Gifted and Talented Program at Risk

Gift and Talented Program (GATE)

When I was a kid growing up in California, our public school system went from being one of the best, with a high per capita spend, to one of the worst. Why? Proposition 13. I was too young to really understand it, but I do remember having classroom sizes in elementary school in the 30-32 range. But I was also in the Mentally Gifted Minor Program that later changed names to the GATE (Gifted and Talented Something) Program — the switch was to squeeze in “talented” kids who didn’t quite score in the cut off range.

And I remember taking test after assessment test. You had to take tests until you failed one so that you would be, I guess, properly assessed. I remember thinking how unfair it was that all the other kids got to play and I had to take another standardized test.   But there were perks to being in the program.  We had special programs held at the library for the GATE group that were much more interesting than the social studies unit done inside my classroom that I was allowed to skip.

It does make me a little sad that there is no such program these days in Massachusetts.  We have to supplement our kids on our own.  But for those states that still are managing to hang on to theirs, it’s such a good thing!  But it does seem that the No Child Left Behind has swung the pendulum in the opposite direction. Can’t there be a happy medium?

Here is the link to the entire article from the

Here are some key paragraphs for you speed readers:

  • Here’s an educational irony: As students across the state start another school year ready and eager to learn, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are poised to eliminate the only federal program that supports our most academically promising students.
  • For more than 20 years, the Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act has focused on research to assist students who traditionally had been underrepresented in gifted education. This includes students from rural or low-income households, children with disabilities and those for whom English is a second language.
  • As the only federal program focused on underserved, high-ability learners, the Javits program impacts students here in Iowa and nationwide by developing model curriculum that can be used by all teachers to meet the special needs of gifted students. Moreover, the program incorporates gifted education strategies into regular classrooms to improve outcomes for all students.
  • In fact, the Javits program has directly benefited our most vulnerable students in Iowa. Through two recently completed grants led by the University of Iowa, our schools are now armed with the information they need to address the academic needs of students with disabilities who are also gifted and students who have been transferred to alternate schools.
  • Ultimately, Washington must lead by example and send a clear message to states and school districts that, just as they must strive to help struggling students achieve more, so too must they help advanced students achieve their full potential.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom

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