The Pine View Public School in Osprey has 74 acres dedicated to serving the gifted. Students qualify for this school as part of Florida’s “exceptional education and student services” (ESE), provided to help gifted children with special needs “progress in public school and prepare for life after school.”
Only 2.2% of students in the world score a 130 or higher on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, or 830 on the Stanford-Binet — each the standard minimum score to qualify for attendance in Pine View’s gifted program.
In Sarasota County, 5.2% of students meet this standard, or more than twice what is statistically expected.
Other relevant statistics:
• There are 42,030 students in Sarasota County. That would translate to 924 statistically gifted students in Sarasota. Pine View enrollment is 2,150.
• Sarasota County’s population is 4.7% black. Pine View’s black enrollment is 25 students, or 1% of its student body.
• The county is 7.9% Hispanic. Pine View has 89 Hispanic students, or 4% of the student body.
• Asians make up 1.2% of the county’s population. Pine View has 111 Asians, or 10 times the statistical average.
• Pine View has 8.6 % eligible for free and/or reduced lunch. This is four times below the county average of 32.8%.
With exceptional talent, high achievement and potential to excel, the Pine View student has a greater chance to be afflicted with specific social and educational ills that naturally emerge as a counter balance to their extraordinary talents. The ESE paradox is that the slow learner and the gifted learner place too much emphasis on being smart, which is a cause for their disabilities.
Common concerns with the gifted include: heightened emotional, physical and psychological sensitivity; misaligned development between motor skills and their conceptual abilities; relationship issues; apprehension; perfectionism; frustration; self-esteem issues; anxiety; and depression. They use negative, obnoxious or creative ways to show their intelligence and make problems. Gifted learning disabilities include: central, auditory, sensory- and visual-processing disorders; spatial disorientation; dyslexia; and attention deficits.
Until the late 1960s, 130 was the gifted IQ marker used by psychologists to determine whether students would get special educational services. In place of this standard, Joseph Renzulli’s “Three Ring Circle” and Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelligence Theory” have been used to blur the lines of reality and move the definition of gifted from innate to my child’s great. These therapeutic theories have so watered down the gifted label that it can now be stuck on any child with a little rhetorical sleight of hand.
Pine View’s sole responsibility is to identify and provide special services to special children. While federal law drives ESE programs, Florida’s gifted program is based on loose state law and administrative rules.
Strict entrance requirements to protect and serve the truly gifted student should not be compromised, because using arbitrary standards creates an abuse of standards that are set to protect children.
Take a look at the numbers and you decide if Pine View has become Sarasota’s semi-segregated elite public prep school for the not-all-gifted.
Dean Kalahar is an economics teacher at Sarasota High School. He lives in Sarasota.
Currently 33 Responses
- Nicely done, Mr. Kalahar.
The Sarasota School system is reflective of Sarasota, which is very wealthy, utterly self-involved and could be the poster child for the pathologies of patrimony capitalism, notably narcissist personality disorder. As with all narcissists, Sarasota’s smugness masks a fragile self-esteem. It’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism. Its sense of entitlement demands that it and its institutions be perceived of as superior and flawless. Much energy is devoted to maintaining this sad charade. A bellwether of this is the shrill outrage and abusive ad hominem triggered by any reasoned criticism of Pine View School, demonstrably a quasipublic school for the quasigifted. Pine View blatantly cooks the books to admit the children of Sarasota’s elite, diverting resources from poor and middle class kids. It’s but another reason Sarasota, which leads the nation in income inequality, is best understood not as an American community, but in terms of an African kleptocracy:
- Mr. Kalahar,
When I even started reading your little jealousy story I couldn't stop laughing because I really thought that you would come around like the rest of the country and actually think that Pine View the best school in Florida instead of wherever you work.
Obviously you have never been to this stress free school that is being destroyed by people like you. You tell everyone that there are so many bullies here but the only bully here is you and you are making us feel worse about ourselves. I think that you should just go back to your pathetic life and...oh wait you don't have a life.
- Please view statistics on environmentally inspired ethnic differences in testing before you become the teacher who cried "racism." At age two, predictive tests show children of a variety of races and ethnicities to be about even. Within a few years, however, you'll find the average IQ of African Americans nationally has been placed at 85. Whereas for the general Caucasian populace it's approximately 103, for Asian Americans, about 106. Jewish Americans? 113. The race problems in the "gifted" school system appear to be a national societal issue, not one for an Economics, Psychology, and American Gov. teacher with a keyboard and a grudge, one who assumes causation on correlation.
That's really my issue. You should know your Psych. better than that by now, Mr. Kalahar. You said in your, may I note very well-written, article on the "Annulment of Same Sex Marriage," "Sadly however, it does not take a lot of people to make a ton of noise and create the illusion of a mass movement," (http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/03/the_annulment_of_same-sex_marriage.html). Don't let your voice stoop to clamoring for an unfounded argument.
- I can understand that you've been fed stereotypical hatred, but this is illogical. It's hard enough to deal with students from other schools saying things like this, but to comprehend the sheer inanity it takes for a supposed full grown adult to write an article like this, let alone publish it...
To give you a bit of background, I test at genius level, and I've attended Pine View.
There's my bias.
Then again, how often do you hear a kid say they love their high school, seven hours of homework a night and all?
And with siblings and nieces/nephews in every single high school in Sarasota and Manatee counties, I like to believe I'm slightly more informed than some... As, apparently do you.
I'm not condemning you for drinking the Kool-Ade- I myself almost didn't attend because the information I'd been fed by the students in my past school was exactly along these lines. I'm just noting that you should look before you leap. Take a step onto the campus, do some research.
My best friend in high school spoke seven languages, my other headed up one of the state's best Academic Olympics Teams. My friend "S" moved to Sarasota from China. He tested into Pine View. He was disappointed in himself for his 2392 on the SAT's.
