More focus on gifted education
With the mandates of No Child Left Behind in place, some observers note it's become too easy to pay all the attention to the students who are lagging behind. Schools get more credit for bringing their performance up, while the high achievers usually do well without any extra assistance.
But that's not the same thing as actually helping top students to reach higher. And Florida state Rep. John Legg, vice chairman of the House K-12 Education Committee, wants to try to put a brighter light on the needs of those children.
So he's filed a bill (HB 297) that aims to provide better services to gifted and academically talented students. Among the highlights, the bill would:
- Make screening for gifted programs available to all students upon written request by a parent or teacher.
- Evaluate all students in the program at least every three years to determine whether the program is benefiting the students.
- Include gifted and academically talented instruction in the state-mandated teacher preparation program.
- Require school districts to identify its budget for gifted instruction. (The amount currently gets lumped in with special education.)
Legg, a teacher who runs a charter school in Port Richey, has been working with gifted advocates since early fall to get the kinks out of his bill. He still doesn't have a senator offering the measure on the other side of the Legislature.