New Glarus parent and Madison attorney Todd Palmer has filed a lawsuit against the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and DPI Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster for their failure to promulgate rules for the identification and appropriate education of Wisconsin’s 51,000 academically gifted students, as is required by Wisconsin state law. Here is the press release; a link to the lawsuit itself may be found at the end.
Todd will be joining us for the beginning portion of our Madison United for Academic Excellence meeting on Thursday, March 23, at 7:00 p.m. in Room 209 of the Doyle Administration Building. We will also be discussing the INSTEP process and the District’s new TAG education plan, currently under development. Come share your experiences and offer your input. All who care about rigorous curriculum and high educational standards are welcome.
CONCERNED PARENT FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION CONCERNING GIFTED AND TALENTED EDUCATION
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2006
On March 2, 2006, a lawsuit was filed in Dane County Circuit Court against the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster. The lawsuit challenges DPI’s failure to promulgate rules to govern public school districts in educating pupils identified as gifted and talented.
At present, DPI estimates that there are over 51,000 Wisconsin school children enrolled in Wisconsin’s public schools who are gifted and qualify for special educational programs. However, Wisconsin lacks a comprehensive, objective and clearly defined set of rules to ensure that all 426 school districts in our state meet the needs of these students. A recent Legislative Audit Bureau investigation demonstrated that in the absence of these rules, the needs of these gifted and talented students are not being met. According to DPI, this problem is only getting worse.
DPI has acknowledged that, “Wisconsin state law requires school districts to establish programs for these pupils, but the fiscal pressures facing many school districts has led a growing number of them to severely curtail or eliminate these programs.” DPI has acknowledged that gifted students are the most underserved pupils in public schools and that “too often, these pupils are ignored, restricted or underachieving and, if not part of the typical dropout statistics, have become in-school dropouts.”
On November 29, 2005, approximately 200 parents filed a Petition with DPI asking that DPIcreate rules to ensure that the educational needs of gifted children are being met. By letter dated February 1, 2006, DPI refused to issue those rules. The March 2, 2006 lawsuit challenges DPI’s denial of that Petition and asks the Court to order that DPI create these rules that are required by state law.
According to Todd Palmer, a parent and the attorney who filed the lawsuit, “Many school districts simply ignore the needs of gifted and talented students because adequate rules are not in place to define appropriate programs for these children and to ensure those requirements are enforced.”
According to Palmer, “Recent surveys show that 60% of the Wisconsin school districts plan to cut or altogether eliminate their talented and gifted programs despite the statutory mandate that requires these programs to be offered to students.” He believes this state’s problem is exacerbated by a lack of federal funding for gifted education, “recent estimates predict that only 3/10 of a penny per $100 spent on education in this country is devoted to gifted children.”
DeWitt Ross & Stevens S.C.
Link to Todd’s lawsuit: http://tagparents.org/documents/DPIsuit.pdf
Link to the DPI Gifted Education home page: http://dpi.wi.gov/cal/gifted.html