I’m going to get straight to the point.

You know this whole Talent Development business coming from NAGC – and their need to redefine gifted education?

It’s not about the kids. It’s about the money.

To understand this, let’s go back in time to meet Kerri L. Briggs. Briggs grew up in Midland and Houston Texas. She received her doctorate in 1996 at the University of Southern California.

Within less than six years of working for the federal government, Dr. Briggs was appointed Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education by Bush Junior (also a native of Midland and Houston, Texas).

In 2008, under Dr. Briggs’ direction, the Department of Education proposed a new priority for Javits grants – the only source of federal funding for gifted research. Specifically, all future grant applications would be required to demonstrate scaling up, “a tipping point where at least 60% of the students who could benefit from an innovation are experiencing it in their educational setting”.

The rationale was explained in the Federal Register:

In order to have a national impact with the limited funds available for new awards under this program, the goal of this priority is to expand upon, field-test, and evaluate research-based interventions that have shown evidence of success in increasing the number of economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient, or disabled students performing at high levels of academic achievement.

Now, I don’t know Dr. Briggs, so all I have to go on are basic records that anyone who does a google search can find.

[I’ll leave it to all the other Sherlocks to help figure out where exactly the idea of scaling up and gifted education originated – as I really don’t think it was Dr. Briggs’ brainchild. But, if you’re really interested in sleuthing, you may find it interesting that under Jeb Bush, Florida pushed the same gifted-scaling up agenda at the same time as Briggs did.]

All the same, the change in priority was eventually approved. Beginning in 2008, all Javits grant applications had to articulate scaling up academic achievement for underrepresented student populations.

Guess who got the money?

  • Sally Reis, University of Connecticut
    Amount: $450,000
    Dr. Reis is the wife of Joseph Renzulli, the Director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented.
  • Carolyn M. Callahan, University of Virginia
    Amount: $423,284
    Dr. Callahan is a former NAGC Board President and works at Renzulli’s alma mater and NRC-GT’s partner institution.
  • Tonya Moon, University of Virginia
    Amount: $434,574
    Dr. Moon earned her Bachelor and Master degrees at University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She’s also the past Chair of the NAGC Research & Evaluation Network.
  • Ann Robinson, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
    Amount: $399,554
    Dr. Robinson served on the NAGC Board at the time of the funding and went on to be the Board’s President in 2009.
  • Cheryll M. Adams, Ball State University—Center for Gifted and Talented Students, Teachers College
    Amount: $405,241
    Dr. Adams received her Ph.D. from University of Virginia and has previously served on NAGC’s Board.
  • Julia L. Roberts, Western Kentucky University
    Amount: $446,111
    Dr. Roberts served on the NAGC Board of Directors beginning in 2003.
  • Karen Rogers, University of St. Thomas
    Amount: $80,962
    Dr. Rogers served on the NAGC Board of Directors in 2007. She, along with Ann Robinson, also served on the Task Force that developed NAGC’s position paper that redefines gifted as a those children achieving in the top 10%.

My concern is that we have another tangled web of talent development going on here.

On one hand, you can take a look at the list above and think, “Well, of course these folks got Javits money. They’re clearly leaders in their field. They must know what they’re talking about.”

Or, you can examine the list closely and see a pattern of nepotism that controls the purse strings and leadership positions mainly for people who can prove their lineage, in some form, back to Joseph Renzulli.

The problem is, this gross misuse of power stifles the creative exploration of best practices in the field of gifted education. UConn may do some good work in the field of gifted, but they certainly do not have all the answers. We need bold new researchers willing to challenge stale ideas in order for our field to grow and flourish.

Rather than advocate for the whole gifted child and rally against scaling up, NAGC has become complicit in reforming the concept of gifted in a manner that financially benefits few researchers and businesses.

In an online guest blog for The Hill, Paula Olszewski-Kubilius, NAGC’s president, took out her good old talent development stump to publicly pound for more gifted funding. While this wicked smart mom can always get behind lobbying for dollars, I cannot support this rationale.

Invoking nationalistic pride for the great space race may have seemed like a clever approach to lobbying for gifted funding, but really, Paula, all you proved is that you’re no Jack Kennedy.

