Is Florida's gifted education program at risk?
The Florida Gifted Network seems to think so. And that has the Florida Department of Education baffled.
In an "urgent call to action" to supporters, the FGN warns that a "terrible new plan" puts the state's gifted students, teachers and programs at risk:
The Florida Department of Education is finalizing a new State Plan for Gifted Education. This Plan will “weave” gifted students into general education with the intention of eliminating gifted programs. If fully implemented, this Plan will significantly alter the definition of “gifted student,” further loosen state Exceptional Student Education (ESE) requirements (or pull gifted out of ESE altogether) and thus provide school districts with flexibility in the way they identify and serve – or not serve -- gifted students. ... Don’t let it happen. TAKE ACTION NOW.
The DOE has been inundated with calls, letters and e-mails demanding it stop this action. That has caught the department off guard.
"There's no drafting of any rules," department spokesman Tom Butler told the Gradebook. "Maybe they misinterpreted our effort to gather information."
To try to explain, the DOE's curriculum and instruction bureau chief put together a general letter to send to the people raising concerns. In it, Todd Clark explains that the department simply is seeking information from districts, to see if there might be a way to offer more focused and appropriate services:
"It is important to emphasize that each district determines which services will be available for their students based on decisions made by the team developing the student’s educational plan (EP)."
We'll keep an eye on this issue as it moves ahead.