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LETTER TO EDITOR: Give to the gifted

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Col. Buzz Aldrin's article, "The moon for all mankind" (Opinion, Monday), correctly identified the resolve that Americans must have in order to return to a comprehensive space program. Mr. Aldrin and Neil Armstrong standing on the moon represented success sought and achieved through inspiration, energy, resources and investment in our most talented minds.

However, Mr. Aldrin's point that we must regain our global space leadership indicates another and even greater problem: America has stopped investing in its greatest minds. The United States spends next to nothing annually in gifted education -- less than 3 cents of every $100 in federal education funding. Most states are nearly as bad. Few require specialized instruction for gifted students or training for their teachers. Even fewer provide dedicated monetary resources to school districts for programs and services for our brightest and most creative young minds.

As we reassess U.S. space policy and look ahead to potential international space programs, we cannot afford to forget that it is our gifted and talented children who will become the next space explorers and international alliance brokers. We must give them the tools today that they will need tomorrow to advance humanity throughout the universe.

NANCY GREEN

Executive director

National Association for Gifted Children

Washington

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