Michigan is at the bottom in our nation for providing and incentivizing gifted education.
Why? Policies and funding for gifted students in Michigan were eliminated from the School Aid Bill in 2009. Children, families, and educators lost state funding for gifted education, a statewide infrastructure that supported gifted children, essential social and emotional services, Summer Institutes for gifted youth, as well as, gifted and talented professional development, college course offerings, and degrees in gifted education.
At this time, few Michigan government cabinet officials, legislators, school administrators or their staffs are familiar with the differences between regular and gifted education. If they were, they would want gifted education for every child in Michigan.
The following are MAGC’s 2020-2021 Advocacy Committee goals. Our committee rejects racial, gender, ethnic, socio-economic, religious, and other biases or differences that negatively affect the intent and outcomes of our work.
- Identify every gifted child in Michigan
- Advocate for policies and legislation that incentivize gifted education
- Give every Michigan student the opportunity to learn like a gifted student; provide gifted education curriculum, instructional strategies, assessments, models, and systems
- Train every Michigan teacher in gifted education, including an awareness of social and emotional factors unique to gifted learners
- Assess student achievement growth in real time including the use of adaptive assessments; demonstrate at least one year of student academic growth for each year in school
- Ensure acceleration is an option available to all students
The following funding sources are currently available to schools and districts that want to use gifted education to maximize the potential of every student and staff member in Michigan:
- Title II Professional Development funds
- General education funds since gifted education would be the norm for all children instead of only 1-2% of school children
- Other Title funds
(4) What can schools and districts do immediately to meet the needs of gifted students while simultaneously maximizing the potential of every K-12 Michigan student in all rural, suburban, and urban communities?
The following is a unique school improvement strategy that a Michigan school district uses to maximize the potential of all students and staff using gifted education. No legislative action or new funding sources are necessary.
Article: Michigan’s Laker Schools
All students should be given the opportunity to learn as gifted students.
This is something schools don’t hear every day. When Laker Superintendent Brian Keim and fellow administrators heard this from Sherry Sparks, a lifelong teacher, staff developer and gifted education advocate from Oakland County, they knew they were at the doorstep of something very exciting.
“It’s important to note that this is not a new ‘program’ or flavor of the month initiative,” he said. “This is simply a way to take the things we are currently doing and do them even better. We are a very strong district now, but I believe we will all be challenged by Sherry and become something greater than we’ve imagined!”