Us versus Them
Why are we regressing to red scare tactics by discussing fear of “Soviet dominance” as a reason for needing to nurture American talent development?

Yes, in the 1960s our country felt a need to prove we were better than those damn commies. We were still reeling from McCarthyism paranoia, blacklists, and un-American activity investigations. So, of course, yay, hip hip hooray when America made it to the moon first. Everyone felt victorious and vindicated.

But, then something even more important happened in the 1990s. The international community banded together to share resources and funding to create the International Space Station. America, Japan, Canada, the European community, and, yes, even Russia have committed to continue collaborating on this project until at least 2020.

Who’s Got Your Talent?
You inaccurately attribute America’s success with the first moon landing with an educational push for talent development. While I will never claim to be an expert in history, I’m confident in saying few historians or scientists will find any reliable causation in your remark.

Wernher von Braun was a wicked smart dude from Nazi Germany. In 1945, he had the foresight to see that surrendering to America was preferable than surrendering to Russia’s slave labor camps.

He and a whole cadre of scientists were brought to America, where they lived out their lives working for NASA and other aerospace companies. The Saturn V rockets that took man to the moon were the brainchild of von Braun and some of his former Nazi cohorts, not American talent.

Downfall of Pride
It’s nice to think that America won the space race because our country was better at nurturing genius, but I’m not so sure that’s true, either. Remember, part of the race to space supremacy was rooted in the fear of atomic warfare. America had already shown that it was willing to blow up enemies to smithereens.

The need to posture and prove who was bigger and better caused the Russians to make some poor choices, like not taking the time to properly repair rockets and, worse yet, pressuring scientists to meet deadlines so space achievements could be used for political propaganda purposes.

Arguably, when your pride and a need to achieve accidentally kills off and destroys some of the your best talent, your chances of coming in first are diminished.

Who’s Gifted
Perhaps that most discouraging part of your recent blog rests on the fact that you implicitly promote the idea that math and science are the only areas of gifted education that really matter. More so, you call for the creation of a brain mill to fuel “a genuine second Sputnik moment”.

Where’s the call for humanitarianism? How about an ethical society that’s not focused on cut-throat competition? What about the need to create more beauty in the world?

Returning to a separatist mentality and a need to dominant others is not healthy for children.

It’s not healthy for international peace.

And it does not begin to meet the revamping needs of gifted education.

In case you missed it last night, the White House Press Correspondent’s Dinner took place – that time-honored tradition of roasting our beloved POTUS.

Now, I’m not a big fan of comedians, mostly because I find it painful to watch some of their caricatures of entire groups of people. But, I enjoy the Correspondent’s Dinner because it’s a chance for folks in high-powered positions to step back, relax, and not take themselves too seriously.

Jimmy Kimmel, some late night comedian delivered last night’s roast. He was funny, but his best line of the whole night came 30-seconds before he finished.

In that time, he thanked a certain Mr. Mills, his 10th grade history teacher who told Kimmel he’d never amount to anything if he didn’t stop screwing around. After high-fiving Obama, Kimmel returned to the mic and said, “Eat it, Mills”.

I guess I live in a bit of a pop culture, social media bubble because I had never heard of Kimmel before; but his parting remark struck a chord with me.

A 2002 New York Times feature on Kimmel, spoke of his blue-collar familial roots, his self-deprecating humor, and his “wicked smart” nature. Growing up, he had an idolizing love affair with David Letterman and somehow figured out how to break into show business without a college degree or the usual late night, comedy club circuit.

Yet, despite all his fame, fortune, and success, the biting words from a jackass teacher still left an impression in his heart decades after they were carelessly spoken.

Maybe Mr. Mills thought he was doing little Jimmy a favor by giving him a proverbial kick in the ass. Maybe Jimmy was a jackass himself back in high school, forever cutting up and disrupting classes with his jokes. I don’t really know.

What I do know is that the power of careless remarks, no matter how well-intentioned, can make or break a spirit – can lead to success or a lifetime of underachievement.

