For the third consecutive year, Apple tops the list of most innovative companies.
Fostering Bright Minds
America's ability to compete in a global economy may depend on whether the nation continues to neglect its highest potential students.
By 2020, there will be 124 million jobs requiring higher skills and only 50 million qualified Americans to do those jobs, says author Edward E. Gordon in Winning the Global Talent Showdown.
America's academically gifted learners are critical thinkers and creative problem solvers -- exactly the skills our next generation of workers will require to succeed, according to the recent report "Future Work Skills 2020," from the University of Phoenix Research Institute.
Yet a decade of national education reform has focused too narrowly on helping struggling children meet proficiency, while neglecting the growth of the country's most advanced learners, according to the National Association of Gifted Children (NAGC), which held its annual conference in Denver this month.
As important as it is to raise the bar for struggling students, America must also raise the ceiling for its three million academically gifted learners.
The NAGC's new report, "Unlocking Emerging Talent," challenges the nation "to move beyond its near singular focus of achieving minimum performance" and start identifying and developing the talent of its high potential students.
The group said that a common fallacy in education is that "gifted children will do just fine" if left alone. The reality is that many high potential learners who remain unchallenged in the classroom will find their academic growth stagnate.
Between 2000 and 2007, the lowest 10% of American students made rapid gains in reading and math, while the performance of the top 10% of students stayed flat, said the NAGC report. In 2011, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) similarly found that science scores jumped for all students - except for the highest achievers.
"How much human potential is our society failing to realize?" asked Chester Finn, President of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, who spoke at the NAGC conference. "How much are we squandering?"
Without resources or attention in classrooms, high potential students can actually regress and lose their intellectual talents. As much as 48% of students scoring in the top 10% of reading or math tests will lose that ranking as they continue school, said the NAGC report.
The best way to invest in the future of American innovation, according to the NAGC, is to invest in the growth of the country's brightest learners.