And yes, you will end up with those awkward kids who aren't quite as "smart." Genius level overachiever or not, I often felt terrible coming home from school knowing that I only got an eighty-five on the test of something along the lines of the multi-planar analysis of a three-dimensional solid's volume when rotated about a given axis and anti-differentiated on the interval y= -3 to y= 15 when equations f(x), g(X), and h(x) determine the slope of the solid on its various facets. I love math, but at fifteen? That was a fun one...
Can you expect a system to be perfect?
Sarasota has a heck of a school system. Our crystallized intelligence levels are off the chart. And that's an environmentally influenced portion of psychology's definition of intelligence.
Additionally, I have taught in Sarasota before- just like I've taught in Georgia and plenty of other places. You can teach any kid to test well. The Flynn Effect suggests we're smarter than ever. But some kids have intellectual acumen that you can't disregard. "A" presented a simplified computational formula to the math board- a formula he came up with on his own time- his sophomore year. "J" is at Harvard getting his doctorate. If you have innately "intelligent" kids with mental fluidity at that level, then it's society's prerogative to at least try to promote them, just as I'd like to believe we do our best for the general populace of students as well.
I may think you're wrong, but this is an opinion piece, and, as such, its not my place to draw conclusions for you. I can just ask that you stop giving writers a bad name and read up before you report. Otherwise you're just exponentially proliferating hatred. And that is a crime.
Enjoy your day, and think about it,
- Mr. Kalahar,
Reading the other comments, I see everyone here seems to basically all have the same opinion. I know you don't listen to others opinions or take constructive criticism very well so these comments must have been a slap to the face. The years I went to Pine view have been the best 5 years of my life. You know when I took your class, I learned a lot. The definition of a narcissist was one of them- the feeling to bring down others to get to the top. With all do respect Mr. Kalahar, I see you have no issue with bringing down others to get power. Just a jewel for future reference, politically attempting to bring down a school is not a way to get to the top.
- Anyone who has lived in Sarasota since Pine View's inception knows that it was started due to segregation. The white parents didn't want their kids in school with the other kids. Here is a good article about Pine View. http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20090615/COLUMNIST/906151004
There may be families that move into Sarasota County for this school and I have no doubt they are gifted, but they are the exception. In my 10+ years of education in Sarasota County I have had numerous dealings with the Pine View "dropout". This is a student who could never test in on their own merits, so their parents take them to a "specialist" that labels them gifted. So what do you end up with? Rich white kids, just watch parent drop off (BMX, Lexus, Porsche, Rolls, etc.) This is our issue with Pine View. If it were truly just the gifted kids and our county grew a backbone on only allowing those who pass on their own merits the rest of us would probably leave it alone. It would also probably drop to the numbers Mr. Kalahar is speaking about.
- What an incredibly moronic article written by someone who truly has no clue, but thinks he does.
My family moved here five years ago from West Palm Beach. We have two sons, one 15 and the other 10. The older boy has been at PV since the 5th grade and is now in 9th grade. The younger one, while he meets all the eligibility requirements, goes to Laurel Nokomis and is in their gifted program (a great school, BTW). PV is not for him - he's simply not wired that way. My 15 year old, however, is, and he has excelled in most every conceivable way. PV is the perfect environment for him. He is surrounded by some remarkable classmates, 95% of whom are self-confident, socially "fine" kids who like to be with each other. They are not afflicted with the perported "issues" you site. You make it seem like the entire student body is a bunch of Erkels. They just happen to be really, really, smart kids fortunate to be able to attend a school like PV. And I'd venture that all will lead fulfilling, rewarding lives being leaders or making a difference.
Mr. Kalahar, the only thing I can conclude is that your IQ is substantially below 130. For it's the only plausible explanation as to why you could arrive at such a patently idiotic thesis after considering the data.
- Mr . Kalahar,
I'm sure that you have your own reasons for detesting Pine View to this extent. However, when you POLITICALLY ABUSE A SCHOOL that highly outranks your frivolous 'Sarasota High', you are basically asking all of the Pine View parents and students to steamroll you. I'm sure that you take pleasure in writing a cruel and aggressive article based on your own envy, but BEING BITTER TOWARDS OTHERS IS IMMATURE. I AM ASHAMED THAT ADULTS ACT LIKE YOU. This is why I go to Pine View, a school that you yourself have probably never even been to! Please get your head out of your butt and start being nice to Pine View!
Thank You! ;D
A.J -2nd-8th grade at Pine View
- I appreciate your statistical thoughts although you need to question yourself as to why there is a discrepancy rather than criticizing it with your conspiracy theories. I think you certainly need to edit your article. I am an Asian and I live in Sarasota county just because of pine view school, eventhough my practice is not located in sarasota county. And i know of many other families who have relocated just for their children's education. All three of my children are gifted and need great education, which is hard to find in the USA. And just to fill you in " Asians do take their children's education very seriously. In Asian culture, parents do everything possible to shape their children's future. Also Divorce rates are extremely low and family structure and support is more stronger which is very important for child's development and educational success."
Also being a pediatrician, I would advice you to refrain from making generalized statements on psychological issues of gifted children. Psychological issues arise most of the time when their unique gifted abilities are not met with.
Pine view is one of the legendary school structuring future leaders who will shape the country. So please be a positive thinker.
- Wow. I think the statistics you cite can be read (interpreted) as much pro, as con, for PVs existence. Most colleges in the US have disproportionate Asian populations as well vs national stats, correct? So if this indeed a problem (again open to interp)-, it certainly isn't a PV created problem.
I'd like full disclosure from you; I couldn't help but read the article as "my kids did not get in to PV revenge story" lol. Did you have children who were rejected?
- Dean: Well, sour grapes was the first thought that came to my mind as I read your screed. So I read it again, but that didn't change my first impression. It is interesting to note that a much higher percentage of students enroll in Pine View than the available pool of 130+ IQ's, but, as another poster with better math skills than your own pointed out, your figures are not accurate. With no sources offered, we can't be sure where your number came from. Why doesn't that surprise me?
