"In every Tasmanian classroom (we can insert any State here), there are on average two or three gifted children, but we’re letting them down. The result being that thousands of gifted kids are not being identified, not being given the opportunities they need and not being allowed to reach their potential.
Deputy speaker, this country can afford to support all students with special needs, not just those with learning difficulties. So it’s deeply troubling that achieving potential is too often the preserve of the rich and vocal, or that so many gifted kids go unrecognised or that so many parents have to fight to have their child assessed only to then wait a year to see a school psychologist.
Frankly we need a system redesigned, because teachers must be trained to identify and cater for gifted children. Schools need to be better resourced, and there needs to be a shift in mindset. This is not about benefitting an elite group of students but rather understanding that gifted children have special learning needs and failing to meet them can lead to boredom, disengagement and underachievement. Remember, bright kids don’t do well no matter what.
In other words deputy speaker, we’re letting some of our most brilliant minds go to waste, and that’s unfair, counterproductive and sometimes downright cruel."
Independent Andrew Wilkie's speech to Federal Parliament yesterday.