How did we get here? Why the attack on gifted education funding at both the federal and state(s) level simultaneously? The focus on excellence always seems to sharpen when state and federal budget proposals are released, but this year has seemed daunting with cuts proposed at all levels; affecting research and education initiatives. The framing of the discussion to fund gifted education inevitably turns on informing the public about current funding or the lack thereof. Gifted education has strong public support and their voice needs to be heard.
‘Anti-intellectualism’ may play a role in eroding excellence in education. It seems counter-intuitive that anyone would oppose excellence in education; but, here we are. Confusing equality with equity muddies the waters. Eliminating programs to level the playing field doesn’t make sense. Equating intellectualism with elitism is a false equivalence. Providing all children with what they need to succeed should be the goal of education.
Standardized testing brought with it ‘standards’ … and a race to mediocrity. As a majority of resources are focused on ensuring all students reach proficiency; the potential of advanced students remains stagnant or is slipping away. The amount of time devoted to test prep in the school year directly affects instructional time and reduces the quality of education across the board.
How do we extend the search for excellence in minority and low income populations? Identification that is sensitive to cultural and linguistic needs of specific populations and applied school-wide is a first step to providing appropriate educational opportunities for GT students. Cultural sensitivity in the search, availability of programs, professional development to counter bias, and community engagement are all ways to extend equitable solutions in gifted education.
‘Educational excellence’ can have a profound effect on our economy. The advantages of having a well-educated work force go without question. Employers who do not have to provide additional training or even remedial training will have lower costs and be able to devote resources to research and development. Countries who place importance on striving for excellence in the education of their children are our competitors of the future. Well educated citizens spark innovation and technological advances which drive our economy.
Where do we go from here? Is there a path forward for bridging the excellence gap in education? Academic and tech competitions are good at identifying and motivating talented youth. We must find a way to institutionalize the effects of these efforts; to incorporate them in our educational systems. Federal funding of research dedicated to gifted and talented education potentially creates educational environments that nurture creativity, encourage academic excellence, and prepare students to meet the challenges of the future. A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.
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 1PM NZST/11 AM 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 Wakelet. 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: email@example.com
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad
This week’s Global #gtchat welcomed Dr. Donna Y. Ford of Vanderbilt University to chat about Multicultural Gifted Education, a topic of which Dr. Ford has been raising awareness for nearly 20 years. Please see our recent interview here.
For many of the participants from 20 states and 6 countries, the information provided by Dr. Ford proved to be a real education! When asked about the role culture plays in participation in gifted programs, Dr. Ford explained, “Culture always matters. Educators and policies are harmful if colorblind – results in under-representation. Culture matters when making ALL decisions & selecting measures/instruments for ID and services. Culture matters when making ALL decisions & selecting measures/instruments for screening. Policies and procedures must consider culture to not be racist and discriminatory. When the culture of non-White students is addressed, White privilege is also addressed. And equity improves.” A full transcript may be found on our Storify site.
“Culturally Diverse Gifted Students” Livebinder
“Multicultural Gifted Education” from Dr. Donna Y. Ford
Dr. Donna Y. Ford Bio
Dr. Ford’s Website
Closing the Achievement Gap: Donna Ford (YouTube)
Intelligence Testing & Cultural Diversity: Concerns, Cautions & Considerations by Dr. Donna Y. Ford
Cybraryman’s Culture Page
Cybraryman’s Multicultural Celebration Page
Cybraryman’s Poverty Page
Cybraryman’s You Matter Page