Gifted Students and Equity Discussion

Eduwonk posts a variety of responses to Susan Goodkin’s OP-ED on gifted children and No Child Left Behind:

Not surprisingly, with the entire curriculum geared to ensuring that every last child reaches grade-level proficiency, there is precious little attention paid to the many children who master the standards early in the year and are ready to move on to more challenging work. What are these children supposed to do while their teachers struggle to help the lowest-performing students? Rather than acknowledging the need to provide a more advanced curriculum for high-ability children, some schools mask the problem by dishonestly grading students as below proficiency until the final report card, regardless of their actual performance.


As a matter of pure politics, how can you expect to retain public support for a school reform regime that short-changes high-achieving students, whose parents, whether rich or poor, are likely to be more politically engaged and influential than the parents of low-performing students?

2 thoughts on “Gifted Students and Equity Discussion”

  1. Here is another relevant link, to a page on the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) website. The page is entitled “Why We Should Advocate for Gifted and Talented Students.”
    I think it’s important to know where the education money is going, when one speaks to these issues. It’s really quite sobering to learn the truth and should put anyone who feels guilty about advocating for the needs of really bright kids at ease. Remember, the bright kids who suffer the most as a result of the lack of dollars and appropriate curriculum are the ones whose parents cannot provide for them when the schools fail to.
    By the way, in case you didn’t know, gifted programming is mandated in the state of Wisconsin. It’s just not funded. Not only that, but for well over a decade, there hasn’t been a g/t consultant on the staff of DPI, no one to oversee the delivery of services and monitor districts’ compliance with the State statutes. (BTW, it is estimated that there are 51,000 gifted and talented students in Wisconsin.)
    What about the MMSD? Well, the MMSD has been out of compliance with Wisconsin state statutes for gifted education since 1990. (Yes, 1990. That’s not a typo.)
    Anyway, here is the excerpt from the NAGC website:
    Gifted Education Programs Require Funding
    Although gifted education programs and services yield increased learning gains for high-ability students, gifted education funding at the state and local levels ebbs and flows with the economy. 17 states allocated no state funds for gifted programs in 2002.
    In 2005, .00029% of the federal K-12 education budget goes to gifted and talented students.
    By comparison, 3% of the federal K-12 education budget goes to the Reading First Program, 2% to Drug Prevention, and 2% to English Language Acquisition. 57% covers the rest of the programs in the No Child Left Behind Act, and 31% is dedicated to children with disabilities through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). (Note: although some states classify gifted students without disabilities in the “special education” category, federal funds from IDEA does not support these programs.)
    When looking at the federal K-12 budget for FY 2005 in smaller increments, the Javits program, the only federally funded gifted education initiative, receives three cents out of every $100 spent on education. In contrast, Reading First gets $3.50, English Language Acquisition gets $1.80, all other No Child Left Behind programs (in aggregate) receive $57.75, and IDEA programs receive $31.10.

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