The Needs of the Highly Able and the Needs of Society
Does gifted education affect societal inequality, and does societal inequality suppress and/or distort the development of high ability? Drawing from several academic disciplines and current political discourse a differentiated use of terms used to describe the highly able is explored. A social evolutionary framework is proposed as an explanation for such differentiation, which also sheds light on the questions of inequality, suppression and distortion in relation to high ability. It is suggested that this differentiated use is prompted and defined by societal function rather than by current theories of high ability. The result of employing a social evolutionary perspective is that high ability as giftedness becomes largely dysfunctional, while high ability as talent becomes more utilitarian and much in demand. The article concludes with a brief discussion on the possible future of gifted education in this light.