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Gifted Advocacy

"If our children do not get the opportunity to learn all they are able to learn, it is because not enough people insist on appropriate education for them. As parents we must organize to become a respected and sizable force which can make a difference." Gina Ginsberg Riggs, "A Call for Parent Advocacy," Understanding Our Gifted, March/April 1996

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. – George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman (1903), Gifted Education Quotes

Also visit Myths, Arguments and Red Herrings for the research to dispel common myths...

ADAAA becomes law, strengthens 504 & ADA Recommended COPAA, September 25, 2008
The ADAAA overturns a decade of jurisprudence that has barred the door to ADA eligibility for many people with disabilities, including epilepsy, diabetes, intellectual and developmental disabilities, muscular dystrophy, and cancer, among many others. The reforms in the law will apply to both the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act...  Read the full ADAAA (ADAAA requires Adobe Reader)
 
Being Smart about Gifted Education: A Guidebook for Educators and Parents Recommended by Dona J. Matthews and Joanne F. Foster
Practical strategies for the education of exceptionally high ability (a.k.a. gifted) children.  After addressing all the questions, debates and arguments about nature vs. nurture, elitism, testing, creativity, and more... all that's left is to serve the child's educational needs! Click for Amazon or Amazon.co.uk
 
The Care and Feeding of Gifted Parent Groups: A Guide for Gifted Coordinators, Teachers, and Parent Advocates Recommended by Wenda Sheard
12 quick steps to form an effective advocacy group... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Competing with myths about the social and emotional development of gifted students Recommended by Tracy Cross
As a wise person (Lao Tsu) once said, "Nothing is more difficult than competing with a myth." Doing so, however, can create tremendous opportunities for people. Myth 1. Gifted students should be with students their own age...
 
Davidson Institute Guidebooks Recommended, in Gifted Advocacy
Davidson Institute offers free guidebooks for parents and other gifted education advocates, to improve their advocacy efforts.  Don't miss these great resources!  Currently available guidebooks include:  (Guidebooks require Adobe Reader)
bullet Advocating for Exceptionally Gifted Young People: A Guidebook,
bullet Considering the Options: A Guidebook for Investigating Early College Entrance (Parent Version),
bullet Considering the Options: A Guidebook for Investigating Early College Entrance (Student Version),
bulletConsidering the Options: A Guidebook for Investigating Gap Year Opportunities and
bullet Mentorship: A Guidebook

Dear Colleague Letter: Access by Students with Disabilities to Accelerated Programs Recommended by Stephanie Monroe, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
It has been reported that some schools and school districts have refused to allow qualified students with disabilities to participate in [accelerated programs such as AP and IB].  Similarly, we are informed of schools and school districts that, as a condition of participation in such programs, have required qualified students with disabilities to give up the services that have been designed to meet their individual needs. These practices are inconsistent with Federal law... [emphasis added]
 
Distinguishing Myths From Realities: NRC/GT Research Recommended Marcia Gentry and Karen Kettle
This quick summary dispels, with research citations, many of the major myths about educating gifted children!
 
Empowering Gifted Minds: Educational Advocacy That Works Recommended by Barbara Gilman
Empowering Gifted Minds discusses the many questions parents ask (or should ask!) in the years after learning their child is gifted, offering answers, ideas, and sometimes, more questions to ask. See my detailed review on Amazon...  or Amazon.co.uk
 
'Harm' and the Gifted Student Recommended by Todd McIntyre
For a gifted student, harm occurs over time. Parents must understand that their child can be in a 'pretty good, not that bad' gifted educational situation which causes harm. Parents must come to recognize that harm can occur. Harm may be the unintentional result of a well-intentioned system. To prevent harm parents must participate...
 
Genius Denied: How to Stop Wasting Our Brightest Young Minds Recommended by Jan and Bob Davidson, with Laura Vanderkam
The Davidsons, creators of educational software and founders of a nonprofit foundation that helps educate gifted children, offer an absorbing look at how our nation is neglecting children of exceptional intelligence. The Davidsons make a compelling case for re-approaching giftedness as a potential disability (to give more attention to gifted kids) and an even stronger argument for parents, teachers and citizens to consider the potential loss to American society in the costliest imaginable terms.  For excerpts and review, visit Genius Denied  or Amazon.co.uk
 
Reforming Gifted Education: Matching the Program to the Child Recommended by Karen Rogers
THE book for parents and educators, for planning the educational program for a gifted child.  Everything you need to prepare, negotiate, and execute the best possible educational option for each child. Read DITD review...
 
Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy: The Special Education Survival Guide Recommended by Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright 
This book will teach you how to plan, prepare, organize and get quality special education services. In this comprehensive, easy-to-read book, you will learn your child's disability and educational needs, how to create a simple method for organizing your child s file and devising a master plan for your child's special education. You will understand parent-school conflict, how to create paper trails and effective letter writing...  While not explicitly for twice exceptional kids, it is perfect for their parents and advocates
 
Wrightslaw's Letter to a Stranger Recommended
Simple ideas for writing that difficult letter well.  Great for more than just educational advocacy...
 
Advocacy 101
The Special Education Survival Guide by Pam & Pete Wright.  Although written for special ed, it's just as useful for gifted and twice exceptional students.  Includes articles... Mistakes People Make: Advocates, Mistakes People Make - Parents, Mistakes People Make - Schools, and Mistakes People Make: Independent Evaluators, plus more...
 
Advocating for a Grade Skip: A Portfolio of Research by Sandy Mixson
A parent's recipe for successful advocacy!
 
Advocating for Talented Youth by Ann Robinson and Sidney M. Moon
Reports of successful advocacy come from every corner of the country, and parents are often key players in securing educational opportunities for their gifted children
 
Are 20% of high school drop-outs gifted? by Laura Vanderkam in Gifted Exchange
The topic for today's post: the statistic that 20% of high school dropouts are gifted. This stat gets used in a variety of formats... In other words, what this survey reveals is that students identified as gifted (by a broad definition) and other students drop out at the same rate
 
The Art of Making a Good Decision by Deidre V. Lovecky
There have always been choices, no getting around it. The problem comes when there are too many choices. Overwhelmed by the Options? The Consequences of Making the Wrong Decision... A great article to read as we face the tough decisions in Gifted Advocacy!
 
Assertiveness and Effective Parent Advocacy by Marie Sherrett
Innovative ideas that have worked for other parents...
 
Becoming An Advocate for Your Gifted Student: An Interview with Carol Morreale
Advocacy is influencing decision-makers. You can advocate for your child on many levels... The best advocacy is when parents explain their child’s needs, helping decision-makers to understand who their child is and how they operate...
 
The Best of Both Worlds by Carol Danz, California Association for the Gifted, 1999
Imagine being granted the opportunity to provide enrichment for your gifted children at home one or two days a week, while they continue to receive the benefits of their public school experience... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
The Blame Game! Are School Problems the Kids' Fault? by Pamela Darr Wright, Wrightslaw
They think Brian’s school problems are my fault... The school psychologist said Shannon's learning problems were her fault, that she was lazy and unmotivated and we had to pressure her to work harder...
When a child has trouble learning or behaving in school, the source of the child's problem can usually be traced to one or more of five causes (though written about special education, this applies equally well to gifted education)
 
Blending Gifted Education and School Reform (ERIC Digest #525) by Gail E. Hanninen
A process for assuring that the unique needs of students who are gifted are addressed within the context of systemic reform...
 
The challenge of being gifted by Laura Vanderkam
Thousands of students have attended new public schools for the gifted that have sprouted across the country during the past two decades. More than a dozen states now fund residential high schools for the gifted...
 
Dealing with Schools reprinted from MonTAGe, by Valorie J. King
Several great essays for gifted parents dealing with the schools, including "Gifted? I See No Gifted Children Here!," "What's Really Going On Here?," and "In the Principal's Office"
 
Denial of Eligibility Because of Gifted Intellectual Ability and/or Lack of Failure
The U.S. Department of Education, in a written response to questions from the Learning Disabilities Association of North Carolina, stated that "...each child who is evaluated for a suspected learning disability must be measured against his or her own expected performance, and not against some arbitrary general standard."  Even an intellectually gifted student may be considered for eligibility for special education.
 