There’s no rhyme or reason to what compels one person to triumph over lack of support while another languishes for life. Some people can roll with the punches and others struggle with their identity, forever trying to meet other people’s expectations.

What I find so interesting about the underachievement discussion is that the leaders in the gifted field seem oblivious to how they’re actually making it worse for some kids.

Yes, we have an obligation to help our kids acquire skills that will set them up for future success. But, why do so many adults think it’s also their responsibility to tell wicked smart kids what their achievements should be? Or worse, deride a child’s dream, just because you don’t think it’s lofty enough?

In the vein of all those It-Gets-Better videos, I hope lots of taglets get to hear Jimmy Kimmel’s message from last night.

You might have detractors who will label you a failure because you didn’t get an A in AP History. They might even laugh at you because your dreams aren’t big enough for their ego.

But, if that dream is what you truly want, work at it. And one day, you may find yourself high-fiving the President of the United States in front of the entire country.

Wicked Uncool

Posted: April 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Call me old-fashioned, but when your teen wants to start dating, I think it’s appropriate for the parent to meet the other party – especially when your kid is 15 and the other teen is 18.

So, what’s a parent to do when your wicked smart kid lives away at college and lets you know of their weekend plans, including said dating scenario?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have a problem with teens dating. I think it’s a normal and healthy part of development and deserves at least as much attention as studying for a calculus exam – which, depending upon the kid could be days or could be zilch.

I don’t even have a problem with the age difference. If everyone involved in this scenario was in high school it would be like a freshman or sophomore dating a senior.

What I do have a problem with is my kid getting into a car with a young driver that I’ve never met.

And, I have a problem with giving an older teen the idea that they’ve got carte blanche because my wicked smart kid doesn’t live at home.

When I got the text letting me know about these upcoming, off-campus plans, I gave a call.

That didn’t go so well.

I offered to drive to the school and provide transportation and do a 5-minute meet and greet with the prospective date. If I got a good vibe, I’d let them drive back to school after dinner and a movie, otherwise I’d kill a few hours and wait until they said goodnight.

Strike one for Wicked Smart Mom.

I offered that another younger, hipper family member could act as my proxy.

Strike two for Wicked Smart Mom.

I offered that a certain Wicked Smart Kid could wait until summer break and have the date come to our house and do the whole introduction thing the old-fashioned way.

Strike three for You-are-such-a-pain-in-my-butt-Why-do-you-have-to-treat-me-like-a-child-and-Why-do-you-have-to-be-so-uncool-and-always-embarrasses-me Wicked Smart Mom.

Yeah, this is pretty much the stuff they forget to put in the early college readiness checklists.

To be continued . . .

In America, our media places a premium on bad behavior. Turn on the nightly news or scan your Internet headlines and you’ll see what I mean. A recent list of top CNN national news stories is a good example:

  • Petrino fired as Arkansas head football coach
  • Tulsa shooting suspects confessed, police documents show
  • Jurors chosen in trial of man accused of killing Hudson relatives
  • Marlins’ Guillen learns of free speech and consequences
  • School teachers become secret millionaires with Mega Millions win

Five stories and only the last one is a feel good piece about pure dumb luck. (The Marlins’ story is about the baseball coach who said he loved Castro and the fall-out he’s feeling in Florida.)

For some reason, we’ve been socialized to find satisfaction in hearing stories about the consequences other people face for their bad choices and shortcomings. Then, we’ll sit around our respective computers and debate the merits of the person and their case on facebook until our fingers go numb.

You would think that from all that attention we give bad behavior, we would know how to socially regulate adult bullies and collectively peer pressure them into not being mean to other people.

But we don’t, do we?

No, instead sometimes it winds up that the adult bully becomes popular and actually advances in life while the adult target continues to be put down.

Adult bullies find certain types of people too tempting to leave alone, including those who are:

  • Intelligent
  • Honest and Forgiving
  • Imaginative and creative
  • Sensitive and empathic
  • Loyal and dependable
  • Committed to justice and idealistic
  • Not prone to violence

That list looks a lot like a list of gifted traits, doesn’t it? So why then do we see gifted adults bullying one another?

