January 13th, 2012

MA Lags Way Behind Other States in Supporting Advanced Learners

How’s our state doing compared to other US states in supporting advanced learners? Check out this article by Doug Page, in the Dec 29th, 2011 issue of Bay State Parent Magazine — Ignored: Gifted Children in Massachusetts.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Bay State doesn’t mandate gifted education. The last time it spent money on gifted education was during the 2008 – 2009 academic year, when Massachusetts had a $520,000 budget for this curriculum.

Today, the closest thing Massachusetts offers gifted students is the Dual Enrollment program, which allows high school students, usually in their junior or senior year, with a grade point average of at least 3.0, to take courses, paid by the state, in some of the state’s four-year universities as well as its community colleges.

The program, initiated in 1993 but stopped in 2001 due to a lack of funding, was restored by Gov. Deval Patrick, says Heather Johnson, a spokesperson in the governor’s office. It has a budget of $750,000.

The state that spends the most money per student on gifted education, says Clarenbach, is Georgia, which allots nearly $1,000 a year per student.

Annette Eger, with the Georgia Department of Education, says the Peach State’s gifted education program is flexible and available to kids in all grades, allowing them to enter it anytime during their academic career as well as only take gifted classes suited to their academic strengths.

“It’s a rigorous and challenging curriculum,” Eger says.  “It allows students to work independently and is content-rich beyond the typical grade level.”

Georgia’s gifted education program, she says, gives its students the opportunity to take college classes and work as unpaid interns.  Some students have worked in their local fire or police departments while others have been in hospitals, architectural firms and in attorneys’ offices.

The complete article is here.

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