Geography determines giftedness?
In 2008-2009 the State of the States report identified a gap in support for our gifted and talented students. In a society where colossal amounts of funding are given toward the development of our gifted athletes, it is shocking to see the neglect of our academically gifted continue. The lack of commitment to our gifted and talented students will “leave our nation ill-prepared to field the next generation of innovators and to compete in the global economy.” Two cents of every $100 federal dollars goes toward support of gifted in K-12 education. Many states provide funding for gifted at the state level; however twenty-six percent of states provide no funding for gifted education. Now with more budget cuts pending, even states with financial support for gifted programs are potentially going to see a decrease in funding. Your child’s gifted education is based on your geographic location. It shouldn’t be.
As a teacher in a gifted program, I can only provide parents with the information for the state regulations that determine the “gifted” for my district. It is baffling to many parents how their child was “gifted” in State A
Most “gifted” students spend the majority of their class time in a regular education class. Thirty-six states require no training in the nature and needs of the gifted child for regular education teachers. Meeting the needs of a diverse group of students is challenging for the classroom teacher. However, many teachers often survive by teaching to the middle and finding ways to help those most in need. It is our gifted and talented population who are being most neglected. Teachers trying to manage a heterogeneous group of students may use the gifted students as teacher aids. These students help teach their classmates when they finish an assignment early. Gifted students should not be teacher aids. Gifted students deserve to be taught new information! Many times these gifted students become the students who run errands for the teacher. Can anyone justify using our most academically talented as the school “runner”?
There is a huge need for a national gifted education policy. It needs to be comprehensive and include accountability. Gifted students deserve to be taught. Local, state, and federal officials need to combine efforts to make sure our gifted and talented students are served by teachers who are prepared to meet their academic needs. Meeting the needs of these students in our educational system now will surely serve as a profitable choice for our nation’s future!
Source: National Association for Gifted Children
By Kristie Brown for www.sixtysecondparent.com
Kristie presently teaches in two elementary schools in a Gifted Program referred to as “Challenge” working with third through fifth graders