Well, to begin with, we know that one of the root causes of bullying is an individual’s fear of being seen as inadequate or incompetent.

But, you ask: If you’re really wicked smart, what inadequacies are you afraid of?

Perhaps you’ve heard of imposter syndrome? That nasty parasite of a thought that settles in the brain and impairs one’s perception of their own intelligence and self-worth.

Most women I know who suffer from imposter syndrome use a lot of self-deprecating humor and silently endure bouts of depression. Been there, done that myself on both counts.

Other women, however, harness that internalized fear and lash out at others. It’s mean girl gone exponential.

Maybe it’s bitterness – or jealousy – or fear of loosing some kind of coveted status they’ve created for themselves. Whatever the additional motivation, the bottom line is a level of passive-aggressive bullying that attempts to destroy people that the bully targets.

But, here’s the part that never ceases to astound me. Wicked smart bullies sometimes build a cult following of other women who back them up and cheer them on and will go down in flames defending their bully-idol, even if they don’t know the person in real life.


You would think we’re all clever and rational and logical enough to turn our backs on the bad behavior. Instead, it’s almost as though people celebrate the bully by placing them in the center spotlight, applauding them.

Could be self-preservation. The tag-alongs know bullies rarely ever stop with one victim. Better to be on the winning side than to be ultimately targeted.

Or, could be that the tag-alongs get vicarious satisfaction from seeing another wicked smart threat taken down, rather than deal with their own self-esteem issues.

I have no answers. I only have one last thought. I wish we could resurrect our lost sense of social justice and say enough is enough with adults bullying one another.

Tough Luck

Posted: April 19, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Mr. Bigler seems like a cool guy. I don’t know him personally, but apparently he teaches AP Chem somewhere in the good ‘ole U.S. of A. What I like about him is his tough shit attitude to teachers about tough love with students.

What the dude seems to get is that gifted kids – all students, really – have personal lives. And sometimes, life gets in the way of learning.

Not all gifted kids, wicked smart ones included, come from wholesome, intact families. Even when they do, poverty can cause unimaginable stress that makes handing in mundane homework assignments seem pointless.

But, Bigler gets it. He understands that if a kid is in an AP class and not making the grades, then something is up. Just failing the kid for missed homework, well, fails the kid.

Instead, Bigler goes for an innovative approach. He holds kids accountable in a non-punitive way. If they’re in detention, he brings them back to his room, instead of just having them sit there quietly doing their time. They can get some tutoring help or they can talk some issues out.

This guy shares all kinds of good ideas for how he compassionately reaches out to smart kids at risk for failing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As adults, we sometimes see certain kids and think, “They’ve got something special. They’re going to achieve great things.” And then we think it’s our job to push that kid to develop that special talent, that special gift.

Somewhere in our psyche we seem to believe the wicked smart have an obligation to think big and achieve great things.

I’m sorry, but why are we putting that kind of pressure on our kids?

A teacher’s job is to impart knowledge. And yes, the kids have a certain responsibility to demonstrate that they’ve learned.

So, when we see them failing, why do we just assume it’s because they’re lazy or defiant or simply don’t care?

For some wicked smart kids, squeaking by with a 70 as their final grade in an AP class may actually be their second best success for the year – after the one where they succeeded in getting out of bed each day to face a world that wants to see them only as a prize producer rather than a human being with feelings and desires.

In case you haven’t heard, College Board decided to toughen up their test-taking policies to keep kids from cheating on the SAT’s. Starting in Fall 2012, students must upload a digital picture of themselves with their registration. Then, on the day of the test, students will be required to show photo identification on multiple occasions.

Some smart cookie decided that requiring kids to match a picture with their name before the test would make it harder for another person to take the test for them.

Except, didn’t anyone think about the possibility of how this policy actually makes cheating easier?

Seriously, what’s going to stop Ned Nitwit from registering under his name but uploading Charlie Cheater’s picture? For less than $100, you can buy a laminating machine and make your own student identification card with the swapped name and picture. Schedule your test date on a day when your school doesn’t offer the test and viola, you can fly under the radar.

