Closing the Excellence Gap

I was reading some of the findings of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and to be honest, I wasn’t surprised by the outcomes of their findings. No State is doing enough for our gifted students. among those students who are not performing enough are gifted students who are minorities and urban low socio-economic students.

For the life of me I don’t understand how we can have such financial support through federal laws that dictates how special education students are identified and serviced, BUT we don’t do the same for those students who are gifted. These students, regardless of socio-economic status, need to have the same right to be financially and lawfully supported in identification and service. I know many people have this idea that if you are gifted then you should be able to learn on your own, or being gifted is an entitlement. That’s not always true. These students need to be challenged, supported, and encouraged just as much as other students regardless of educational ability.

In the field of Gifted Education we some great foundations, organizations, schools, and advocates that help to propel the fight forward. They work tirelessly with legislators, subcommittee, and other advocates to help make laws and shape the funding war. I applaud you. I support you. I also understand you also need help to get us beyond where we are today.

According to Ed Weekly, Among the foundation’s recommendations:

  • Make high-performing students highly visible;
  • Remove barriers to acceleration for advanced students;
  • Ensure access to advanced educational services; and,
  • Hold local education agencies accountable for serving gifted students from all economic backgrounds.

I agree with the Washington Post article that says there are some common issues that many educators and gifted advocates can agree on such as these:

●They want to see stronger talent pipelines so that more low-income and minority students are emerging from middle school ready for advanced high school work.

●They want to have better entrance exams to determine which middle-school students have the potential to excel.

●And they want to build stronger social and emotional supports to help their low-income students in high school and beyond.

According to the Jack Cooke Kent Foundation part of their belief is “ensuring, through grants, that high-achieving, low-income students throughout the country have access to meaningful, high-quality educational experiences.” Our gifted students need to have access to an appropriate education that in the end society can benefit as a whole.

In the era of NCLB we tried to close the achievement gap, but we widened the excellent gap. By this widening we are eliminating or limiting some opportunity for low socio-economic students of future successes.

We, as advocates, parents, foundations, and organizations need to try to get some national movement to get the mandates into law that our gifted children really need to have a real fighting chance to succeed, and to be a future asset to society as a whole. I don’t know exactly how to this, but I know there are tools are there than can be used such as Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets that can help educate, motivate, and mobilize the gifted education community. Finding those core common beliefs that all can get behind will be an important aspect for success.


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