1)Well of course the average students will catch up if no one is teaching the advanced students! I am sort of sickened by the fact that people are ok with that as a statistic.
2) in first and second grade it is an in classroom program.
"is an activity based enrichment program that is integrated into each K1 classroom throughout the district. Teachers use enrichment kits that build upon the grade level curricula and provide differentiated learning activities to further challenge students higher order thinking skills. Students, who are identified by their classroom teachers as having specific areas of interests or needed challenges, are provided with opportunities within the regular classroom to further develop these observed strengths."
I totally share your frustration. As far as #1, so much attention is put on "leaving no child behind" in public school that no one seems to care about meeting the needs of kids who are above grade level. And I hate when people seem to imply that it's not that my kids are smarter than normal; it's just that I've somehow tried to game the system by "pushing" them ahead, and that it's somehow proper that they finally be slowed down once they get to school. Groan!
My school district also has a fairly nonchalant attitude about giftedness in primary grades. I have found that the old "activity based enrichment program" really means "if the teacher gets around to creating enriching activities, your kid will get to do some of these, but this probably won't happen since it's low on the teacher's extensive list of priorities."
My DD has a late birthday. Also, like you say, she wasn't ready for 1st grade math. And although she could make all her letters, her ability to write wasn't up to 1st grade speed either. She wasn't really a candidate for skipping to 1st grade, although she read at a high 3rd grade level when tested at the start of K. During K and 1st, although she basically learned nothing in language arts, school was very worthwhile. She did grow socially/emotionally, and her math and writing skills more or less caught up to her reading/thinking skills. Then it wasn't so bad, because our magnet program starts in grade 4, and she had that to look forward to through 2nd and 3rd grades.
DH and I have always said that, although our kids attend public school, they are mostly home-schooled. We don't do worksheets or formal activities with them, but we both take every chance we can to live by the rule of A.B.T. -- always be teaching.
Hang in there!