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Alessi 1 Introduction In the 1993 national report National Excellence the United States government defines gifted children in the following manner Children and youth with outstanding talent perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with others of their age experience or environment These children and youth exhibit high performance capability in intellectual creative and or artistic areas possess an unusual leadership capability or excel in specific academic fields They require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the schools Outstanding talents are present in children and youth from all cultural groups across all economic strata and in all areas of human endeavor as cited in Delisle 2000 p 81 This definition incorporates a number of important facts First it highlights the fact that there are a number of ways in which giftedness can be manifested whether it is academically creatively artistically or otherwise Also it emphasizes that giftedness is not specific to a particular race ethnicity or socioeconomic status Though there have been issues with the identification of gifted minorities all types of students can be and are gifted A third important point that is identified in the federal definition of giftedness is that gifted students require programs that are not generally offered by their schools This is a truth that professionals in the field of gifted education have known since the 1920s if not before Louise Specht wrote in 1919 Special classes for defective children with a course of study adapted to their needs had been in existence for some time Why not organize special classes for children at the other end of the scale composed of those showing the highest grade of intelligence Surely these children society s greatest assets were entitled to progress at the rate of speed that was desirable and normal for them If defective children of ungraded classes were worthy of a course of study

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