Oh, that’s right. I remember now. College Board is also creating a big-brother national database with all the pictures, names, and genders for each SAT test taker. Any high school or college administrator will have access to all those pictures for an unspecified length of time.

I don’t know about you, but as a parent of wicked smart kids who started college at a wicked early age, I have a serious problem with this picture database business.

I’m not going to discuss concerns centered on less scrupulous university employees who may peruse the database for potential victims. I’m actually thinking about the attention seekers who take satisfaction in exploiting wicked smart kids for the media attention they can share. Quickly scanning pictures makes it incredibly easy to pick out certain little ones who may be on campus.

But you know, I think I might be jumping the gun with all this. You see, if you go back to College Board’s new policy, there’s a more fundamental problem facing wicked smart kids.

Students will be required to provide the name of their attending high school during registration. Once SAT registration opens for the 2012-13 school year, registrations submitted without attending high school will not be processed.

College Board has said that talent search kids will still be able to sign up to take the SAT through organizations like Hopkins’ Center for Talented Youth.

But, really, that just adds to my disdain for this new policy. Some youngsters take the test so they can qualify for further educational opportunities – not qualify for SET. Why on earth would any family want to pay an extra $49 for the privilege of registering through a 3rd party vendor – on top of paying to take the SAT?

Maybe I’m missing something with this new policy. If so, by all means help me with the hole in my vision.

If not, here’s my thought. If every concerned gifted parent and advocate contacts College Board, we may be able to get them to rethink this policy.

Not liking this new College Board registration policy too much? You can also read the New York Times blog discussing issues with the SAT photo database from a potential racial discrimination-application perspective.

Recently, a girlfriend brought her new boyfriend over so we could give him the once over. Given how we’re all middle aged, it’s akin to bringing your fellow home to meet your parents.

The meet and greet was going swell until I asked my friend about some career plans we had talked about a week before. The downcast eyes and immediate cease of a smile told me that her spark of hope for a new tomorrow was now gone.

“Paul (not his real name) made a good point,” she explained. “Why should I even bother looking at certain kinds of work if I don’t know how I’m going to handle school transportation.”

I looked at dear, old Paul and, without thinking, said, “Now why on earth would you say that kind of stupid shit and kill a dream before she even knows if she wants to pursue the job?”

S.I.L.E.N.C.E.   .   .   .   unless you count the glare coming at me from the other side of the room, silently screaming, “Dear, will you please stfu?”

It took me a second, nah probably more like five seconds at least, to realize the problem. I had offended a guest in my house. Not just a guest, but someone my friend liked enough to introduce to her child and her friends.


I didn’t mean to be an ass, but watching my friend’s body language broke my heart.

You see, she’s a wicked smart homeschool mom looking to place her just-shy-of-being-wicked-smart daughter into private school and going back to work for the first time in over ten years. Her entire identity is about to change and she’s scared out of her mind.

My friend and I have a lot in common, beginning with a history of really low self-esteem and self-defeating behavior.

I understand her struggle with wanting to work and the obstacles she’s facing. She’s got two Masters degrees but zero professional work experience in the last decade. Really, who’s going to hire her at this point in her life?

As a single parent with no family in-state, she works 24/7 with all the cooking, cleaning, driving, homeschooling, and general parenting duties. Yes, her daughter is a good kid and helps out, but unless there’s a sleepover at someone else’s house, there’s no time off for mom. Not even a sick day.

The idea of arranging transportation 5-days a week just so she can begin a new career at 45 is daunting enough. Add to the mix that nasty little voice from childhood of mom always reminding you how you screw everything up – well, that’s a recipe for non-action.

So, the fact that she agreed a week before to do one very specific thing to investigate a career opportunity, was a huge step. It now made sense why she had avoided talking about the whole topic in our casual email back-and-forth.

I was mad. Especially when she said that she had an application for a 5:00 – 9:00am warehouse packer job that would just be easier, in terms of figuring out kid transportation issues.

Paul was being practical when he posed his question. I get that. What he didn’t realize was that in less than ten seconds, his timing and harshness successfully quashed more than a year of confidence boosting gained by my friend.

We talk about underachieving gifted kids in schools all the time. But, sadly, we don’t always recognize the problem with adults.

