“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss
Why … do we need to advocate?
- As concerned parents, educators, and citizens, we must be the voices for our children and look for ways to advocate for their needs. We can affect changes by emailing, writing, or calling education representatives at local, state, and national levels and by speaking out at meetings.
- According to the National Association for Gifted Children, a disproportionate number of gifted students become dropouts and research has shown that underachievers comprise almost half of the gifted population.
- Access to GT programs depends on where you live. The result is a frustratingly inequitable system. Our schools need to be accountable for all students, not just for some student groups but not others. Every child’s education and future is important!
- NAGC: There is no federal mandate or funding to school districts to support gifted and talented students. Although every state recognizes gifted students in state policies and acknowledges their learning needs often may be beyond the scope of the regular classroom, the availability of gifted education depends on key decisions made individually by 50 states and 14,000 local school districts — a system that leads, unsurprisingly, to a bewildering array of programs and services, or a lack thereof, for high-ability students.
The gaps in support of and services for our most advanced students are even more pronounced for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.
How … can I help?
- Call or email representatives on county, state, and national levels – A quick email or phone call using the contact information on their websites is easy to do. They are interested to know what is important to their constituents.
- Contact the Maryland State School Board and thank them for passing the “COMAR 13A.04.07 Gifted and Talented Education” and let them know that their oversight of the districts’ implementation is important.
- Talk to your local school and county administrators.
- Write letters to newspaper editors
- Seek out other parents through the PTA or other organizations and form a parent group if there is not one available. You are not alone!
- Learn school, district, state, and national policies.
- Familiarize yourself with the issues and research. Look for some links on this site.
Who … represents me?
You can find your U.S. Representative and find links to their websites here: http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/39fed/06ushse/html/rep.html
What … should I say?
- Guidance for writing letters to a publication’s editor (like the Baltimore Sun)
- Contact your local school board and let them know that gifted education is not optional. All students’ educational needs are important!
- Tips: You will be more likely to be heard if you keep your tone positive, use “I language,” be succinct, be specific about what you want, and back it up with research if possible. Consider your audience and what is important to them and craft your message accordingly. It is also wise to keep a copy of all of your correspondence.
- Maximize your impact!
When … should it be done?
Now, while you are thinking about it!
Where … do I find more information?
- Gifted education will not receive consistent attention at the state and local level — especially during difficult economic times — until the federal government demands accountability in quality education for all gifted children, and increases federal resources on their behalf.
- Elected officials need — and want — to hear from their constituents about issues of concern. They need to hear from you about why gifted education is important to you, to your state, and to the nation. Members of Congress read the local papers, hold public meetings, visit schools, meet one-on-one in their offices, and rely on staff members who meet with constituents to learn which education issues are most important to the voters in the state or congressional district.