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Revisiting (Ohio) Gifted in the 21st Century — Finding 6

April 6, 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 6. Leadership: The ODE currently funds two consultants for gifted education. To build capacity for the task force’s recommendations, it is critical for additional staff to be funded to serve Ohio’s school districts. Technical assistance, policy review and development, professional development and accountability are critical activities of state leadership.

ODE staffing levels for gifted education have risen and fallen with the economy, climbing from 2.0 FTE when the task force report was published, to a peak of 5.5 FTE. Currently, the state employs two full-time gifted consultants, two half-time intermittent consultants and a college intern. The state is undertaking a new educational funding model, revising academic content standards, developing performance-based assessments, addressing 21st Century Skills, reforming accountability processes, developing guidance for credit flexibility implementation and gearing up to manage Race to the Top initiatives (all of which have major implications for gifted students)—not to mention important gifted-specific initiatives like revising funding rules, developing gifted education performance indicators and sustaining Project I-GET-GTEd without federal dollars. it is clear that a return to higher staffing levels is needed if the state is to avoid missed opportunities and unintended consequences for gifted students in the new generation of policies and programs. (See 2002 task force report finding #1.)

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