The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


February 5, 2009

Alumni: Closing of Governor's Schools costly for students


For more than 20 years, he has explored, researched and developed frameworks for the counseling, psychotherapy, underachievement and identity formation of gifted and talented individuals, making him a nationally recognized speaker and practitioner in this specialty area.

"We know ... when gifted children don't get what they need (differentiated service), they don't flourish," Mahoney said.

Claudia Ebeling, coordinator of public information systems for the Pennsylvania Governor's Schools of Excellence, said the program strives to provide students of exceptional talent the education they need through sustained inquiry, meaning there are no class bells.

"A day in a governor's school begins at 7 a.m. with breakfast and then you move on to your class and you're going until curfew," Ebeling said.

Elimination of the Governor's Schools of Excellence, a flagship program that led to the development of other, similar programs throughout the country, is contrary to the common refrain heard from so many politicians, Mahoney said.

"We talk on one hand about our best and our brightest' and we certainly like to prostitute their abilities, but when it comes down to providing the differentiated service they need, we talk a different walk," Mahoney said. "Human capital has to be developed early on if we want to maximize its potential."

The Pennsylvania Governor's Schools of Excellence count more than 18,000 alumni, including actor Kevin Bacon, class of 1974, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, class of 1975, and Alice Seebold, class of 1979, author of the critically acclaimed novel, "The Lovely Bones."

"What the governor's school does is it gives kids an opportunity to just learn with master teachers and just find their way in their lives and build the blocks they need to have the courage and skills and knowledge to go as far as possible," Ebeling said. "They learn to dream big at governor's school."

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