The importance of robust state gifted policies

If you had a magic wand and could change one thing to ensure the availability of great gifted education services for students in your community, what would it be? A state mandate? More funding? A wide array of service requirements based on what we know about giftedness and best practices for promoting the development of high-ability learners?

In the absence of a magic wand, I might suggest that the next best thing is a robust state policy related to gifted education. Gifted education policies provide a framework for identification, services, teacher preparedness, accountability for student learning, and program evaluation. Together, these elements should define comprehensive, equitable opportunities for high-achieving and high-potential students. A coherent set of state policies not only define issues and practices that are essential to the delivery of high-quality programs for gifted students; they also provide parents, teachers, and other gifted education advocates with leverage to demand appropriate services for gifted and talented students in their communities. Well-crafted state policies also serve as tools for local policy development, assisting boards of education, educational leaders, and parent advocates as they seek to improve their own policies.

In my career as a gifted education professional at the classroom, district, and state levels, I have seen the impact of policy on school and classroom practice. When the Georgia Association for Gifted Children spearheaded an effort to change both state law and state board of education rules related to gifted education, I learned firsthand the need for well-informed groups and individuals to advocate for comprehensive policies to support gifted education programs.

NAGC developed A Guide to State Policies in Gifted Education, which provides practical guidance and a variety of examples in essential policy areas specific to gifted education, as well as an understanding of the increasingly complex interaction of gifted education, general education, and special education. We hope that this is helpful to leaders in the field.

Dr. Sally C. Krisel is the NAGC president-elect and director of innovative and advanced programs at Hall County Schools in Gainesville, Georgia. Dr. Krisel previously served as Georgia’s state director of gifted education.

Editor's note: This is part of a series of blog posts that is collaboratively published every week by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and National Association for Gifted Children. Each post in the series exists both here on the NAGC Blog and on Fordham's Flypaper.