There are several possibilities for the alleged discrepancy you suggest. First, many people with gifted children move to Sarasota simply because they want their children to go there. And why not? The public education system in this country is a shambles, thanks to the federal government and unions, so why not get your kid into one of the best schools in the country for essentially the same cost (property tax)? Secondly, there are a some parents who pay the right people to qualify their kids as "gifted." Yeah, it happens, and everyone knows it. But, and I can say this because I have two kids in Pine View, it is much harder to stay in Pine View than it is to get in to Pine View. The kids who had to fake it to get in, in many cases, end up leaving or struggling. It can be a brutal environment for students who don't have the intellectual acumen to deal with the demand. Tough. This sort of thing exists in every publicly run institution, so I'm surprised by your apparent naivete.
What is truly telling about your comments, however, is the fact that you expect the ethnic make up Pine View to mirror the ethnic make up of the community. Clearly, you've spent far too much time in the public sector and could use a nice wake up call that only the private sector can deliver. On second thought, maybe it's a good think you don't have to compete...I mean, you like eating regularly, don't you? It's mind-boggling that I would have to explain this to a teacher of economics, but here goes......we live in a meritocracy where those who study hard and work hard get ahead. As a collectivist, I'm sure that fact pains you and that you are doing everything you can to make our mean society more fair. Right. Why is it the "everyone is entitled to an equal outcome" crowd is almost always employed by government?
Dean, in this world, you get what you earn. Achievement in this life does not, and will not, reflect the ethnic make up of society. To think otherwise is for Pollyanna's employed by government. The reasons are many, but they have nothing to do with Pine View. Your whining about Pine View not reflecting the ethnic make up of the community is just more collectivist nonsense by people who believe that they can dictate social justice. After reading your nonsense, I have to say that I am pleased that my kids won't be learning "economics" from you. I want them prepared for the real world.
Pine View offers an education to students who would otherwise be forced to fit into the one size fits all program that represents the public education system today. Public education stopped being "public" a long time ago. These schools are now government schools. Today's government schools are ill equipped to deal with gifted students. Sad, but true. I'm thrilled my kids have a place to go where they can focus on their education, rather than being indoctrinated by political correctness, and where there is no need to worry about bullying, or that they will be ostracized for being "weird" when they display any number of idiosyncrasies that gifted kids are known to possess.
Anyway, I'm sure none of the comments here will sway you. Your opinion has obviously been hardened by something other than objective analysis. As a matter of fact, my analysis of your comments leads me to believe that your opinion is nothing more than jealousy and cynicism masquerading as moral superiority.
You wouldn't last a week having to compete in the private sector in the current environment. Sad, really.
- Dear Sir:
Some of what say may in fact be true, that said- so what. As one of these "gifted with problems" people, I can say such energy could best be used otherwise. In the 1970s my mother was so excited that I scored 180 plus on my I,Q. test. BIG STINKING DEAL. I am another ex construction worker with a record of getting into fights. The dangerous and heavy physical labor I performed over the years has left me applying for disability. I am not yet forty-five years of age. Before the drug use, I had a semi photographic memory. In fourth grade, I read my books in the first month of school, returned all my books to the teacher as I did not want to carry them around. I had all As & Bs that year. Again-so what? Where am I now?
My son stabbed a teacher with a pencil in the first month of kindergarten and my daughter beat up a boy in the lunchroom during her first month.
My daugter has since made student of the month. Both of my kids have stayed on the honor roll in the advanced class. Both are in violin class at school. Both have received awards in math, art and music.
I am currently trying to get my kids into Pine View. I do not want them to be the smartest carpenter on the job. No one knew at my time to really help me achieve my potential without imploding. My concern would not be if a scholl for the gifted has a few that slip through the cracks. Cracks will always be there. My concern would be that schools for the gifted exist in the first place and that there are programs such as at my kids current school which identify and assist talented children instead of just coming down on them like everyone did with me.
- Pine View is a wonderful school. It's not the "gifted" aspect that matters at Pine View. It's the culture. Students at Pine View are encouraged to excel, to become engaged and not be ashamed of being the "smartest kids in the room." I firmly believe that children live up to expectations. If all schools believed in their students and encouraged them, all schools would be "gifted" schools.
My first thoughts on reading your very biased editorial:
Hmmm... I wonder if he applied for a job and didn't get it.
I'll bet his kids didn't make the cut for Pine View and this is just "sour grapes."
I can't imagine what other motivation a teacher would have for bashing any school - especially one that is such an asset in Florida.
Shame on you, Mr. Kalahar. Do you truly think this kind of editorial serves any purpose at all?
I feel like you don't take constructive criticism very well, but no matter. I'm just going to give you a little jewel for future reference.
As a student of Pine View with an IQ of over 130, on my word, I'd like to point out that as wonderful as 'heightened physical and psychological sensitivity' sounds, I am just as physically sensitive as the next person. If a mosquito were to bite me, I would not feel it anymore than you.
A little self-editing or peer-editing can be a beautiful thing.
-M. van Dee
Class of 2016
- I happen to know a lot of highly educated people with high paying professional jobs relocated to Sarasota to send their kids to Pine View. It is not hard to understand why Sarasota has such concentrated gifted students. Your article is full of bias and hatred towards the truly gifted students and their parents.
- Mr. Kalahar,
I don't understand why you have a grudge against Pine View. Perhaps it's out of jealousy, or perhaps you have a problem with some of our wonderful teachers. Either way, this article is littered with factual errors. Perhaps you should learn to check your articles factually before you send them off to the paper and stir up trouble.
- You make the same mistake most of Pine View's critics make.
If Pine View was full of unqualified students, how do you explain their outrageous success in every measure- SAT, ACT, AP, FCAT, graduation rate, college & graduate degrees, and national rankings?
If parents could really get their dumb kids into Pine View (by money, discrimination, or any other means), Pine View wouldn't have the scores.
