In the current state of educational funding, gifted programs are often the first to be cut or at least curtailed. With that in mind, this week’s chat considered ways to continue programs using creative sources of funding. It was reasoned that if schools were providing funds for other programs such as special education and sports, gifted education should be supported as well.
In the U.S., gifted education does not benefit from a national policy that includes funding but must rely on state governments to mandate and or fund programs for gifted students. Few states both mandate and fund programs while others designate unfunded mandates placing funding decisions on local school districts.
Chat participants were asked if gifted students should have to pay for extra activities such as academic competitions, field trips, etc. It was believed that when activities are substituted – designated – for gifted programming; ie, using Odyssey of the Mind as their gifted program (a regular in-school class); gifted students absolutely should not have to pay for these activities. When activities provided to all students in a school by an outside organization such as the PTA funding field trips, gifted students should not be required to pay for these activities.
The role of gifted organizations in influencing state budgets was then discussed. Their role is often caught in a ‘catch 22’ situation. States that fund gifted education have stronger state gifted organizations which in turn can have greater influence over state budgets. Most state organizations serve as advocates for funding. Larger organizations may have paid liaisons who work with state officials to secure funding.
What programming strategies are most cost-effective in gifted education? By far, acceleration leads in providing appropriate challenge and enrichment for the least cost to school districts. Early in and early out strategies which are types of acceleration are extremely cost-efficient.
Technology use can certainly help gifted education budgets, but tech cannot replace gifted programming as the sole source of education for gifted students. Even with gifted students, good tech is enhanced with qualified facilitators. Technology can fill both a personnel need and provide cost-effective measures in rural school districts that may not be able to afford highly-qualified educators for smaller populations of gifted students. Moreover, it can help gifted students to connect and collaborate with intellectual-peers in far-ranging geographical locations.
There are economic benefits to schools if they address the needs of gifted students. It was pointed out to the moderator years ago by a school board member that the less time a student spends in school (K-12) the more the district saves in educating that individual. Empowering students to achieve academic and personal goals will reap economic benefits to the local community when they become productive contributors and taxpayers to the local region. A transcript of this 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 Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK 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 and 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
Rural Gifted Education and the Effect of Proximity (Abstract only)
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.