Child prodigies take us to the heart of a central conflict in democratic education: Should we focus our national energies on equality—raising everyone to a level—or on elevating the best to their potential? Ideally, we might do both, and we try to, even in the face of limited resources. But even if resources were unlimited, the tension between these two ends would persist: The very existence of outstanding genius sabotages the search for a satisfactory “level” to which everyone else might be brought.
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Reprinted from The Hedgehog Review 20.3
(Fall 2018). This essay may not be resold, reprinted,
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