>Perhaps this point about parents shows that democracy makes what you >talk about impossible without the mechanism of a legal mandate under >which you as a parent of a gifted child could easily sue if a >degradation you think is bad for your child happens in these special >classes (just as it is for the parents of children in those special >classes for the opposite end of the giftedness spectrum)?
My apologies if I am not reading your response correctly but why would one expect a degradation in such classes? That degradation occurs because of inappropriate assumptions of inability and lack of appropriate direct instruction and more routine practice than regular students need to achieve comparable level of competence but at an appropriate pace for the child. It would seem as if the analogy would be to pace the classes too fast (which I do not believe would be the case) and an assumption of too great of an assumption of an ability to discover that which it took geniuses centuries - even millennia - to discover (which probably would be the case). "Mainstreaming" to an outrageous level - instead of running those lower courses appropriately - degrades the education of the masses as well as those at the high-end who deserve to be appropriately taught and challenged by their peers instead of, at best, being used by them to be taught what should've been taught in the classes themselves.
Much easier than special classes, however, is simple advancement of students who can handle the material at a faster pace and easily fill in any needed missing pieces. Of course, the misconception of democracy requires mainstreaming (i.e., holding back to inevitable boredom) them as well.