The demise of a cultural asset: the unactualized potential of gifted and talented students in America

America is witnessing the demise of its most valuable cultural asset, the potential of its children. American's are noting daily, across the country, in newspapers, news programs and television shows, that children are underachieving in overwhelming and shocking records. This is especially true amongst the population of students identified as Gifted and Talented. With only two cents of every one hundred dollars spent on education, Gifted and Talented Education is hugely under funded! Furthermore, the absence of federal legislation to guide it means public education service for these students is riddled with inconsistencies and, in some cases, nonexistent. This paper provides a review of literature and data that examines what experts, advocates, families and students themselves, have to say about the causes of underachievement and unactualized potential of this population. As well, this paper offers some solutions and recommendations for change. Key Words: Gifted and Talented Education, underachievement, educational supports and services, Individualized Education Plan, No Child Left Behind Act