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April's Corner 2010

Javits Frasier Scholarship

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Quick Conversations: Crafting Your Message

In the past week, I have had three separate conversations with three different audiences. Perhaps it was my recent excitement about the introduction of S.3086, the Equity in Excellence bill. Maybe it was my re-reading of the Fall Gifted Child Quarterly Myths issue. It may have even been my recent presentation to a group of parents in Fairfield, CT. Regardless, I had three exciting conversations this week, with gifted and talented education at the forefront.

On Monday I found myself in the company of a close friend, discussing gifted students. It had never dawned on me that his assumptions about “them” were grounded in myth. I chose to explain myself in terms of his situation; always a good idea when trying to get your point across. He is a songwriter and recording artist and so I asked him to remember back to when he learned his first three chords, then proceeded to have him imagine that he was only allowed to play those three chords for six months. He’d have to wait until next year to learn a new chord. “That doesn’t make any sense”, He said, realizing the stagnant nature which exists in many classrooms. 

On Tuesday I found myself in the office of US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, advocating for new and existing legislation. Again, I found myself articulating rebuttals to the most common myths. The conversation with his education team then turned to the growing achievement gap for high ability students. “It comes down to this,” I said. “A lack of knowledge in terms of what to look for and what to do with “them” once found carries with it a lack of identification and services for all students of high ability.” Gifted children are in every socio-economic and cultural milieu.” We simply do not do enough to serve them all.”

On Thursday I found myself on the phone with a gifted coordinator from a nearby state. Her budget was cut and the status of her position, unknown. We spoke about the state of the nation in terms of budget cuts, job loss, and a general financial disregard for students of high ability. In a nutshell, I told her, the US gives each of “them” the equivalent of a cheeseburger and a small fry, once. Something needs to happen.

Something indeed needs to happen. It begins with me. It begins with you. Have a quick conversation and make the issues of gifted and talented students the forefront of your next educational discussion. After all, you are the ones who see “them” the most. Share the ideas, strategies, and tools that exist. You’ll find more in the links below.

Related Links:

S.3086, The Equity in Excellence Bill 

Myths of Gifted Education Page 

NRC/GT Paper : Why not let high ability students start work in January? 

Mind the (Other) Gap!: The Growing Excellence Gap in K-12 Education 

State of the States 

Support for Javits 

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