Do I Stay or Do I Go? by Meredith Warshaw
It is important that we teach our children both lessons - that when things get tough, we try to fix the situation, and that when the situation is unsalvageable, we look for other alternatives and make the best choice we can.
 
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Sometimes advocacy has to begin with getting answers to questions already asked.  In the United States, if your child has had testing, you are entitled to copies of the full results, including IQ / standard scores, percentiles, age and grade equivalent scores, and much more... but sometimes you may need to cite this federal law to get them
bulletTest Protocols Are Student Records this is often disputed by districts; here's the "proof"
 
Getting Change in the System by Monique Prevost Lloyd
Steps to successful advocacy!

Getting Past No: Negotiating Your Way from Confrontation to Cooperation by William Ury
Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by William Ury and Roger Fisher
Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate by Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro
Authors from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School.  Guides to successful negotiation shows readers how to stay cool under pressure, stand up for themselves without provoking opposition, deal with underhanded tactics, find mutually agreeable options, and more...
 
Gifted Education and Twitter: How Social Networking Can Propel Advocacy & Learning by Deborah Mersino, author of Ingeniousus blog, also found @DeborahMersino on Twitter
If you’re a proponent of gifted and talented (GT) education, a parent interested in gifted issues, a teacher who believes in visionary methods, a charter school enthusiast, education reformist, private gifted school administrator, GT association board member and/or a university professor offering a summer program for gifted students, please accept my warm welcome! You are about to enter a post on the twitosphere... 
 
For a list of Facebook and Twitter personas in gifted, read Social Networking - Impacting the World of Gifted Education Davidson Institute for Talent Development
 
Gifted Mandates, by state or province... collected by Carolyn K.
Does your state or province mandate gifted education? Gifted IEPs? Who can you contact for more local information...
 
How to Become an Educational Advocate by Carolyn K.
There are two ways to do everything. The easy way, and the hard way.  Everyone who knows me, knows I can never do anything the easy way...
 
How Squid Got Skipped: The Book of Squid by Marjorie
The preparation, the meeting, the decision, and the "Book of Squid"... one parent's successful advocacy story
 
Improving Schools: One Person is a Fruitcake, 50 People are a Powerful Organization on Wrightslaw
A simple reminder...
 
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004
Visit Wrightslaw for the law itself, commentary, guidance and more... (law requires Adobe Reader)
 
Infinity and Zebra Stripes: Life with Gifted Children by Wendy Skinner
This book offers sage words for beginning parents and seasoned insights for those more experienced, including teachers. Skinner's unvarnished chronicle of life with 2 gifted children strikes just the right balance. More importantly, this rewarding little book highlights the responsibility of parents to reach out for information, stay aware of the bigger picture, and not leave the development of gifted children to chance...
 
Know Your Legal Rights in Gifted Education (ERIC Digest #541)
Gifted American school children have very limited protections under state and federal laws...
 
Learn to Ask Questions, Get Services by Laurie from New York
Tips for non-confrontational parents
 
The Least Restrictive Environment Mandate: How Has It Been Defined by the Courts? (ERIC Digest #629)
"To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities. ... should be educated with children who are not disabled, and ... special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment should occur only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily..."
 
The Least-Worst Educational Option by Carolyn K.
As parents, we are faced with many choices regarding our children.  What's the best choice?  Sometimes it's easy - one choice is clearly "better" than another.  But many times, the choice is not so obvious...
 
National Association for Gifted Children Position Statements
...on Ability Grouping, Acceleration, Affective Needs, Teacher Competencies, Cooperative Learning, Differentiation, Fine Arts Education, GLBT Students, Graduate Programs, Inclusion, Concomitant Gifts and Learning Disabilities, NAGC-NMSA Joint Position Statement, Mandates, Pre-service Teacher Programs, and Tests...
 
National Excellence: A Case for Developing America's Talent October 1993
U.S. Department of Education - Office of Educational Research and Improvement study of the "quiet crisis" that continues in how we educate top students
 
Parent Advocates: Creating Opportunities for Gifted Students
CTD interviewed two parents...  Tell us about your advocacy efforts.  What have you accomplished? How did you start your parent groups?  How have you advocated individually for your own children?
 
