Proposals won’t close book on gifted kids

Some see little change in picking top students
Amy Hetzner
Frustrated in her efforts over the years to have her son’s academic abilities recognized, Gina Villa-Grimsby finally asked the Oconto Falls School District to provide her with its criteria for identifying gifted students.
What she got was its policy on how to appeal decisions in such cases.
Soon after, she began home-schooling her 12-year-old son, Rodrigo. And, through networking with parents of other gifted children throughout the state, she learned that her situation was not unique.
“There are amazing gifted programs in some school districts and none in others,” Villa-Grimsby said. “There are amazing identification procedures and tests and programming in some school districts and not in others.”
Some proponents of gifted education in the state were hoping a change in state rules regarding how gifted students are identified would help address such complaints.
The change was ordered by a Dane County judge earlier this year, and public hearings on the state Department of Public Instruction’s proposed rule for the identification of gifted children are set for the week of Aug. 20.
But some parents and educators who have studied the DPI’s proposal wonder if the new rule, which instructs public schools to use “multiple measures” validated for identifying students in five areas of giftedness, is that different from the one found inadequate by the court.