them play with lego robotics, that kind of thing. There was no expectation we'd come out having learned anything in particular.”

That describes the Talented & Gifted program in my school district perfectly. I enjoyed it because it gave me a reprieve from the mind-numbing boringness and bullying of my normal school days; but the unstructured nature of the program meant I just spent a few hours each week reading Greek mythology or starting projects that I never finished - in other words, it was exactly the same way I amused myself at home on my own time. I can’t say I learned anything in particular there, except that I was good at starting things I didn’t finish.

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