Gifted Education in America
The purpose of this article to inform readers regarding “Gifted Education in America. We hope that educators, school counseling and guidance counselors, parents will be able to advocate knowledgeably and effectively for gifted children.
What is the Law related to Gifted Education in America?
The identification of gifted and talented children is required under the state special education law. It means by law each local or regional board of education must provide the professional services requisite to the identification of school-age children requiring special education that includes gifted and talented students.
In other words, if a school fails to identify a special education and gifted school age child, this school is considered to fail to follow the law and parent has a right to go to the court.
The state regulations define “gifted and talented”, “extraordinary learning ability”, and “outstanding creative talent” as follows.
“Gifted and talented” means a child identified by the planning and placement team as (1) possessing demonstrated or potential abilities that give evidence of very superior intellectual, creative or specific academic capability and (2) needing differentiated instruction or services beyond those being provided in the regular school program in order to realize their intellectual, creative or specific academic potential. The term shall include children with extraordinary learning ability and children with outstanding talent in the creative arts as defined by these regulations.
“Extraordinary learning ability” means a child identified by the planning and placement team as gifted and talented on the basis of either performance on relevant standardized measuring instruments, or demonstrated or potential achievement or intellectual creativity or both. The term shall refer to the top five per cent of children so identified. (Note: The term means 5% of the children so identified as gifted and talented within the district.)
“Outstanding talent in the creative arts” means a child identified by the planning and placement team as gifted and talented on the basis of demonstrated or potential achievement in music, the visual arts or the performing arts. The term shall refer to the top five per cent of children so identified
The parents must be notified in writing that a referral to the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) has been made to determine a child’s identification as either gifted or talented. A PPT is a “group of certified and/or licensed professionals, who represent each of the teaching, administrative and pupil personnel staffs and who participate equally in the decision making process…. These shall be persons knowledgeable in the areas necessary.
Unfortunately, school districts are not required to provide programming for children identified as gifted and talented. Instead, programming is permissive. Parents, then, can ask for educational services that accommodate the educational needs of their children, but districts are not required to provide such special educational services.
Since many school cannot fully meet the needs of gifted and talented students, they receive extra support during the after school hours and summers from the universities’ gifted and talented centers.