"Obama Strips All Gifted and Talented and Advanced Education Funding". This headline from the article by Dick Kantenberger of the Houston Examiner.com spread like wildfire on Twitter this week. The 'terrible, horrible, no good, very bad' president has "totally stripped the only funding for gifted and talented education." Really?
The fact of the matter is that the federal government in the U.S. has never funded gifted education. The Javits Act, which is the first item mentioned in this article, was incorporated by Public Law 107 - 110 in 2001 (NCLB) and received only sporadic and scanty funding from the Bush Administration. Furthermore, Javits was strictly competitive grant money; not general funding of gifted education. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) proposed to replace NCLB, does provide funding for college prep courses, dual enrollment, early college high schools, and AP classes. (See here ) The district in which I work has already benefited from a state grant that funds these same initiatives with great success.
In the U.S., funding of gifted education has always been left to the states. If anything, the ESEA is an improvement over NCLB. Programs that include gifted children will now receive federal money.
That being said, where do gifted advocates turn to find funding for gifted education? First and foremost, I would expect nothing less than creative solutions from the gifted community. This is not a new problem. It is a challenge and who better to meet it than the gifted? It is also not a 'local' issue or a 'U.S.' only issue; it is a global issue that should be met globally.
My Twitter colleague, Gifted Phoenix, has proposed an International Federation of G & T Parent' organizations. I enthusiastically applaud his proposal and plan to support his efforts. It is time for gifted advocates (both parents and professionals) to stand together and resolve to raise awareness of the importance of funding gifted educational programs.
History has shown that governments are often unable or unwilling to fund their best and brightest due to economic circumstances and political agendas. The very nature of government elections periodically changes the political landscape of any funding makes it an unreliable source of funding. The alternative is to seek private funding from those with a vested interest in the outcome - universities, corporations, and non-profit foundations.
My final point is that like Gifted Phoenix and the members of #gtchat on Twitter, I believe the time is now to work together on finding the best possible solutions to fund global gifted initiatives. And remember - it is about "gifted children" whose potential must be realized in this generation to ensure a bright future for all children!