Lack of intellectually challenging education for academically talented children
Inability to identify highly able students
Children gifted with exceptional intellectual ability or other talents may not be recognized within conventional national or local governmental school systems. Some gifted children may appear unmotivated by learning material that isn't intellectually challenging enough for them. Such disinterest may camouflage exceptional intellectual ability, and may provoke a teacher's confusion of lack of motivation with low academic ability. Even when a bright child is identified, it is only rarely possible to provide suitable facilities in which he can develop at his own accelerated pace and undertake work commensurate with his abilities. In the absence of such facilities it is only by chance that the child can develop his talents into constructive channels.
In the USA for example, about one percent of the elementary school population may be intellectually gifted as measured by intelligence testing. The only programmes for such students exist in a small number of the very largest cities, yet the greatest proportion of the gifted students assumed to exist, live in small cities, towns and rural districts. A 1991 study indicates that the last major survey of high ability among UK children was conducted in 1972, when approximately 50% of schools interviewed were considered disinterested in identifying and challenging the academically gifted.
The segregation of exceptionally intelligent children into special facilities tends to create an intellectual aristocracy which is widely considered objectionable, particularly since they tend to be found amongst the privileged classes. In addition, such separation may make it difficult for these children to integrate themselves into society at a later stage in life. Specialized high schools for the performing or plastic arts, for vocational preparation, or for accelerated science programmes isolate students from their peer group, whose areas of excellence may lie in their character, their general development, their physical coordination, or simply, but importantly, in the diversity of their backgrounds. High schools need to develop special opportunities for all their exceptional students, but they should maintain a general character, in order to reflect the society which created them.