- So, Dean, now that you've had a few days to digest the criticism, how are you feeling? A little embarrassed? I doubt it. No, I'll bet you're feeling pretty proud, and so you should. It's too bad school's not in session so you could get a bunch of high-fives from your loyal students and fawning faculty. I wonder how County Administration is feeling about this little brouhaha? Maybe they like good old fashioned internal criticism of their established programs by teachers from other schools. Maybe they like teachers stirring things up by raising the specter of racism, cheating, and discrimination within the school system. Maybe they're re-thinking their entire approach to educating our children based on your expositives. I notice this is not the first or last of your missives. I'm sure administration is paying close attention to what you have to say and are waiting with bated breath for the next edition of The Sarasota Observer to hit their driveway.
By the way, for those who may not know, the word you used to describe Pine View, guilded, certainly implies that we taxpayers are not getting our money's worth if you're right. Here are some of the meanings of "guilded":
To give a deceptively attractive or improved appearance.
Based on pretense; deceptively pleasing; "gilded and perfumed but inwardly rotten."
Having a pleasing or showy appearance that conceals something of little worth.
To give a deceptively attractive or improved appearance.
Deceptive as in "gilded and perfumed but inwardly rotten."
Gosh, Dean, you may have revealed on one of the greatest travesties in the history of Sarasota public education. At this rate you may be the next Superintendent of Schools. With such amazing hindsight, insight, and foresight, I'm sure your superiors are conferring right now about how better to utilize your incredible talents for the betterment of our progeny.
Now that your commentary on Pine View has left the spotlight and been replaced by one of even broader scope, no one will see this response. However, I feel compelled to post it just in case you need a few more lines on your resume.
- I attended Pine View from third grade to seventh. At the very end of my last year at Pine View, I was told I could not return in the fall. I attended a small middle school for my eighth grade year, and started at Venice High a year later. While Venice is seen as 'slumming it' by Pine View students who I find to have a superior attitude due to the school they attend, I enjoyed my freshman and sophomore years there. I made great friends, and had extremely supportive teachers who went out of their way to help me frequently. Now, I have finished my Junior year of High School from Shanghai, China. Where I attend a University and study Chinese, have a full time job teaching English and use FLVS (Florida Virtual School) to complete my high school education. I am financially responsible for myself and live in an apartment I share with three young adults from China, Finland and Germany. Everyday, I meet people from all over the world who are doing amazing things with their lives. If I had not left Pine View I would not have had the opportunities I do and I am thankful I have had the amazing experiences I have. I am not saying that some facts in this article are completely right, wrong or built of bias, but I find several of the comments to be disturbing because no one examines the life that could happen outside of Pine View.
- It has already been made clear as to why this article is erroneous in the responses made by my peers; however, I am interested to know why Mr. Kalahar would write such an article and why he seems so displeased with Pine View to the point where he must criticize it. I sincerely hope he did not write out of jealousy or grudge, because writing an article to criticize due to those reasons is not something I can truly respect.
-A. Martin, Class of 2016
- The statistical anomaly is created by the many families that relocate to enroll their students at Pine View School. With 25 National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists and a 1968 average SAT score (which significantly exceeds the scores of all other public schools in the state), Pine View is an academic powerhouse and a major draw for those seeking the Florida lifestyle. While attending the open house for new families, we toured the school with a group of parents who had overwhelmingly relocated to Sarasota from as far as Connecticut and Arizona so that their children could enroll. In fact, we were the only Floridians in the group. Pine View School provides a wonderful resource for the residents of Sarasota while attracting many new families, businesses, and yes, intellectually gifted children to our fine community.
- I am glad Patrick wrote up a response with such excellent coverage of the issues outlined by Mr. Kalahar’s article.
I also think it is excellent that both Omri and Patrick pointed out the basic mistake made by Mr. Kalahar in applying the 2.2% worldwide 130+ IQ statistic to the 42,030 number of Sarasota students instead of the significantly more contextualized 5.2% "Sarasota-wide" statistic.
Whether Mr. Kalahar did this on purpose to make it seem like Pine View enrolls more students than could possibly, by his calculations, be gifted in the county or out of ignorance of which numbers he was using in his calculations cannot really be said at this point, but I should hope it is the latter considering the initial reaction a reader could have by taking, at face value, his statement that there was a discrepancy between the number of gifted students in Sarasota and Pine View's enrollment.
If Mr. Kalahar doubts that Sarasota could have 5.2% of its students meeting the 130 IQ mark because it happens to be "more than twice what is statistically expected" and uses that as a justification for replacing the 5.2% with the 2.2% worldwide statistic of students expected to meet the 130 mark, I fear that, even before you evaluate Patrick's substantiated arguments that there are several possible reasons why our county percentage would exceed the worldwide percentage, Mr. Kalahar completely fails to understand that the 2.2% statistics functions only when applied to the various student populations of the world. He should realize that while some student populations might have a percentage lower than 2.2%, other populations, Sarasota's for example, could very well have a percentage exceeding the world's average. And since he offers no reason for us to believe that Sarasota has reason to have a higher percentage while Patrick offers a few reasonable explanations that would justify Sarasota's percentage exceeding that of the world, there is no reason to default to Mr. Kalahar's interpretation of the numbers wherein he uses the 2.2% statistic to come up with the idea that there are theoretically 924 gifted students in Sarasota. Instead, we should logically default to the more reasonable interpretation that the 5.2% statistic is valid (understanding that there should be room for adjustments based on the nuances of what the 5.2% entails), and so, we should reach the significantly more correct conclusion that there are approximately 2,186 gifted students in Sarasota by these numbers. There is no reason at this point to believe Mr. Kalahar when he implies that Pine View enrolls more students than could possibly be gifted in the county.
