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January's Corner 2010

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January's Corner

Recovery and Reinvestment Act?

On the way home from school yesterday, I drove by a sign that has become a familiar sight on various roads in my state. It reads Putting America to Work: Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. I am sure you have seen one. As I continued home, I thought, “Good idea.” Recovery through a reinvestment in our Nation’s infrastructure of roads, bridges, etc., while creating and maintaining jobs for millions of Americans. There is another area in need of recovery however. It is education. Our Nation’s schools continue to cut crucial programs, budgets, and staff. They are underfunded, neglected, and forced to “work with what they have.” While there are a few governmental programs supporting school improvement and innovation, the advocacy, support, and overall exposure and funding of these programs is overshadowed by the immediate need to improve the economy.

The U.S. Department of Education is indeed concerned about the country’s standing in areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as evidenced in their recent push for “Race to the Top” grants. They agree with NAGC in knowing that we cannot afford to waste the talents of students with the greatest potential, those same students who just a few decades ago, worked to get us to the moon. However, they fail to understand that in searching for the answers to many of their educational woes, they have completely bypassed the one population of students who, whether identified or not, could be nurtured with resources and tools developed and refined for over 50 years with research that was once heavily supported by them.

NAGC has a series of web pages dedicated to the STEM fields. Please visit them to develop an understanding for what NAGC can provide in the context of what the Department of Education seeks. Teachers as well as advocates will find a variety of book suggestions, professional papers, Gifted Child Quarterly articles, recent news items, and other links promoting the importance of STEM education.

As I continued my drive home, I passed by an old vacant brick school building, another all too familiar site nowadays, and I wondered what schools would be like, if signs, similar to the one described above, were placed in front of these and many other schools. It could read Preserving Our Nation's Most Valuable Resource: Project Funded by the Educational Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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