Parent's Unofficial Guide to Gifted IEPs and Gifted IEP Meetings by Todd McIntyre and Wayne Mery
Although written for Pennsylvania's parents, this detailed essay contains great advocacy information for parents everywhere.  This guide will help you, as a parent, understand your options and prepare you to make informed decisions regarding the direction of that course.  Don't miss Todd's extra credit assignment on Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEPs)!
 
Paving the Way for Achievement: How one family met their student's unique educational needs by Karin Chapman
Realizing early on that their middle school had no courses for above-average students and that their high school didn't offer advanced placement courses, the Chapman family used creativity, persistence, and problem-solving skills to meet their son John's academic needs in a small district...
 
Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEPs) by Todd McIntyre
How do you determine a student's Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEP) prior to the Gifted meetings?  How does that PLEP correlate to the district's curriculum?  What's the role of state standardized tests in determining the student's PLEP?  Though written for folks dealing with Pennsylvania mandate, it has valuable information for all parents of gifted students...
 
Prisoners Of Time
Report of the National Education Commission on Time and Learning, April 1994
 
Public Relations: A Necessary Tool for Advocacy in Gifted Education (ERIC Digest #542) by Frances A. Karnes and Joan D. Lewis
Without building the knowledge base for understanding the unique needs and educational methods of gifted education, advocacy is likely to meet with limited success
 
Research Should Inform Practice by E. Jean Gubbins
We [educators] should consult research studies, to ensure that purposeful change is made
 
Servicing your gifted child: an interview with Karen Rogers on her book, "Re-forming Gifted Education"
What steps do parents need to take in their advocacy efforts?  Educational plan?  Subject levels?  Resource room?  Acceleration? 
 
School Reform and Gifted Education by Monique Prevost Lloyd
Many educational practices currently in vogue under the umbrella of school reform work against gifted students...
 
Social Statistics Briefing Room at Whitehouse.gov
A number of educational test results, including TIMSS, trends in academic progress, trends in drop-out rates, etc.
 
Student talks board into boosting gifted program by Evan Brandt, Pottstown Mercury
Saying the district had ignored "the best and the brightest" in the high school, Lindgren (the student), who praised the gifted program at Pottsgrove Middle School, told the board, "We dare you to make us think."  Lindgren accomplished what the school teachers and administrators had not!
 
The spill-over effect: an advocacy strategy by Sandra N. Kaplan, in Gifted Child Today ($)
The spill-over effect is intended to gather support for gifted education by illustrating where and when it can provide meaningfully and successfully for the education of students in other programs
 
Stand Up for Your Gifted Child: How to Make the Most of Kids' Strengths at School and at Home by Joan Franklin Smutny
If you think your gifted child isn't getting the education he or she needs, this book is for you. It helps you recognize your child's gifts, understand his or her problems at school, find out your district's policy on gifted education, explore various options, communicate effectively with the school and district, and provide enrichment at home
 
Supporting Gifted Education Through Advocacy (ERIC Digest #494) by Sandra L. Berger
Understanding the process and avoiding the pitfalls...
 
The Tea and Terrorist Society - Parent Advocacy at the District Level by Monique Lloyd
Many parents feel powerless when dealing with their public schools; this is especially true of parents with highly gifted children
 
Ten Tips for Parents of Students by Monique Lloyd
 
TIMSS - Third International Mathematics and Science Study
TIMSS data has been collected in 1995, 1999, and 2003, for the largest international study of student achievement...
 
Using their words to support our advocacy efforts by Sandra N. Kaplan, in Gifted Child Today ($)
In today's political climate to understand that good campaigning is redefining the common language of the times for your own political benefits. We can build our advocacy efforts on the common language used by policymakers in general education to the advantage of gifted education...
 
Using Public Relations Strategies to Advocate for Gifted Programming in Your School by Kevin Besnoy, in Gifted Child Today ($)
All teachers who work with high-ability students must establish advocacy and public relations strategies for their program.  Articles have been written detailing how to advocate at the district, state, and national levels.  However, gifted educators now need to advocate for gifted programming at the local school level. They must be willing to reach out to their colleagues within their school building through a systematic, continuous program to gather support for gifted programming...
 
What Works! by Monique Lloyd
Innovative ideas that have worked for other parents...


Last updated September 26, 2014
 

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