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Illinois Association for Gifted Children
The new report Is There a Gifted Gap? by the Fordham Institute shines a glaring light on how unevenly and unfairly services for high-ability students are distributed throughout the state of Illinois and how out of step we are with the rest of the country.
A few important statistics from the report underscore just how far behind Illinois is in providing equitable access to gifted services:
The Illinois Association for Gifted Children has been a voice for disadvantaged high-ability children, arguing that the steep drop in the number of Illinois’ elementary and middle school districts that offer gifted programs – from over 80% in 2003 (the last year that the state provided funding to districts for their gifted programs) to 27% as of 2016 – has had a disparate impact on black, Hispanic, and low-income students.
The State Board of Education, legislators, and the Governor heard our message and supported the passage of the Accelerated Placement Act this past year, which requires all Illinois districts to create policies allowing early entrance to Kindergarten and 1st grade, whole grade acceleration, and single subject acceleration. This is a great step forward in providing advanced students with appropriately challenging learning opportunities, but we have more work to do to close opportunity and excellence gaps, and to ensure that we identify and nurture talent equitably throughout Illinois.
The Gifted Gap report helps emphasize how critical it is that Illinois continue to strengthen its policy support for advanced students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Visit our Policy & Advocacy webpages and contact the co-chairs, Carolyn Welch (carolynEwelch@comcast.net) and Eric Calvert (email@example.com), to get involved!
One of the featured speakers at the annual conference of the Illinois Association for Gifted Children is Dr. Sally Krisel. Sally has been a strong and vocal leader in the field of gifted education and is currently the president of the National Association for Gifted Children. She strongly believes that gifted education practices are best practices for transforming education. Sally asks, “What if gifted education turned out to be our country’s secret weapon in total school improvement? What if the best way to improve education for ALL children is to focus on ways to engage and challenge those who are gifted?” Sally enacted her beliefs about the value and effectiveness of gifted education practices in the design of a special school in Hall County, Georgia. Educators at DaVinci Academy implement personalized programming with a problem based curriculum, enabling students to create projects and showcase their work to authentic audiences. Sally’s sessions at the conference will help teachers understand how they might also use gifted education practices to recognize and develop the abilities of many students and impact their schools.
Illinois will now hold schools accountable for the growth of all students across the achievement spectrum, without diminishing weight for the growth of students above the proficiency threshold. We are also on the cusp of getting a new accountability indicator added that will measure student participation in enrichment and acceleration opportunities. Stay tuned!
From the Fordham Report released today, November 14, 2017:
"Altogether, twenty of the fifty-one proposed school rating systems are either good or great—earning at least two strong grades and one medium. And those of seven states—Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Washington—are the best, having received perfect scores."
Students in need of financial support for a special project or program, educators looking for professional development funds to work with advanced learners, or administrators looking to recognize staff dedicated to identifying and developing exceptional talent in young people are encouraged to apply an IAGC award or scholarship. Visit the awards and scholarships web page for details.
In a major victory for high-ability students throughout Illinois, the Accelerated Placement Act (SB1223) and the Report Card Act (HB2461) were both signed into law by Governor Rauner on August 25, 2017!
Championed by IAGC and the Untapped Potential Project, the Accelerated Placement Act requires Illinois public school districts to establish policies that provide equitable access to grade acceleration, subject acceleration, and early entrance beginning in July 2018.
The Report Card Act requires the State Board of Education to publish on Illinois Report Cards information it collects about gifted education and advanced academic programs and the number of teachers with gifted education endorsements.
Thank you to our members and supporters for your help in getting SB1223 and HB2461 through the Illinois General Assembly and to the Governor's desk. Your advocacy made this possible!
HB 2461 amends the School Code. It requires the State Board to include in the school report cards certain demographic information concerning gifted education and advanced academic programs, as well as information concerning the number of teachers in a school who hold a gifted education endorsement. HB 2461 has passed both the Illinois House and Senate and has been sent to the Governor for his approval.
IAGC would like to thank the wonderful supporters who "slipped in favor" of HB 2461. You made a difference!
On May 28th, 2017 the Accelerated Placement Act passed the House by a vote of 99:11. It passed the senate unanimously on May3rd.
This act allows early entrance to kindergarten or first grade, accelerating a student in a single subject, compacting curriculum, concurrent enrollment, credit by examination, online learning courses, Advanced Placement courses, International Baccalaureate programs, grade acceleration, grade telescoping, and early high school graduation to all students in Illinois.
Thank you to our U.S. Senators from Illinois, Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Tammy Duckworth, for co-signing the bipartisan Grassley-Casey letter in support of continued funding for the highly effective Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program in 2018!
Javits funding (currently $12 million for 2017) is the only federal money specifically designated for gifted children, and the research funded by these Javits grants benefits underserved gifted students throughout the country. Javits is one of the programs that the Administration has proposed for elimination in 2018, so the outspoken support from Senators Durbin and Duckworth is critically important. On behalf of all of Illinois' gifted students, IAGC extends our heartfelt gratitude!
Want to learn more? See the NAGC website: http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/Advocacy/Jacob%20Javits%20%20GT%20Act%20Letter.pdf
The Accelerated Placement Act just passed the House Education Committee unanimously! On to the full House vote before the end of May. Thanks to those of you who acted on our legislative alert yesterday!
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