Below is a letter drafted by the Michigan Alliance for Gifted Children's Advocacy Committee. It is being drafted as a request for considering the needs of gifted students in Michigan while reforming the school funding model. Please read the letter below and consider adding your name to this request. If you would like to add your signature electronically, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Your response is required by midnight, Sunday, October 7, 2012.
Americans believe in a free public education system designed to ensure that every child reaches his and her potential. We appreciate your efforts to include ALL children and youth, including the gifted, in the upcoming Michigan Education Finance Act of 2013.
Gifted children are not born with their potential fully developed. Like every other child, they require the education, nurturing, and support commensurate with their special needs and abilities.
At the present time, the vast majority of gifted children and youth are forced to seek and bear the financial burden of private school and/or after school, weekend, and summer programs if they want true academic gains in line with their potential. Too few Michigan families are able to afford enrichment or private school options on top of the taxes they pay for their local public schools. This creates an economic barrier to equal access to education and to the goal of promoting educational excellence for all students.
The gifted make up 5-6% of the population. These individuals make great contributions in all areas of endeavor and will make even greater ones if they are properly educated and nurtured. One day they may cure cancer and other diseases, keep our homeland safe with new technologies, and produce music, art, and literature that will enthrall generations to come. Everyone benefits from such contributions.
Those of us who care about ALL children are not asking for more for the gifted than for other children in Michigan. We are only asking that gifted children count as much as other children and youth.
If Michigan wants to attract and retain the brightest professionals and entrepreneurs to our state so that our economy will flourish, Michigan will have to offer gifted education to their families as an incentive.
In order for the state to ensure that ALL children, including the gifted, demonstrate academic growth and personal development commensurate with their potential, we believe the following are important:
- That assessments be required in order to accurately identify both current student academic levels and student growth each year. Assessments must provide educators, students, and families with the true extent of a student’s knowledge, and not just indicate whether or not grade level expectations have been met.
- That training in gifted education for teachers, essential for working effectively with their gifted students, be provided. Gifted educational strategies, curriculum, and assessment tools benefit all children, not just the gifted.
- That fundamental and properly detailed plans of action from each school district and school are needed to describe specifically how educators will ensure academic growth during the school day for gifted children and youth.
- That charter schools for gifted children will be allowed to exist, procure authorizers, and receive state funding.
- That 1% of the Michigan education budget is spent on the following to ensure focused and sustainable academic growth of gifted children and youth: (1) teacher training, (2) development of district and school gifted educational plans, and (3) purchase of high quality gifted materials, programs, and services.
Thank you for your consideration,
The MAGC Advocacy Committee
for the Michigan Association for Gifted Children
To show your support of the above letter, simply fill in your name and email address in the form below and click on submit. We will use this information only for listing support of the above letter and will not save your name or email address for any other purpose.