As for Mr. Kalahar's claims that Pine View is a "semi-segregated elite" school, I have to emphatically object to this on several fronts. First, the term segregated implies an active effort to separate groups based on, in this case, racial lines. Mr. Kalahar must therefore be contending that because the percentages of Pine View's population for certain ethnic groups do not match up with the percentages of those ethnic groups in Sarasota's population, Pine View is actively selecting Asian students while at the same time actively turning down African Americans and Hispanics (no statistics are given for the Caucasian population). There is no basis for this claim that the lack of correlation between county population percentages and Pine View population percentages could only be caused by active discrimination in the admissions process, rather I would first argue that we should look to Patrick's ideas that the discrepancy may be due to a variety of socioeconomic factors including, but not limited to, income disparities, broader economic inequalities, culture-based educational drives, and family stability across the different ethnicities. As a result, I would have to assert that Mr. Kalahar is mistaking our admissions requirements based in objective standards for racially-based subjectivity. Second, the charge of elitism that Mr. Kalahar pins us with must be addressed. He bases his argument that we discriminate against different income levels in the fact that the percentage of our students who are eligible for discounted lunch prices is lower than that of the county. To this, I would reiterate the argument that he offers no reason why the Pine View statistic should not be above, as it was with the percentage of gifted students, or below, as it is now with this statistic, the average for a larger population. But I further have to argue that income level and other economic measurements are not in any way a part of the admissions process for our school and could therefore have no bearing on who is admitted, and I would finally say that there could be several reasons why fewer students from low-income households are admitted to Pine View once again including, and I am sure there are countless others, the fact that economic status has a large influence on the ability of a family to start education for children early (the fact that income levels correlated to success in education has been extensively documented by experts for many years). In the end, I hope that I am misunderstanding Mr. Kalahar on these points, yet sadly I see little other reason for why he would juxtapose those population and income disparity statistics with one another and use such charged language as "semi-segregated" and "elite" to suggest racial and economic discrimination at Pine View.
Finally, I think it is necessary to address Mr. Kalahar's poor handling of what psychological problems are associated with being gifted. In the paragraph prior to his extensive listings of psychological problems, personality flaws, and learning disabilities, Mr. Kalahar's final sentence concludes that an emphasis on being smart causes the gifted to suffer these disabilities; however in the following paragraph where he lists what those disabilities and issues actually are, he explains neither the extent to which the gifted suffer from those disabilities nor the evidence to support the claim that the ways the gifted express their intelligence also cause problems of an unspecified nature. To begin, there are multiple responses to address the issue of the numerous disabilities suffered by the gifted. The simplest is that perhaps the way to regard these many issues is the same way we regard the many side effects of aspirin: with notice but not major concern. Theoretically, you have a chance of suffering gastrointestinal bleeding, anemia, hives, and Reye's syndrome when taking aspirin (the primary suspect for the cause of Reye’s aspirin) (also credit to the Wikipedia article on aspirin for helping out with these side effects). But, those adverse side effects, Reye's aside, only arise after long stretches of time with high doses of aspirin. And Reye's syndrome, though listed with the other adverse effects, is actually only a seriously damaging possibility for young children and some teenagers. Now if you introduced an individual who had never encountered civilization or medicine to aspirin and communicated to them only a list of what we use aspirin for and then a list of all the adverse side effects that were possible, they would surely shun it as a generally detrimental medicine that causes more harm than good. This is what Mr. Kalahar accomplishes with this portion of the article. He gives no quantification for how many gifted students suffer these problems, no description of the magnitude of the impact of the disabilities on gifted students who do suffer from them, and no clarification of if certain conditions are attached to these issues. Just as we know that those side effects should not be treated as a major concern when taking aspirin, we also know that the lists of psychological problems Mr. Kalahar associates with the gifted condition are generally not major problems for gifted students. Moving on to the specific psychological problem of moral sensitivity, it should be noted, as Patrick points out, that moral sensitivity is not a bad thing since it allows for greater understanding of moral and behavioral issues at earlier ages, just as emotional sensitivity could be perceived as either a negative psychology issue or as a reason why an individual sympathizes and empathizes more readily with tragedies. Mr. Kalahar fails to explain why these sensitivities are a bad thing, assuming the reader will do the work for him because he lists sensitivities along with several ominous sounding psychological issues. Moving forward yet again, Mr. Kalahar also fails to explain during what period in a gifted student's life they suffer from some of these shortcomings. Just as he implies misaligned development between motor skills and conceptual abilities is present throughout their lives, you could imply that humans suffer from spontaneous vomiting, inability to control bowel movements, and difficulty refraining from bawling by stating "Common concerns with the humans include: [those issues]." basing your logic in the idea that babies are humans and babies suffer these problems so humans must also suffer those problems. Mr. Kalahar, along with the author of such a statement about humans, completely misses the mark by not specifying if those conditions are present throughout the individual's life or if they come and go with age or other maturations. Patrick on the other hand does specify, via a cited source, that such issues between motor skills and conceptual abilities occur significantly only in preschool gifted children. Mr. Kalahar offers no evidence to believe otherwise that this, or any of the other problems he lists, pervades a gifted child's life. And now I promise to be quick with the last response on this topic, but it can simply be said that he does not explain how badly gifted children are affected by their supposed disabilities. Sure, many gifted students could be stated as suffering from ADHD, apprehension, self-esteem issues, and anxiety, just as most people could be diagnosed with any number of everyday personality disorders. The fact that these issues are generally very minor and have little to no impact on the daily lives of most gifted students goes completely unmentioned by Mr. Kalahar, rendering his argument ineffective and weak since the problems, though potentially numerous, could be completely manageable. And that is if we were to somehow accept that these problems affect all gifted students all the time. So even though our gifted condition may have various and sundry psychological problems associated with it, there is no reason to believe that we are anything less than capable of coping with whatever they may be.
So, Mr. Kalahar, I have taken a look at the numbers and scrutinized your arguments to the best of my ability, and I find a few key flaws embedded in your article. First, you made an elementary miscalculation with your gifted population numbers that, if left unquestioned, would have seriously undermined Pine View's reputation as a school for the gifted. Second, you dangerously misconstrued ethnic and economic population statistics to somehow suggest that our objective admissions requirements were subjectively choosing those who could and could not attend Pine View based on a racially and economically biased agenda, ignoring the several other possible causes for the discrepancies. Third, you do little work, beyond presenting us with lists, to explain what impact these psychological problems actually have on gifted students in the course of their lives, leaving us with not much choice but to realize these problems are either insignificant or easily able to be mitigated.
