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No Federal Mandate for Gifted Education since 2011

via Education Week

Currently, there is no federal requirement that schools offer gifted services for students and no dollars allocated to states to provide them. The Jacob K. Javits federal grant program, which provided $7.4 million annually in grants for gifted education research and for efforts to serve under-represented populations, was cancelled in 2011.

Sixth grader Raymond Dai works on a robotics computer program at the Challenge School in Denver.
—Nathan W. Armes for Education Week

Program support also varies greatly from state to state and district to district. According to research from the Washington-based National Association for Gifted Children, 14 of the 43 states it surveyed provided no funding for gifted education in 2012-13, and six states cut funding for gifted education between the 2009-10 and 2012-13 school years. While 32 states mandated some level of gifted services, only four fully funded the mandate, while eight were unfunded.

The situation gets even more complicated at the district level, said Nancy Green, the association’s executive director. Most localities decide independently how to determine giftedness and what services to provide for students deemed gifted. Parents often must press education leaders to test their children for giftedness, provide enrichment opportunities and pull-out programs for gifted students, and offer professional development for teachers in gifted education, she added.

“Parents too often find that many schools are not willing to make even the most basic changes in a child’s curriculum that could make a major difference for a gifted and talented student,” Ms. Green said. “Parents can [then] find themselves advocating at many levels—in their child’s school, at the district level, and sometimes even with state legislators, as they make the cases for services.”

‘The Black Eye’

Low-income and minority parents have been pushed to advocacy because of their children’s underrepresentation in gifted education programs, as shown in national enrollment figures.

As of 2012, white and Asian students made up nearly three-fourths of students enrolled in gifted and talented programs in the U.S., disproportionate to their total student enrollment percentage, according to the U.S Department of Education. Latino and black students, by contrast, made up 16 percent and 10 percent, respectively, of those enrolled in gifted programs nationally, while they in turn represented 25 percent and 19 percent of the student population, respectively.

What do you think?  Do you have a gifted child that is currently receiving services?  Not receiving services?  Does the outlook look better or worse for gifted education in your district?

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