For most of my posts, I try to be positive, up-beat, and encouraging…this is not one of those posts.
I am passionate about gifted education, and I am passionate about advocating for gifted children, and their right to have an appropriate education. Last night I read the Advocacy Alert on the OAGC website about the operating standards on Gifted Education in the State of Ohio. The more I read the more fired up I became. The State of Ohio is killing Gifted Education. Here is a short excerpt from the Advocacy Alert:
- Any quality definition or criteria for service including service settings and the need for qualified gifted intervention specialists to provide service or support in regular classroom settings;
- Any caseload restrictions and direct service contact time for gifted students;
- Any definition of qualified gifted staff including gifted intervention specialists and gifted coordinators;
- Any significant reporting of qualified personnel, professional development, and assistance to regular classroom teachers thus removing any meaningful data collection to analyze the effective use of resources;
- Any funding accountability requirements; and, finally,
- Any compliance language including that regarding ODE audits and the process to remediate non-compliant districts, all of which is required under Ohio Revised Code.
The only bright spot is that the new draft calls for two whole grade screenings in the elementary years in the specific academic and superior cognitive areas. The education management associations will be likely to oppose this as they have in the past.
How can the Current operating standards which are about 15 pages long go to about 2 1/2 pages, and still have the teeth to be called “operating standards?” These look more like suggestions than anything else in my opinion.
The School Board is so determined to give “local control” of all gifted services that is making a mockery of it. How can you effectively service children with no real operating standards that actually set standards? I honestly feel like the more this committee gauges out the meat of the operating standards they are ignoring the civil liberties of gifted children. With no real standards we are opening the door to abuse of gifted children.
I will be writing and calling my School Board representatives, and letting my voice be heard. I hope that you do the same. Our children need to have a voice of reason, and a voice of advocacy. The OAGC is doing a lot of the fighting, we need to give them our support. Click here for the contact information of the State School Board Members. I hope that you take a few minutes of your day and contact them, especially those on the Achievement Committee: Jones, Vazquez-Skillings, Jones, Dodd, Farmer, and Rudduck.