Imagine if they had gifted students working alongside kids that were struggling. How brilliant for both of them! They would get so much out of it.
Althought that is certainly theoretically a good experience and a good idea - it is expressly discouraged in gifted legislature in terms of education, and in the light of research and the reality of that in practice.
There are a few reasons for this, the main one being that frequently, gifted people are not recognised as people in need of a specialised education plan, and as people who deserve to reach their potential and be challenged, just as any other student is. They are frequently seen as existing for a benefit to others, and to society at large, as opposed to them being people in their own right who deserve an education plan that suits them. They are often seen for WHAT they are as opposed to WHO they are. There is also a lot of research to show that underachievers do not benefit from this at all, as children and adults tend to gravitate toward those who are of similar ability. Someone highly intelligent is not seen as a role model at all by a slower child. There have been many instances of class management tactics employing gifted children in this way, hence why often they learn nothing at school.
There is of course nothing theoretically wrong with gifted people associating with kids of a lower intellectual ability, however when this becomes constant and forced, and when they are expected to help kids rather than having the opportunity to be themeselves challenged, then this is why problems happen and why it is not recommended. It is kind of like the idea that gifted kids don't need any extra help or work, when really, they are just bieng put into the "normal" cateogory and shown to succeed here. Their actual potential is beyond normal and so cannot be measured as by normal means or testing. They might reach normal levels, but they won't have learned a thing. There is often a really big emphasis on forcing gifted kids to associate with age peers, when they would be much better off associating with intellectual peers as well as age peers, as with any person who would benefit from socialising with various different groups of people.
This issue is one of the misconceptions that exist surrounding giftedness and gifted education and needs, kind of like in the way people assume that homeschooled children lack socialisation. In that way, I mean that it is a natural and innocent assumption but nonetheless not backed by any research or truth. And it is a problem that heaps of gifted students have, because teachers are not given training and are not equipped to deal with such varying degrees of ability in a normal classroom.
I probably won't come back on here if there are any questions about this, but if anyone is interested in this idea, then there is a lot of information available online, and especially within the online gifted community smile