Agencies | Governor
Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Education
State Board of Education
Regulations Governing Educational Services for Gifted Students [8 VAC 20 ‑ 40]
Action Revision of regulations school divisions must meet in their gifted education programs, K - 12
Stage Proposed
Comment Period Ends 9/26/2008
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9/14/08  4:31 pm
Commenter: Catherine Brighton, University of Virginia


The Gifted Education faculty at the University of Virginia has three significant concerns with the proposed revisions which, if approved as proposed, will seriously decrease the quality of services for gifted learners in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Please note a few of those concerns, as follows:

 (1)   The language on page 9 of the proposed revisions states, “Appropriately differentiated curriculum and instruction provided by professional instructional personnel trained to work with gifted students.” This statement must be amended to indicate specifically that university coursework in gifted education is required for these personnel. In previous regulations this was described as the add-on endorsement in the field of gifted education. In the absence of such specificity, educators would be given the opportunity to teach in and supervise gifted programs without university-level coursework in the field of gifted education.

(2)   The language on page 12 of the proposed revisions states that the change regarding the local plan which, if approved, but will no longer be submitted to the DOE for approval, and will instead be approved annually by the local school board. This change is detrimental for several reasons:

a.       Educators and community stakeholders invest significant time and effort in creating a 5-year plan and in the process seek peer review from other gifted education colleagues across the state. To shift this process to the local level will eliminate the productive insights that emerge from this peer review;

b.      As a group, school board members are not experts in the field of gifted education and will not be able to provide meaningful, constructive feedback concerning gifted program plans.

(3)   The repeal of the funding language of 8VAC20-40-70 (previously stated, “State funds administered by the DOE for the education of gifted students shall be used to support only those activities identified in the school division’s plan as approved by the BOE”) is seriously problematic. In the absence of this regulatory language protecting the funding for gifted program services, it is likely that the quality of gifted programming will suffer.