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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9/25/08  11:46 pm
Commenter: Melvin C. Hawke

Gifted Education Is So Important To Us All

We were thrilled to be able to move to a state that highly valued gifted education.  This was partly due to the fact that the oversight authority was jointly performed at both the state and local level.  How troubling to see this cooperative effort at risk.  How very troubling to know that many students would be disqualified from any enhanced education unless identified as highly or even profoundly gifted.  Most distressing is the risk of reduced funding or even its elimination.  Having left Michigan, where giftedness identification and promotion is not funded by the state, leaving the exceptional to flounder in seemingly endless boredom and repetition, gives one pause to consider where Virginia will find itself in the future.  Michigan abandoned its obligation to provide a quality education for all students decades ago.  It is certain that Virginia, in seeking to limit state funding due to economic pressure, will find itself on the same path Michigan started down long ago.  Gifted children are not simply smart and therefore able to "fend for themselves" in the education system.  They have different needs.  Just as some students need high levels of attention to succeed, gifted children need directed challenges to stretch their minds and keep them engaged.  Virginia must remember that today's gifted students, properly stimulated, go on to become gifted professionals and leaders of all sorts, promoting the very economic growth needed in a global economy.  Without mandating gifted education standards with state oversight, we risk a slow and steady slide backwards from a potential lack of local interest or concern for the few.  Without identifying and helping students with one or two gifted abilities we risk limiting not only their future but the future benefit to us all.  Lastly, for the fortunate few who are highly gifted, how long before even greatly reduced services are finally eliminated?  Must Virginia descend to the lowest common denominator of mediocrity?