I would never use that word with a wicked smart person who chooses to be underemployed because it frees up time and energy for pursuing hobbies that don’t pay a living salary.

Nor, would I call a stay-at-home-mom an underachiever. She is providing her family and society, for that matter, with the amazing gift of nurturing and loving her children. However, being a long-time homemaker can set you up for future underachievement, even if you have good self-esteem.

Add in the wounds some people carry from the lashing words parents and teachers sometimes utter back when we were kids and the underachievement problem becomes harder to overcome.

I wish I had a healing balm because it doesn’t always seem like time is enough to help make it better.

The whole night with my friend at my house wasn’t a total disaster. I apologized to her boyfriend and we had beer and pizza.

After we shooed the guys out of the kitchen, my friend whispered to me her secret dream of what she really wants to do with her life. I was a bit surprised but so happy. Despite her earlier look of dejection, she found the courage to not accept absolute defeat.

I hope she’s able to stifle her inner naysayer long enough to build more confidence.

And, I hope I’ll be able to finally find that filter switch that desperately needs to be turned on, some days.

Lucky Duck

Posted: March 9, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Wicked smart kid comes to me the other day and says, “I want to get a tattoo. Will you let me?”

Given how dad has ink, I’m amenable. I say, “What are you thinking?”

Kid says, “I want a quote.”

“Really? Which one?”

“Where do the ducks go in the winter? It’s from Catcher In the Rye.

I just look.

“So are you going to let me get it?”


“Across my chest.”

I just look.

“Why not?”

“Because sometimes, sweetheart, things are very important to us at an early age – but when we get to be 25 or 30 we look at what we’ve done and say, ‘What was I thinking?'”

“What! You think I haven’t thought this through? You think I just want to do this on a whim. You think I’m just some naive teenager who doesn’t have the foresight to understand that a tattoo is permanent? You don’t get it. That quote is important to me today. It’ll be important to me when I’m 40. I would never regret it.”

I just look.

The conversation ends with the slamming of a particular bedroom door.

Take 2

Wicked smart kid comes to me the next day. “I want to talk about that tattoo.”

“You’re not getting a quote engraved across your chest.”

“I changed my mind.”

“You want to get a duck hiding in a snowbank, instead?”

The conversation ends with the slamming of a particular bedroom door, again.

Take 3

My wicked smart kid comes to me, on yet another day.

“Don’t even mention the word ‘duck’, okay?”

I immediately start thinking of rhyming words, instead.

“You do know I don’t need your permission to get that tattoo when I’m 18, right?”


“You do know I’m going to get that tattoo the day of my birthday?”

“Get a job and start saving, I guess.”

“I don’t get why you won’t respect what’s important to me?”

I’m not even going to risk that tirade, so . . . I just look.

“I will do it.”

“And I will love even if you look like a billboard.”

The conversation ends with another door slamming – and me hoping that a sense of justice will not be served by Salinger singing in my face every time my kid walks around topless.

Human nature fascinates me. I’m the kind of person who can be quite content going to the circus, to watch people watch the circus rather than watch the tigers bare their teeth before dutifully obeying commands.

Maybe it’s a coping skill – a vestige of my childhood and trying to understand the cruel nature of people and why they feel the need to taunt, tease, and break down another person who was minding their own business.

Or, maybe it’s a calculated analysis – a hope that I might pick up on some social skill that’s long eluded me so that one day I may feel like I fit into society.

Whatever the case, I much prefer to observe than to interact. It’s easier that way – less chance at being misunderstood or offending someone.

Writing, however, is an outlet for me. That delete button, especially, provides much needed control for the person who cares about precise speech – especially when the words flow filterlessly before realizing, oops, there’s a different way of saying something without sounding so harsh.

Too bad there’s no Highlight-Ctrl X in real-time speech.

In reality, I don’t find myself that interesting. I’m just a wicked smart mom who struggles with self-worth. And I have wicked smart kids who have a tendency to fascinate the general public. I don’t work in any traditional sense of the word, though I’ve got pet projects that I volunteer my time with. (Oh, and I’m supposed to tell you I’m not really a kept woman, as that would suggest I’m married to a misogynist, which simply isn’t true.)

