Interesting information I found and would like to share....

Erica - posted on 02/11/2009 ( 10 moms have responded )

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*Ok...none of the links posted and I tried clicking on them and the last one doesn't even work. BUT the first two take me to the same page on the same website so I will include that link at the end.


Question

Why is it difficult (or impossible) to get the education gifted kids need in public school? A child with a 130 IQ is as different from the norm (100) as is a child with a 70 IQ. A child with a 70 IQ usually receives an Individual Education Plan and a lot of support to achieve his or her potential (and that's wonderful!). A child with a 130 IQ (in my school district) is invited to attend a certain social studies class that isn't very different from the regular social studies class (and that's not so wonderful!).

Keep in mind that research shows that gifted kids do not "have everything they need to achieve" in order that they have wonderful lives. Research shows that as many as 15-30% of high school dropouts are gifted and talented (Lemov, 1979) and other studies show that most youngsters identified as intellectually gifted were significantly underachieving.

Answer

Gifted education still does not seem to get the same attention as the education of children with disabilities. I believe one reason is because children that are gifted do not have the same protections under state and federal law as children with disabilities. Guidelines for gifted education vary from state to state and from school district to school district. I think it will probably take a federal mandate before gifted education gets more attention.

Here is a link to an article regarding legal rights in gifted education:

* Know Your Legal Rights in Gifted Education



I agree with you that many gifted children have some special needs that should be addressed by their schools. There is also a need for training of school personnel. Teachers frequently have a hard time adjusting the curriculum for children who are gifted as well as understanding and dealing with what is referred to as "underachieving" gifted children.

Here is a link to an article on underachieving gifted students:

* Underachieving Gifted Students

I would suggest that you contact local support groups and agencies that have an interest in gifted education and work together with your local schools to improve educational programs for children that are gifted.

Here is a link to a web site with a list of state organizations involved in gifted education:

* Gifted Resources Legal Info

Contact the organizations in your state to see what you can do to help improve gifted education in your area.

-Dory Creech (KidSource Moderator)

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10 Comments

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Karen - posted on 02/26/2009

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I have been fighting this fight for a while. Arizona requires the schools to provide a gifted program, but provides no funding for it, so our schools' response is to have parents sign a paper that says that the school is meeting their child's needs, nice, huh? For some reason the parents keep signing!!

Jenny - posted on 02/23/2009

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In the state of Indiana, you can research teachers credentials.  I "shopped" for teachers with gifted endorsements or a higher level of education than most.  This has worked for my son who is now in the 10th grade.  We are lucky enough to live in a township where the top 5% of the students can attend if IQ scores, grades, and teacher recommendations are met.  He was with the same group of students from 3rd grade all the way through middle school.  The Excel classes start in 2nd grade, but I chose not to put him in the program because he was looping with a teacher who had a reading endorsement with her education.  It was a good choice!  He was reading at high school grade level.



Middle school was a different story.  Yes, they offered Excel classes, but the teachers who "thought" they knew how to handle the children, could not.  Once the kids have an edge on the teacher, it's really all downhill for that teacher.  They try to outsmart them and believe me, this becomes an issue.  I just work real hard at home in letting my student know that he is intelligent, but needs to show respect!!  Now that he is in high school, again, they offer Excel or AP classes for such students.  The same criteria need to be met.  Amazingly enough, the same students from elementary are still in his classes.  So, if possible, try searching your states department of education website.  It really is so important to get a teacher that understands gifted children.  If you do not have a school in your township where a select group of students attend, I would try meeting with the superintendent about Excel classes.  I do live in a large township that has over 11 elementary schools and 3 middle schools though.  Good luck to all. 

Molly - posted on 02/20/2009

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I think alot of it has to do with schools' extremely limited budgets too.  There just aren't enough resources to have things to benefit all the different kinds of  kids at schools.  Resources are concentrated at getting those behind to catch up to grade level. 



Standardized testing measures a minimum standard - if kids are passing those standards then schools are thought to  be doing their jobs.  Challenging kids who are ahead is not part of the deal - it's about getting all kids to meet a minimum standard.

Ellen - posted on 02/17/2009

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Erica - Texas is it's own beast. I wish you great luck on your attempts to get your daughter's needs met. I live in Texas and know what a struggle it can be to get kids needs met. I just finished a year and a half fight to get a kid placed in GT programs. Basically it ended with - give it a try, if it doesn't work I'll agree to move him back. Campus changes comes down to funding. Try the wording about providing equal services at her home campus. Programing drives placement, and if programing is insufficient to meet her needs then they should allow accommodation. I also think TEA just issued new rules about meeting the needs of gifted, but I'm still looking at them to determine impact on situations like these so I can't quote them yet. Feel free to look at TEA's website and then look at your districts plicies to see if they are in alignment. I would also contact your parent advocate for your district. Also - is she being serviced under 504 or sped or anything - that's another opportunity. If she is then read through the parent handbook they have to give you each year. I'm sure there's something in there. If not you may have to wait for the new TEA rules to be interpreted, etc. Keep us posted on the transfer! Good luck!

Erica - posted on 02/17/2009

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I really didn't take any offense. That's why I hate typing and that is why I included a disclaimer of sorts.... "I understand your point. I am in no way trying to argue or be hateful. That’s one of the things I hate about typing. I am simply making a point, just to be clear." I understand that some parents may be over confident. I am not one of them. Now, having said that, I also take everything with a grain of salt. I don't think my kid is perfect and I don't think the teachers are perfect. There is NO way for me to know exactly what goes on in each class unless I visited each class with her, not gonna happen! BUT, I do have a close enough relationship with her that I would bet that the story is closer to her version than anyone else's. I am done typing now. I feel that I am always misunderstood because I like to talk too much. I didn't take offense. I just like discussing things from all sides. I guess I go too far sometimes. Thank you for your response, Candy.