In any case, I would be open to hearing clarification of your views or explanations of your ideas in a follow-up article or response.
-Leonard Giarrano IV, Class of 2013
- This article is complete BS. Every child at Pine View deserves to be at Pine View. Implying that there are kids at our school that are not qualified as gifted, or that parents bribe or pay off people in order to get them in is ludicrous. I've been enrolled in other Sarasota county schools in the past and I can say without a doubt that intellectually, Pine View kids do laps around other students, with maybe the exception of some of the IB kids.
Questioning why there are some many gifted kids at Pine View and implying that some sort of backhanded operation is going on in order to get non gifted kids in is just... fricking insane. You honestly sound like a conspiracy theorist babbling on about a second shooter on the grassy knoll and aliens abducting your cousin off the farm. Pull yourself together! You immediatley assume that something dark and secret is going on instead of thinking of a logical answer. I personally know five families who moved from out of state in order for their kids to attend Pine View, just from my graduating class alone. And I'm sure there are plenty of other families, both from my class and every other class, who have done the same. And all of those kids are considered gifted by IQ score and by pure intellect and chose Pine View because it is the best school in the state.
Saying that Pine View is a segregated school for the elite is also complete nonsense. Yes, there are no a lot of black kids at our school. We all know that. Sarasota is a de facto segregated town, you can't argue that. It sucks, but it is. Don't blame Pine View for having it's campus located far from the large African American communities. I know that there were no more then 3 black kids from Riverview's IB graduating class this year, but you don't seem to care about that. No, it seems like you have a personal vendetta against Pine View.
Stick to econ, Mr. Kalahar, because you obviously don't know much about anything else.
- ps...I wonder how many parents and students feel compelled to relocate from California to attend Dean Kalahar's economics class at Sarasota High? (Thanks JP)
- All righty, looks like comments are the thing to do, so I guess I'll take a swing at this. (For reference, I'm disregarding those two paragraphs about gifted students' psychological issues, since I'm a bit confused as to how they pertain to the assertion that Pine View engages in elitism.)
Pine View, like the rest of the United States education system, has a race problem, plain and simple. Denying it is just straight-up stupid. I'm never as disappointed in the system as when I walk Pine View's campus and can't find a single African-American student.
However, I'm also disappointed in the assumption that this problem is exclusive to Pine View and the touchy-feeliness of its entrance requirements. (Incidentally, the required Wechsler and Stanford−Binet tests are highly standardized processes that, to my knowledge, can't be affected by parents' rhetorical sleight of hand, so I'm interested in hearing more on where that assertion comes from.)
Instead, Pine View's skewed racial composition is indicative of the fundamentally broken nature of the educational system nationwide. By 2011 census data, 53% of Asian Americans are graduating college, as are 37% of white Americans, 27% of black Americans, and 19% of Hispanic Americans. And if we step up the ladder even further, the figures are even more jarring: 3.32% of of Asian Americans are getting their doctorate degrees, whereas 1.33% of white Americans, 0.63% of black Americans, and 0.54% of Hispanic Americans are doing so — yikes. We have a serious educational issue on our hands.
So, as we look for the children most highly educated from birth, we find them in the most highly educated households. And, the sad truth is, those households are disproportionately Asian and white. The fact, then, that Pine View's racial composition follows that pattern should hardly be surprising at all: even if Pine View's entrance requirements could be made stricter as the article demands, we wouldn't have solved the problem; Pine View's student body would still reflect these nationwide educational trends.
So, this article aptly identifies a key issue in modern American society: we need to solve our race problem. And, thankfully, we're on our way there, as the education gaps between the races grow thinner every year. Still, it's important to recognize Pine View's racial proportions as merely a symptom of a larger problem, and to prescribe treatment to Pine View's entrance requirements would have little effect long-term. Instead, to fix Pine View, we must first fix the country. Then we can talk.
- Celebrate Pine View School
Regarding Dean Kalahar's Castigation of Pine View School...
Outrageous speculation. Thinly veiled innuendo. Baseless charges. Unfair accusations. Suspiciously envious. These are but a few of my reactions after reading Dean Kalahar's malicious musings about Sarasota's educational masterpiece, Pine View. Exactly what is your point, Mr. Kalahar? That Pine View officials, administrators, teachers, parents, and students are cheaters? That parents bribe testing facilities to get their kids' scores graded artificially high? That officials somehow fix student FCAT scores? That the local Battle of the Brains is fixed? That there is an Asian conspiracy? That Pine View is racist against blacks and hispanics and favors Asians? Are wealthy parents paying off teachers and administrators to get their giftless kids into Pine View and then somehow keeping up the graft and corruption so their little darlings make it all the way to graduation and on to great universities? Where's the proof that Pine View kids flunk out of those universities once the gravy train of unfair support runs out in the real world? Or do you think this outrage somehow continues past Pine View? You, sir, have stirred a hornet's nest but it's not the first time. Your accusation that there is a conspiracy in Sarasota County to deny middle class kids the advantages unfairly provided to Pine View kids is itself an outrage.
Our daughter goes to Pine View. She passed all the tests and interviews. We didn't intercede or bribe anyone. Frankly, we resent even the hint of suspicion you raise and we must stand up to it. We love Pine View School. Pine View kids want to learn and are challenged by difficult expectations and high standards. What's wrong with that? Our kid has to go to school somewhere. Why not Pine View? If Pine View did not exist, the kids would have to go to other schools. What good would that do? Pine View is a deal for Sarasota County. Pine View spends less per student than other schools. (check this out) Instead of lambasting Pine View, you, of all people, should admire, respect, and celebrate it. You're like a doctor criticizing a top-ranked hospital just because you don't work there. Sarasota should be proud to have one of the top-ranked public schools in the nation!
