Special Programs for Gifted Children: Luxuries or Necessities

Last summer Candace Lindemann, Ed. M., a former colleague of mine from the Momformation blog, interviewed me for her piece Gifted Programs: Luxuries or Necessities? I'm a little late blogging about it, but no matter, the question is timeless.

Because they sometimes only serve a small number (or by definition in the State of Illinois, a small percentage) of students, and high performing students at that, gifted programs are often seen as a luxury. How does a school justify a class for six students who seemingly excel when other students in the grade are still struggling to read?

Gifted students have special needs. They have special educational as well as social-emotional issues. Though affective (social-emotional) is ignored in many programs, a cutting-edge program should include that component.

Special classes for gifted children are not luxuries, they are not privileges, they are appropriate educational interventions.

When Michele Kane, president elect of the Illinois Association of Gifted Children, spoke at my recent parent gathering, she mentioned that as a group, parents of gifted kids do not advocate as vociferously, as passionately as parents of other special needs children.

In Illinois, there's still time to change this. There are two remaining Illinois State Board of Education Budget hearings left.
  • Thursday, November 5, 2009 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Wheeling
    Community Consolidated School District 21
    Board Room
    999 W. Dundee Road, Wheeling (Enter from East side of building only)

  • Wednesday, December. 9, 2009 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Mundelein
    Mundelein School District 75
    Lincoln School Multipurpose Room
    200 West Maple, Mundelein
I have a class Thursday night and need to think about where I need to be. If you (or I) can't make it, contact the Superintendent's office at the State Board of Education Phone: 217-782-2221; TTY/TDD: 217-782-1900; Fax: 217-785-3972.

Edited to add: Okay, I realized I *need* go to Thursday's budget hearing; I can't let the opportunity pass. Unlike the last time I went to an ISBE budget hearing, I'm going to prepare remarks ahead of time. I'll post them on my blog in the next week or so.
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