The human experience has been stumped by a timeless question: What is the best way to advance the goals of society through successive generations? How do we pass on our knowledge and experiences to our children and teach them to strive for progress and betterment? To this end, we have adopted the means of education. Education is our culture's answer to such questions: with it, we should be able to give future generations the skills and information necessary to create a better world society. That's the idea, anyway. Education, in the United States, at least, has instead become a vehicle of mediocrity, favoring our nation's below-average learners in an example of egalitarianism gone horribly wrong. In many schools throughout the country, however, certain educators have attempted to combat this growing mediocrity through the use of gifted and talented education programs. These programs cater to above-average students: children who are not only academically intelligent, but socially, artistically, practically, and emotionally advanced as well. Gifted education programs attempt to turn these students into tomorrow's leaders by fostering their individual talents and abilities. In an era of steadily decreasing funds for public and private schools, however, gifted education programs are often the first to be cut during budget restructuring. The programs are also accused of being discriminatory, anti-egalitarian, elitist, and too expensive by a number of different groups. Gifted and talented education, however, is absolutely necessary, as it is beneficial to individual students, the student body as a whole, and large-scale society. .
There are two distinct types of gifted education programs, enrichment-oriented and accelerated, both of which have been attacked from a wide variety of positions. Enrichment programs focus on independent learning and student interests. (Doina) Accelerated programs move students at a faster pace through curriculum, hoping to match the students? cognitive abilities.