Listen, Dean, your diatribe unwittingly supports the very idea of Pine View. Most informed academicians will agree that intelligence is hereditary. Smart parents tend to have smart kids. Hard work and dedication is a learned behavior and is transferred from parent to child, as well. The fact that subsidized lunches at Pine View are only 1/4 the rate of other schools only validates that fact that Pine View parents are somewhat more successful than average. What's wrong with intelligent, hard working, and dedicated people being successful? Or would you have everyone, regardless of intelligence, effort, and focus, receive the same reward for their work? That sounds like idealistic socialism to me.
I see that you're an economics teacher at Sarasota High. Your "logic" sounds suspiciously like the idea that we should all be paid equally regardless of performance. I wonder if you've been hiding from the real world for so long that you've grown to disrespect the basic principles on which this nation was founded...namely that we all are free to achieve the most in life with our god given abilities and the benefits provided by loving and nurturing families. I feel sorry for anyone who has been denied these wonderful gifts but those who possess them should not be held back by others who would homogenize humanity into one big pool of dullness. I feel sorry for your students who learn your brand of socialist economic theory. They'll have to un-learn it the hard way when they finally come down from the the top of your ivory tower.
Bottom line, Sarasota should be proud of Pine View School. Pine View should be celebrated, not castigated. We are truly fortunate that farsighted educators and civic leaders established Pine View forty three years ago. Unfortunately, Dean Kalahar and his ilk represent the kind of weak minded thinking that has resulted in the decline of the American educational system.
- Lol, esne iratus, frater?
- Mr. Kalahar,
You're a teacher who likely has encountered (or even worked beside) many Pine View teachers at some point in your career. With this in mind, what are we to make of your dismissal of your colleagues' venue as a " semi-segregated elite public prep school"? As a teacher, you are expected to serve as a role model for our youth. How do you reconcile such condescension and bitterness towards your peers with this responsibility?
- I attended Pine View School for 11 years, from 1999-2010. I learned from and alongside an incredible number of truly brilliant people. Unfortunately, Dean Kalahar was not one of them, and his spiteful jealousy seems to be clouting his objective reporting. This is a biased and malformed article, obviously impacted by some form of personal distaste.
There is life after rejection from Pine View, Mr. Kalahar. Try to make the most of it.
- WOW ! After reading these eloquent responses from you Pine View students to the ludicrous article written by Mr. Kalahar, I find myself feeling even more fortunate than ever that my son is able to attend the same school you graduated from. Obviously he knows nothing about Pine View.
- If there is truly a higher percentage of "gifted" students in Sarasota it is quite possibly because people SEEK OUT Sarasota for its Pine View program. We moved here from the Northeast in the mid 1990s. Our son was already in a gifted program in our former state .It was natural for us to seek a similar environment for him in Florida, so we chose Sarasota and he applied to Pine View. He met all requirements and was accepted. He chose to remain through high school, because he thrived in the Pine View atmosphere.
At the time we moved to Sarasota, there were no gifted programs at individual schools. Several local schools, at all levels, now have gifted programs or international baccalaureate programs...what do you care who chooses those or Pine View? Have you run the same statistics for all the magnet schools in Sarasota? How about the MAST program at your school? How about the Visual and Performing Arts program at Booker?
Every few years someone decides to attack Pine View School...guess this is your year. It's odd to see this kind of article from a teacher within the Sarasota school system...makes me question your motives. Are you just showing us that as an economics teacher, you can manipulate statistics? Are you jealous of the teachers at Pine View? Want their students for your own?
I think we are fortunate that in Sarasota, there are many choices and opportunities for students to find their niche through magnet schools and choice. I suggest you direct your energy in another direction...instead of raising questions about the "gifted" factor at Pine View, why don't you work on making your high school more attractive to gifted students? Then your so called statistics will change and you can write again.
- I graduated from Pine View School this year and, prospectively, will be pursuing two degrees at Cornell University starting this fall. My first year at Pine View was in third grade and since then, the school has given me the resources to motivate me to participate in theater, to compose a short ballet, to study several foreign languages at school – Chinese and French – and independently – including, but not limited to, German, Dutch, Arabic, Spanish, and Latin – , to present an applied mathematics paper to professional mathematicians in Manhattan, and to understand environmental and urban issues to the extent of eventually having gone to speak in front of the Sarasota County Planning Commission.
These types of achievements are not unusual to myself. Rather, such a broad range of interests is typical of the student that remains at Pine View into high school. These interests are sustained entirely as a result of the presence of a friendly and supportive environment at the school. This is why we, as a collective student body, have been able to assemble such events as the 2011 Berlin Wall Simulation, when we literally put up a barrier across campus to simulate pre-reunification Berlin. This is why individuals have been able to have their student artwork displayed in the Capitol building, their mathematical skills honored at national competitions, and creative writing skills rewarded in scholarships.
As is evident, I am very grateful for the school and all the opportunities it has given me. Nonetheless, I shall do my best to approach your contentions fairly and objectively.
Sarasota County's higher percentage of students (5.2%) that meet the standard to enter the gifted program at Pine View may be explained through migration to the county because of this educational opportunity. One of my third-grade classmates and his brother moved to Sarasota County due to the school. There have even been instances of international students immigrating for the purpose of enrolling at Pine View – in fact, during my junior year, the ESE office called me in to translate over the telephone requests in Portuguese from a Brazilian mother who wanted to know the requirements to enroll her son in the school. Even locally, I have friends and acquaintances who moved in from neighboring Manatee and Charlotte counties in order to be eligible to attend the school, as holding Sarasota County residence is required.
I must also point out an error in your calculation of the number of gifted students in Sarasota County: 5.2% of 42,030 students yields (rounding up) 2186 students. If Pine View's enrollment is, as you provide, 2150 students, and assuming all of the students in the school were completely qualified to enter, then the data does not support the conclusion that Pine View has too many students. Pine View does, admittedly, have a majority of white/non-minority students, with the largest minority being Asians. However, this may be more of an indicator of broader sociological issues rather than an problem with the school's admissions system. After all, the four census-designated places and incorporated cities in Sarasota County with the greatest percentage of African-Americans (North Sarasota, City of Sarasota, City of North Port, and Kensington Park) all have median family incomes below the median for all of Sarasota County (Source: 2000 census). The correlation between income and education gaps is already well recognized as an important social policy issue, implying that the corresponding situation in Sarasota County is not necessarily unique (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/10/education/education-gap-grows-between-rich-and-poor-studies-show.html?pagewanted=all).
