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Anti-Intellectualism

The history of gifted education in the United States reveals that gifted education has been, and remains, a contentious issue in education. There are many possible explanations for this history, such as competition for limited resources with other areas of education; difficulty in determining (identifying) who is gifted; and/or fears of elitism, racism, and classism. Each reason has some merit and certainly contributes to the debate regarding the place of gifted education in the U.S. educational system. However, another reason explains more profoundly the controversial history of gifted education: anti-intellectualism.

Richard Hofstadter wrote a highly acclaimed book titled Anti-Intellectualism in American Life that won the 1964 Pulitzer Prize in nonfiction. Hofstadter defined anti-intellectualism as “a resentment and suspicion of the life of the mind and those ...

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