So, I find the reaction to this blog interesting. At a certain level, I’m shocked so many people are subscribed to read this.

At the same time, I’m not at all surprised by the level of criticism I read about this blog elsewhere on the ‘net. When I stumble across some of those comments I’m reminded of wise words counseled to me long ago when I first ventured into the adult volunteer world: If half the people don’t criticize you for what you’ve done, then you really haven’t done anything meaningful. Take it as an affirmation that at least you had some effect – positive or negative.

In any event, I feel as though I have opened up my life to anyone in the world interested (or bored) enough to read about it. I recognize the pain of isolation and wanted to reach out to others who may be traveling the same path. Somewhat immodestly, I also hoped that maybe I could dispel some myths about wicked smart kids.

Over the last couple of months, I’ve told you a bit about my depression, its roots, and issues arising from wicked smart kids in early college. If you stick around you’ll eventually hear about imposter syndrome, drug abuse, cutting, more depression, acting out sexually, underachievement, gifted kids with undiagnosed learning disabilities, more depression, laments on parenting pitfalls, tattoos, and brain injuries – all from the lens of the wicked smart life.

Not all are my stories or my kids’. Other wicked smart people have generously and courageously offered to share their stories, too. If they have a truth to be spoken and feel this is the only cathartic venue for them, then I’m willing to share the platform.

Still, I managed to piss a bunch of you off because I won’t tell you my name.

I could give you a fake name to get you off my back, but that would be wrong. Aside from lying, I would have to live with the knowledge that I compromised my personal integrity just to avoid a hassle. Given my propensity for guilt, I won’t do that.

My intent is not to taunt. But, I’m hearing some of you ask for greater transparency.

So, let’s make a deal. I’ll answer some of your questions. In return, you can . . . well, you’ll need to figure out what boundaries you’re willing to respect if you decide to continue to voluntarily come here and read this blog.

What’s my agenda?
Truth, justice and respect for all. Seriously. It’s as simple as that. I like to ask hard questions and engage in vigorous, informed debate. I’m also a huge proponent for giving voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. With this blog, that would be wicked smart kids.

I’ll add that I am not motivated by money. And while I get great satisfaction from knowing some readers find inspiration and hope in what I write, I’m actually not motivated by receiving public accolades. My real thrill comes from seeing you’ve shared a link back to this blog for others to read.

Am I a disgruntled graduate student?
No. I’m quite happy with the degrees I’ve collected.

Why am I trashing all of gifted education with my Tangled Web post?
I didn’t trash anyone. In fact, I purposefully made no comment on any one person’s contributions to the field of gifted. That post simply outlined the professional connections held by NAGC’s board of directors and asked a single question: Out of the dozens upon dozens of gifted experts in this country, why does NAGC select from such a limited pool of professionals?

What do I have against UConn?
Not a thing. I just don’t think they’ve got all the answers on how gifted education should be implemented in America. It comes down to a fundamental difference in theoretical opinion. I don’t embrace the talent development approach to designing gifted education. As I have stated repeatedly in this blog, I’m all about nurturing the whole child and acknowledging the inherent qualities that exist within gifted children – without the pressure of performing and becoming a producer.

I will add, however, that I think the Renzulli Learning System, a by-product of millions of dollars of gifted research, is a neat tool for general education and gifted teachers who can afford it.

Why do I use this blog to portray myself as a victim?
Being frank about emotions and how we respond to certain situations is different from a victim mentality. I don’t write this blog for sympathy. Sometimes I write it to sort out my own thoughts and I feel like it’s worth sharing. Other times I write it from an empathic perspective. And then there are times when I just feel really strongly about an issue and I want to put my opinion out there. In any case, my philosophy remains that life makes us who we are. We can engage in self-pity or we can draw strength from it. I choose to aim for the latter.

Why do I not respond to email?
I respond to emails with a legitimate question or concern. I don’t respond to ones promising to promote this blog if I just tell them my name.

Alrighty. I have no witty or clever remarks for closing this post, so I’ll just leave it at this – Thanks for reading.