2014 – 2015 State of the States in Gifted Education
In collaboration with the National Association for Gifted Children, Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented debuted the new 2014 – 2015 State of the States (SOS) of Gifted Education report found here (pdf); an extensive review of gifted education policy in the U.S. Our guest was René Islas, Executive Director of the NAGC. We were also pleased to have Dr. George Betts, president of the NAGC, and many of the Board of Directors join us as well.
In a press release, the NAGC characterized the findings of the SOS report as, “Despite some modest gains in how states serve high-ability students and fund such programs, a new report shows that a lack of transparency and consistency in laws, policies, and funding to support these students with extraordinary gifts and talents continue to vary sharply among the states.” Furthermore, “28 states lack even a single gifted education performance indicator on their annual report cards or other accountability measure. 19 states fail to monitor local district programs in this area, 16 do not require districts to submit reports and only 11 produce an annual report on the performance of these students.” Perhaps the most stunning fact to be revealed by the report was, “Only 1 state (Nevada) statutorily requires all teachers to receive training in gifted and talented education through a separate course before beginning their classroom service.”
“We need to change this reality by requiring states and districts to report on the key indicators of our high-achieving students, just as we have long required similar reporting for those students on the lower end of the achievement spectrum,” said Dr. George Betts, President of the NAGC Board.
The need for such a report is obvious to those in the gifted community. As Michelle Swain, School Administrator in Texas and NAGC Board Member, pointed out, “We can replicate best practices when we see them successfully implemented in other states. Why reinvent the wheel?” Dr. Brian Housand, Associate Professor and NAGC Board Member, positioned the report as a means for collaboration, “Gifted educators should not live in silos. We have to find ways to collaborate across states and around the world.”
The State of the States report includes data on policies, funding, practice, and participation in gifted programs. It also gives details on state policies that can be used to check school district’s practices which affect gifted students including teacher training requirements, funding, and accountability. This valuable information can make all the difference when advocating for gifted students. For this reason as Dr. Joy Davis, Associate Professor and NAGC Board Member, said, “Wide distribution of the report is imperative.” Dr. Jonathan Plucker, Professor and NAGC Board Member, added, “We need to identify ways to help advocates in each state as they work to expand and improve services.”
Tracy Weinberg of TAGT pointed out, “TAGT has made progress in Texas, reinstating some accountability for gifted services that is reported publicly. [However, it is] important to note that while services are mandated, there are over 1000 school districts in Texas, so services can vary widely.”
Although progress has been slow, many expressed the belief that gifted education is headed in the right direction and initiatives such as the State of the States report from the NAGC are helping to drive the change. Rene Islas shared, “One very positive change is that the state of Washington has adopted a mandate to identify and serve gifted students.” Dr. Brian Housand summed it up, “There’s no shortage of work to be done in gifted education. We must stay committed to serving gifted kids 24/7; get and stay involved.” A transcript of the chat may be found at Storify.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7E/6C/5M/4P in the U.S., Midnight in the UK and Saturdays 13.00 NZDT/11.00 AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graphics courtesy of Lisa Conrad and the NAGC.
Posted on November 18, 2015, in Advocacy, Education, gifted, gifted and talented, gifted education, Gifted Organizations and tagged Dr George Betts, education policy, gtchat, NAGC, Rene Islas, State of the States of Gifted Education, TAGT, Twitter. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.