A Bill of Rights for Teachers of Gifted Students

In 2007, Del Siegle, a past president of NAGC authored the Gifted Children’s Bill Of Rights, to provide children a language with which to understand who they are as gifted children and what educational rights they should demand. It gives them a voice. A few years ago, on the evening of July 4th, amid fireworks and flags, I set down to write a Declaration of Educational Independence. I’d read one too many stories about budget cuts to local and national programs and was tired of refuting persistent myths about gifted and talented students’ needs. I know I was frustrated by the overwhelming number of inquiries about what to do regarding the lack of support for gifted children and for gifted and talented education itself. It turned out to be a fun exercise and was well received.

Although there have been many strides in establishing the need for this crucial aspect of education, including the inclusion of several provisions in the ESSEA that support gifted and talented education, it is clear that the many of the same issues still prevent us from appropriately educating gifted children. Children who possess unique abilities and strengths, embrace creative productive thought, and are driven to provide answers to the problems of the world. Talent, whether latent, emergent, or manifest, should be understood, nurtured and encouraged.

And so in keeping with the theme of our Nation’s independence, I have decided to compose a Bill of Rights for teachers of gifted students, with the hope that it finds its way into the minds of those who seek to identify, serve, and advocate for a population often misunderstood and overlooked. After all, teachers of the gifted needed a voice, too.

A Bill of Rights for Teachers of Gifted Students

Teachers of Gifted Students Have a Right to…

  • Advocate for their students and their best interests.
  • Modify the existing curriculum.
  • Attend comprehensive training to aid in identifying and serving gifted children from all backgrounds.
  • Seek out new and innovative ideas and resources.
  • Try new approaches, strategies, practices, and tools in the classroom.
  • Provide enrichment opportunities driven by student interest and passion.
  • Promote the skills of higher order thinking, problem solving, creativity, and autonomous learning.
  • Supportive state and district policies for gifted programs and services.
  • Take into account their students’ diverse social, emotional, cultural, and economic backgrounds.
  • Set the standard for great educational practice.
  • Say, “This student needs something different.”