Creating Change through Collaboration and Advocacy

Perceptions of gifted and talented education have long been mired in mythology, but an extraordinary group of parents, teachers, and advocates in Washington State are making a renewed effort to increase understanding and support for the education of gifted children.  With increased understanding about the nature and needs of gifted children, we can develop supportive environments for learning and implement research-based practices that help all children as they strive to reach their personal best.Advocacy_ThumbsUp.png  

I have the unique opportunity to testify before the Washington Senate Education Committee on the importance of ensuring stable and reliable state funding to support the identification of and service to all gifted children. Such funding is particularly necessary to support children from minority, economically disadvantaged and other communities that are woefully under-represented in gifted education programs. Since their families often don’t have the means to provide enrichment learning opportunities, these students are largely forced to languish unidentified and unserved.

Several recent studies have documented that many obstacles prevent gifted students access to challenging curriculum. One particularly startlingly data point found that high-achieving children in poverty and from minority groups are 2.5 times less likely to be identified for, and served in, gifted and talented programs than their more affluent peers.

NAGC’s national Giftedness Knows No Boundaries campaign seeks to change minds, change policies, and change practices to support the identification of and service to all gifted learners regardless of race or income. We believe robust state policies will increase equity, improve consistency and quality of programing, and provide parents and educators with the tools they need to get appropriate services for their children and students. 

As John F. Kennedy once said, “There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.” President Kennedy’s quote highlights why our advocacy efforts are so important. I am proud to stand in solidarity with the advocates in the State of Washington and collaborate with them to build a supportive education infrastructure where all children will thrive. We can make a difference now and for years to come.

We will to continue to be bold. We will push our messages and strategies to help gifted children flourish. Like the Senate Committee Hearing today, next week’s Equity Summit on Gifted Education hosted by the University of Washington’s Robinson Center for Young Scholars is an opportunity to shine a light on all gifted and talented children, particularly the underserved.  Stay tuned for news and suggested actions as we continue to move the message forward.