This term was invented by Ciro Santilli, and similar ideas certainly already exists with different names by other people. As the name suggests, it basically involves combining free education and gifted education, but with other more specific aspects crammed in that would make a precise name too long to read, as descried below.
As mentioned at pick few good bets and invest enough on thems, these do not need to be given to all students: what we have to do is to ensure that the top N-percent of the best students will get in, and that none of them will pay. Where N is as large as the budget society decides to put into this project, the larger the better. Therefore, perhaps "gifted education" is not the ideal name for this idea, as it generally implies very small N (1%?), while this project hopes for larger N, maybe 10%. But a minimal level of quality must be attained, it is pointless to dissolve the resources too much, if we only have enough for 1%, then so be it, start with 1%.
These institutions must start from the very first school year, and go all the way up through K-12 to the end of university. It is useless to start at university-level only otherwise only the rich students will have a chance of getting in, like Ciro Santilli saw in Brazil at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo in the late 2000's: one day all students were gathered in the amphitheater, and they asked the students who had only gone through free government K-12 schools to raise their hands. Those were notably worse than the corresponding private schools, and the situation is inverted in university, where the best schools are the government ones. Out of about 500 people, at most 10 raised their hands!
These institutions should not have affirmative action entry quotas, including most importantly at the university level. Both rich and poor should be able to apply. Passing the selection criteria is all that matters. We just must ensure that the schools are widely advertised amongst disadvantaged communities, so that they will at least get their children to try to apply from an early age. This way, even if the rich always have an advantage due to better overall conditions, the poor are so much more numerous that the majority of students accepted will still be poor.
The school should follow the basic principles of how to teach, notably:
- students must have a flexible choice of what to learn. There will be no classes, all learning will happen either OurBigBook.com or on 1-to-1 meeting with tutors, or in discussions with fellow students.The term "gifted education" might suggest elitism, but Ciro Santilli strongly believes that different people have different skills, and that if everyone could focus on whatever it is that they want to do in life, be it engineering or the arts, rather than just pass a bunch of useless exam, then having the 10% "best" of each interest group would already cover a huge percentage of the population.
- Through it, students will be helped to directly achieve their greater life goals.There will be no teachers: each student will be assigned senior advisors, and together they will come with an individualized research proposal or business plan.There will be no useless mandatory institutional exams. Exams only need to be taken if a given advisor requires it to filter candidate students. But if you manage to impress them through other means, they can just accept you without the exam.
- group students by interest, not by age
These schools must pay mentors as much as the average good non-free schools so you actually get comparably good teachers. Mentor selection would also be highly competitive, just as that of the students.
Once admitted, students will have guaranteed access to the school resources for a few years. This way, they won't need to worry about passing useless exams every three months.
All that matters is that they are progressing in their development plan. Rather than exams, students will do regular progress report sessions with their advisors, and will get periodic reviews from other advisors with similar interests.
More precisely, for students whose parents don't live near the school. Or alternatively, online-only courses that offer the same diploma as the presential version. Or a compromise where the best N% students get accomodation, where N is a parameter of how decent your society is overall.
Since all the learning resources will be available online on OurBigBook.com, or through online 1-to-1 chats with mentors, it might be cheaper for students to work either from their parent's homes if their home has reasonable work conditions: a silent room with reasonable Internet access and no drug addicts in the house.
Alternatively, a public local library with free WiFi would do as well. But there would need to be a strict silence policy enforced, unlike most public libraries we see today. Ciro once saw a bird shaped noise detector that would sing if the noise went above a certain threshold, that was a good idea. Just like linting, it is easier to let machines decide deterministically on subjective questions to reduce useless arguments over who is right. Ciro has even seen libraries where the local council uses the same library open space as a citizen councelling area. What's the fucking point... these people have never done any deep work in their lives.
Then the state only needs to pay transportation and temporary accommodation to attend concentrated month-long laboratory workshop courses and week-long conferences, since the only reason for universities to exist should be the laboratories. In cases where the home conditions are not good enough, the state can either pay for on-demand WeWork-like offices near the student's home, of for a full on-campus accommodation as in a boarding school. What is indispensable is that all students who pass the entry criteria must have such working conditions. Students who stay home can also earn a scholarship to help pay for their rent, food and Internet access.
Anything else is just incredibly unfair to the poor. Ciro Santilli has already witnessed two cases, in developed, and under-developed countries, where very high potential poorer students were forced to work to support themselves in parallel to a demanding degree because their parents couldn't pay their rent on a different city, and the students mental health issues due to this. In one of those cases the student had to abandon the course altogether.
It doesn't help that school has become a pure student-evaluation system, which basically implies putting studets through a lot of useless pressure.
One of the stories that Ciro Santilli's father tells is about how when they were dating, one of Ciro Santilli's mother's greatest wish for her hypotetical child would be that "they should not need to work during their studies as she had". As destiny would have it, Ciro Santilli's family had good conditions and Ciro never thought even once about money. And even then, school still sucked. Imagine without that basic, mandatory, stability!