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Waiting to Exhale

May 11, 2009

Last week our school district asked voters to approve a $ 6.9 million operating levy – unofficially the results were 6,804 to 5,513 against its approval. While I did not expect the levy to pass I was not about to voice that projection lest a pro-levy advocate took me to task to explain why I wasn’t going to support it or an anti-levy advocate demanded to know why on earth I would. No – as an advocate for gifted education I most certainly want our schools to have the resources they need to teach all of our kids. And herein lies my dilemma. Our schools already have many of those resources at their disposal but do not utilize them because they remain politically unpopular.

As a political moderate and parent advocate with no vested interest in school funding issues I feel compelled to remain on the perimeter of the discussion when it comes to the complicated and unconstitutional funding formula Ohio uses to manage its schools. So on the eve of a levy vote I hold my breath. Meeting the needs of gifted kids in public schools does not call for complicated or expensive solutions. It does call for flexibility. And I am stunned when I meet resistance to simple and cost-effective solutions like: forming a district wide acceleration policy, using technology in the classroom for the students (e.g. on-line learning programs designed to meet the needs of GT kids) or ability grouping with teachers trained in differentiation to high ability students. I am incredulous that our GT teachers have to go begging for supplies and technology. And I exhale slowly because I know that with every failed levy something has to be cut – and GT programming is such an easy target.

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