Data Sources: National Funding and Support for GT Learners
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The U.S. government does not allocate any federal education dollars to States for classroom GT services or programs. Congress authorizes the Jacob Javits Grant Program, which offers some federal money (about 1% of the total education budget) for conducting research on GT best practices. Outcomes from this research also get put to use in the general classroom for the broad population of U.S. students.
MDE received a 3-year Javits Grant in 2015 for Project North Star, designed to elevate the identification and programming approaches provided for Minnesota’s disadvantaged and underserved rural populations.
State legislatures choose whether to dedicate tax dollars to serve these learners. Some mandate identification, but leave decisions about funding and services to local districts. Minnesota education statutes provide limited funding for school districts that is restricted to defined GT categories. Minnesota’s definition of GT learners is informed by similar definitions used at the federal level.
Currently, gifted education is a purely local responsibility and is dependent on local leadership. Unfortunately, leaving gifted education up to chance increases variability in the quality of services and creates inequities of access for students in poverty, from racial and ethnic minority groups, English learners, and those with disabilities.
Both Mahtomedi (ISD 832) and South Washington County (ISD 833) school districts continue to offer GT services for enrolled students. GT programming is not only available in Twin Cities metro area districts. Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose (ISD877) school district has 5800 enrolled students. Their Quest Program provides a “school within a school” model for GT learners in grades 2-9. In November 2018, NAGC recognized the Mankato (ISD77) school district with Administrator of the Year and Gifted Coordinator awards. Serving a similar total student enrollment to Stillwater Area Public Schools, Mankato educators worked with the University of St. Thomas to adapt identification practices and classroom supports.
[In] math and language arts the district now groups students in third through sixth grade by achievement level and provides instruction specialized to their level. At the middle school level, the district has advanced math and language arts course options. At the high school level, college-credit-earning courses are offered in a number of subjects. And a new Rising Scholars program is designed for elementary students from diverse backgrounds who are on the cusp of qualifying as gifted.
Source: Mankato Free Press
What do U.S. Voters have to say about GT education?
That’s the very question a newly released IEA/NAGC poll — the very first of its kind — aimed to answer. IEA previewed the full results during the 2018 NAGC Annual Conference in Minneapolis. The Full IEA Report is now available.
IEA commissioned Benson Strategy Group and the Winston Group, who conduct national voter polling for the two major political parties during U.S. presidential campaigns, to conduct the first national poll surveying American voters about their perceptions of gifted education in the United States.
During the course of the survey, participants responded to questions about messaging, the meaning of the term “gifted,” identification of gifted students, optimal services, professional development, and funding… The more voters hear, the stronger their support. Voters are concerned that gifted students are not getting the resources they need…
[Findings] were virtually equal across the political spectrum and socioeconomic groups… Across the board, the greatest concerns were for increased identification and access to gifted services among minority and low-income students, and increased professional development for all teachers of the gifted.
Source: IEA Poll Summary – Public Attitudes Towards Gifted Education, August 2018
“We must make sure all gifted children have access to the services and supports they need to thrive. The IEA poll makes clear that with increased understanding about the nature and needs of these children, Americans support programs and practices that will help all gifted and talented children flourish.”
– M. René Islas, NAGC executive director
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