Unfortunately, you did not cite any sources for your claims of common disabilities and concerns gifted students experience. Regardless, listing psychological issues that may be encountered in gifted children does not support your thesis that Pine View may have become "Sarasota's semi-segregated elite public prep school for the not-all-gifted." However, for the sake of discussion, I shall treat these points as any other contention and reply to several individually.
As far as heightened emotional sensitivity, in "The Moral Judgement of Gifted Adolescents," Ashley Elizabeth Lewis, who taught applied educational psychology at the University of Minnesota, citing to an article in Roeper Review (17(2), 110-16), a Journal on Gifted Education, by Linda Kreger Silverman, Director of The Gifted Development Center, explains that "Gifted children have the potential for greater moral sensitivity [i.e., "gifted students' ability to deal with moral issues"] because they understand moral issues and the consequences of behavior earlier than their non-gifted peers." Thus, heightened emotional and psychological sensitivity is not necessarily a negative trait.
Misaligned development between motor skills and conceptual abilities, according to James T. Webb, Ph.D., a psychologist recognized for his work in gifted education, occurs "particularly in preschool gifted children" (Source: http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/siegle/TAG/Digests/e527.html) However, at the high school level, the achievement of Pine View's visual arts and drama students show entirely otherwise. The visual arts and fabrics students create exceptional detail in their works. The Drama Club has been able to put several difficult scenes into practice through clever mechanics and repetitive rehearsal of tricky scenes.
Apprehensiveness is not a universal characteristic of Pine View students. In 2011, the school's Moody's Mega Math Challenge (regional applied mathematics competition sponsored by The Moody's Foundation and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) team was put together by students who, mostly on a sudden whim of interest, agreed to spend fourteen hours of their first Saturday of spring break working on an applied mathematics problem. The team proceeded to win first place despite never having participated in the competition and very little preparation prior to the day of the competition.
Perfectionism as "unrealistically high expectations" does occur in certain occasions; in middle school, actually, one of my classmates was known as "the perfectionist." Yet setting such high expectations is what has led Pine View students to outdo themselves time and time again in generating remarkable creative products and solving difficult problems.
As far as self-esteem issues, anxiety, depression, and creativity, Pine View students have demonstrated that, if anything, they can overcome academic stress through creative work. According to a Torch article (The Torch is Pine View's student newspaper), open-air musicians explained how being able to play music in the school's central quadrangle after class was a way to reduce stress (Source: http://pineviewtorch.com/articles/2012-02-The_quad_was_alive_with_the_sound_of_music). The several processing disorders and spatial disorientation do not seem to be at all common among Pine View high school students, and if they do happen to be, the current state of affairs at the school suggests that these do not have any measurable negative effect in the achievements of the student population. If evidence suggests otherwise, however, please demonstrate it. As for dyslexia and attention deficits, I do know a handful of students that have been diagnosed with these, but their academic performance is not necessarily overly hindered by these characteristics.
In your penultimate two paragraphs, if I understand correctly, you criticize the IQ entrance requirement as an "arbitrary standard" that harms the original intention of the gifted program at Pine View. However, in speaking with a teacher that has been at the school since its early years, the standards set for entrance to Pine View created an internal environment where students were not bullied for being intelligent and performing well academically. Thus, as imperfect as an IQ marker may be, it has been responsible for the establishment of an institution that has served local gifted students exceptionally well and nurtured their potential to great success.
To address your final point, I reiterate that the racial composition of the school's population are more of a broader sociological problem rather than a problem with the school's method of admissions, and that, judging from their achievements and contributions, students at Pine View are truly gifted.
- Mr. Kalahar, when you were writing this, it seems that you got so caught up in the numbers that you failed to account for the human factor.
When I was young, I lived in California. The environment there was really bad (I had several bad asthma attacks throughout my time there) and the schools were even worse (One school principal even told my mother that she had "nurtured" my brother and me "too much" because she had taught us how to read, which somehow put us far ahead of all the other students academically).
In 2nd grade, my mom started homeschooling us because neither one of us were learning anything. Then, one day, she read a magazine article about Pine View. She did more research and found out that you had to score a 130 or higher on an intelligence test to get in. We had to pay for the test ourselves, but we passed.
It was at that point that my parents QUIT THEIR JOBS, LEFT THEIR FRIENDS BEHIND, AND MOVED ACROSS THE ENTIRE COUNTRY JUST TO LET MY BROTHER AND ME GO TO PINE VIEW. The simple fact that Pine View existed was what drove us here, and I know that one of the many friends I made at Pine View is probably saying the same thing in his comment right now.
You claim that Pine View is a "semi-segragated elite public prep school", but it is really a place where people like me, really smart people (and believe me, in my time there, I have seen dozens of students with IQs that are out of this world, probably near or above 160), can get the education they deserve. An education free of harassment from bullies, an education with many like-minded peers, an education that actually teaches them new things.
Yes, it may have odd student statistics, but it is still a school for the gifted. I have seen a few students get kicked out for not working hard enough, and they were among the star students at whichever high school they went to later.
In conclusion, don't act like you are "Mr. High and Mighty" or think that you are "exposing the cold hard facts to the people". All you are really doing is showing just how little you know about Pine View or any of the people there.
24 What are you doing on Christmas Eve?
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
26 Lights In Bloom
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
3 FREE 5K Fun Run
7:00 am - 8:00 am
3 Historical Trolley Tour
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sound of hope
The holiday season hasn’t officially started until our favorite bell ringers return to their posts.
Shoppers and residents were treated to some holiday harmonies by the Senior Friendship Centers’ group, the Second Wind Harmonica Players, in Downtown Sarasota.
Stepping up to the plate
The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County teamed up to bring the anti-bullying event Rachel’s Challenge to Sarasota Dec. 3.