Candy - posted on 02/16/2009

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You've misunderstood me, and you have obviously taken offence.  Ouch!  I wasn't telling YOU to have some insight- I'm sure you do.  I just elided the second 'I' in the sentence, which I now realise made it a bit ambiguous- sorry about that. What I meant was that I have more than the usual insight into the situation, because I'm a teacher as well as a mother of a gifted child.  Maybe you could re-read my post with that in mind.



I agree that it's okay for a gifted child to correct a teacher- I was just pointing out the consequences. Of course a teacher shouldn't expect to get away with errors. But sometimes children can be quite rude when an otherwise competent teacher has a moment of imperfection, too.  Personality clashes can hinge on just a few poorly chosen words. I know my own son did some outrageous things to one teacher who was slow to pick up his needs (mocking her facial expressions was just one trick I picked him up on), and that was a dreadful school year for him.



Thinking of that, I wonder if you may be overconfident about knowing exactly what happens in the classroom. When you hear things second-hand it's sometimes hard or even impossible to pick up on the context, in terms of both events and atmosphere. And ALL kids leave things out and rephrase when they relate a story.  So do teachers.



We're actually on the same side, Erica.  I've been fighting for recognition of the needs of the gifted for many years, and I certainly don't make excuses for incompetent teachers- I think they should be re-educated and / or sacked.

Erica - posted on 02/16/2009

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I forgot to mention that my post was a copy and paste. The opinions of the original poster are not ALL mine. I agree with some of it. What I'm having an issue with, specifically, is getting a transfer for my daughter to a different high school next year. She has a medical condition. For a "medical transfer", in Mansfield ISD (TX), there are 3 criteria. Emerson meets 2 of the 3. The third criteria being that the condition must be "life threatening". She IS gifted and I DO feel that this other high school is a better fit (so does she). I'm just aggravated that I have to fight so hard with administration to get her where she belongs.

Candy- Have some insight? I feel that it would be close to impossible for me to have insight into all 8 or 9 of her teacher’s practices and/or personality traits (i.e. not liking being corrected). I would rather my daughter correct these teachers (and she does) than for them to think it's ok to just breeze along giving out misinformation to students who are counting on them FOR this information. Maybe, if they are corrected enough they'll get the picture. I understand that teachers are underpaid and I think it's terrible for the teachers and an injustice to our children. BUT, ultimately, I am the parent (not a teacher) and I have to make sure my child gets the education she deserves despite the teachers personal issues (money or not smarter than the students) and despite the shortcomings of the system. I understand your point. I am in no way trying to argue or be hateful. That’s one of the things I hate about typing. I am simply making a point, just to be clear.
“Add to that the fact that many of our children are less than subtle about pointing out a teacher's shortcomings to their face, and you have a wonderful recipe for resentment.” -To that, I say, I don’t feel that it’s the place of any child to stroke a teachers ego. No child should have to tip toe around a teacher for fear of resentment. Kids don’t even really fully grasp resentment and how to deal with it yet. And I know my daughter isn’t subtle. I don’t expect her to have mastered subtlety yet but, we’re working on it ☺ Bottom line is, they are there to learn. Not to try to figure out each and every teacher.
“We don't know what our kids do to these teachers when we're not there. We don't know what the teachers do to our kids, either. It is a problem.” I know what my daughter does to the teachers. She tells me everyday about each class. I know every time that she corrects a teacher. I’ve had to give her advice on being subtle. I also know what the teachers do to her. If there are parents out there that don’t know what is going on in the classroom then there needs to be better communication both between the parent and the child and between the parent and the school. THAT’S the problem.

Candy - posted on 02/15/2009

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Hi ladies.  Just on the issue of teachers not being particularly helpful around giftedness-  I am a teacher as well as a mum-of-gifted-son, so have some insight!  It is often because, frankly, the teacher isn't all that intelligent.



I was always a very popular teacher in a very selective school because I was one of the very FEW teachers who was as smart as my students.  Many teachers simply can't handle a kid who's smarter than they are, and resent it at some level.  You will find that clever teachers are the ones who handle giftedness well. They are the ones who don't have a migraine over working out extension activities, in fact they enjoy it- and thus they don't see our children as PROBLEMS. For the average teacher, YOUR CHILD IS A PROBLEM AND SHOULD GET BACK IN HIS BOX BECAUSE HE'S NOT FAILING, OKAY?



In Australia this is a big problem- or I see it as such- because the pay for teachers is so poor that it simply doesn't attract high IQ people to the profession.  The required marks for entry to teaching courses at university are embarrassingly low.  So you end up with many teachers whose spelling, grammar and general knowledge are inferior to that of our own children. (NB of course there are also many with a high IQ who are teachers by vocation and love it- but many of those end up in the private system where they're paid better!!)



Add to that the fact that many of our children are less than subtle about pointing out a teacher's shortcomings to their face, and you have a wonderful recipe for resentment.  A very highly gifted friend of mine once rose from her seat in the middle of our year 9 German class, stomped to the front, took the chalk out of the teacher's hand and explained to him in an aggrieved manner in front of the class why his German grammar was wrong in the example on the board... ouch... no, she wasn't even a native German speaker! (and of course she was right).



We don't know what our kids do to these teachers when we're not there.  We don't know what the teachers do to our kids, either.  It is a problem.

Charline - posted on 02/15/2009

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In the state of Missouri you can get an IEP for Giftedness.  They won't tell you this, but you can get it and then have it stated specifically what needs will be met and how.  I left the state before I knew this and now have my son in private school so that doesn't help me anymore, but anyone else may want to check with their school district....they probably won't tell you straight out, but check around. 

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