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Revisiting (Ohio) Gifted in the 21st Century — Finding 5

March 29, 2010

The Ohio Association for Gifted Children (OAGC) has been invited to share  concerns/requests at the April State Board of Education regarding the upcoming education budget.  As a prelude to this presentation, the High Ability bloggers thought it would be interesting to highlight the progress made on the seven findings in the “Gifted in the 21st Century” Task Force Report.  This report was released in 2002.  This week we will look at Finding 5.

Finding 5. Funding: Ohio school districts vary widely in the options and services available to children identified as gifted. Those with more local resources are able to offer additional services, in contrast to districts that depend on state dollars alone. Even with local dollars, however, only 8 percent of districts reported that all of their identified gifted students were receiving services during the 1998–99 school year. Van Tassel-Baska (1997) reported: “State funding is pivotal to maintaining gifted programs in the state of Ohio.”

As discussed in an earlier blog post, funding for gifted services remained essentially flat for most of the first decade of the 2000s. However, significant increases for gifted education are promised in the school funding reform plan passed in July. If fully funded, the new evidence-based model will finally provide the fiscal resources needed to fully serve Ohio’s gifted population once the gifted intervention specialist and professional development components are fully phased in by the end of the 2010s—if districts broadly embrace cost-effective service options such as acceleration and cluster grouping of gifted students in content-based programs. To ensure that this occurs, the state should adopt a phased-in service mandate in which the percentage of gifted students served in each district is required to grow each year in line with the increases to the gifted teacher funding element. Initially, this would mean a minimum of 20 percent of gifted students receiving services. The statewide average of the percentage of gifted students served in each district is already over 25 percent; this goal is realistic today, would give districts ample time to thoughtfully plan and scale up service offerings in upcoming years and would result in slow but sure progress toward the ultimate goal of addressing the learning needs of every gifted student in Ohio’s public schools.

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