GAGC
LEGISLATIVE LIAISON: LAURIE ECKE,  LEGISLATIVELIAISON@GAGC.ORG
GAGC Call To Action!

Please speak out about the MOST serious issue that could set gifted education in GA back 60 years: The recent DOE guidelines that specifically allow districts to waive the certification and service requirements that ensure quality education for gifted students.

If you can do one thing, immediately call and/or email the people listed below, asking them to demonstrate Georgia’s commitment to ALL students by restoring the certification and service requirements for our gifted (and ESOL) students. Specific messages for each group are organized in chart below. Please add your personal experience or message to your emails.

Then share this email with parents, students, teachers, and other advocates, asking them to do the same.               

Role

Focused Request – What to ASK in your email/phone call

Rationale – Why it’s important

Education Committee Members

Please contact the Chairs of both the House and Senate Education Committees (see chart below).

Then check to see if YOUR representative is on this committee, and if so, email him/her.

Correct the DOE’s misunderstanding of state law (O.C.G.A. 20-2-152), which requires the provision of qualified teachers to meet the needs of students in ALL categories of Special Education, including VI: Gifted

  • ·   The DOE has recently decided that State law (O.C.G.A. 20-2-152) requires programs and qualified teachers only for special education student with diagnosed disabilities, when this is clearly not the language of the law
  • ·   Under Georgia law gifted students are Category VI of Special Education. The decision to waive the need for specialized training for teachers of the gifted suggests that only this type of exceptionality does not require specially trained teachers to ensure students are challenged appropriately.

State Board of Education Members

Please contact the State Board members listed (see chart below).

Then email the member that represents your congressional district.

Uphold the certification and service requirements for gifted students in compliance with Georgia law and to preserve the integrity of gifted education in Georgia

  • ·   State law (O.C.G.A. 20-2-152) requires the provision of teachers who are professionally trained to meet the needs of gifted students
  • ·   Like ALL of our children, gifted and ESOL students have a right to an education that will enable them to reach their potential.
  • ·   The gifted endorsement is the way we ensure fidelity to the law in the identification process (which the GaDOE has upheld cannot be waived).

State Superintendent and DOE Contacts

Reinstate the May 3, 2017 teacher certification and service requirements for gifted (and ESOL) students in order to preserve the integrity of gifted education in Georgia

·   The original May 3, 2017 guidelines included gifted and ESOL certification and service requirements after thoughtful consideration by a committee where “a number of key stakeholders were involved  in formulating the decisions and guidance supporting ‘PQ’ in Georgia including the State School Superintendent’s Teacher Advisory Council, the ESSA Professional Capacity Working Group, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC), and critical program staff from the GaDOE’s Offices of  Teaching and Learning, Federal Programs, School Improvement, and Policy/ Charters” (GaDOE email to all districts, May 3, 2017).

  • ·   The DOE states that the reversal in June was a simple correction of a mistake they made in the May 3 document, rather than a change in position. However, that seems unlikely given the list of key stakeholders involved and the originally published table of requirements which was detailed and explicit.
  • ·   The gifted and ESOL rules already provide for needed flexibility while assuring that qualified teachers meet the needs of gifted and ESOL students.

 

List of people to call/email:

Role

Name

Email

Phone

Senate Education Committee, Chairman

Tippins, Lindsey

lindsey.tippins@senate.ga.gov

(404) 657-0406

House Education Committee Chairman

Coleman, Brooks

brooks.coleman@house.ga.gov

404.656.9210

Senate Education Committee

For a complete list and contact info:

http://www.senate.ga.gov/committees/en-US/Committee.aspx?Committee=120&Session=21

 

House Education Committee

For a complete list and contact info:

http://www.house.ga.gov/Committees/en-US/committee.aspx?Committee=102&Session=24

 

State Board of Education

Barbara Hampton

bahampton@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 657-7410

State Board of Education

Mike Royal

mroyal@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 657-7410

State Board of Education

Larry Winter

lwinter@doe.k12.ga.us

(706)-278-2834

State Board of Education

Lisa Kinnemore

lkinnemore@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 657-7410

State Board of Education

For a complete list and contact info:

http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/State-Board-of-Education/Pages/default.aspx

 

Georgia State Superintendent

Richard Woods

state.superintendent@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 656-2800

GaDOE Policy

Garry McGiboney

gmcgiboney@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 657-2965

 

Also very important: Please provide feedback on the Georgia ESSA application draft, where they have failed to set out a plan to improve gifted education, even though ESSA requires a plan to do so. The link in the table below goes to a survey from the Georgia State Department where you can reply to many areas of the new ESSA plan, but specifically Questions 3, 4, and 11.

 

ESSA Application Feedback 

Due by July 14, 2017

Instructions: Go to the ESSA application feedback link at:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/95ZX7CY

On page 1, Disagree or Strongly Disagree with questions 3 and 4, as you see fit.

On page 2, scroll down to 11) Effective Instruction, and share the information to the right.

After decades of advocacy, supporters of gifted education were finally able to get gifted and talented students included in federal education law. ESSA, the latest reauthorization REQUIRES states to develop plans to improve gifted education. On page 62, this ESSA application draft fails to make any plans to improve gifted education in Georgia. It lists only things we have been doing for more than 20 years: Use multiple criteria for identification and hold and regional meetings where we receive brief updates from the DOE. Ask that the DOE  create a REAL plan of improvement for Gifted and ESOL students in our state’s ESSA application 

(ESOL education is in a similar crisis, and you could also post in Question 12) English Learners, your concerns about creating a real plan of improvement for gifted education.)

 

Attention all GAGC Members and Advocates for Gifted Children:

Gifted Education in Georgia is in Crisis. GAGC and Georgia's gifted children need your voice over the next 10 days:

The Georgia Association for Gifted Children is asking parents, students, teachers, gifted coordinators, administrators, superintendents, boards of education, RESA staff, college/university partners, legislators, and policy makers to speak out now about how (1) the new GaDOE guidelines and (2) the current draft of the ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) state plan are changing the course of 60 years of gifted education in Georgia. The new GaDOE guidelines make the gifted endorsement and gifted services optional for districts, and the draft of the ESSA state plan offers nothing in response to the ESSA directive to improve gifted education in Georgia.  

We only have until JULY 14 to respond to the Georgia ESSA application, and we have a similar timeline for advocating for the need for the gifted endorsement. It is urgent that we make our voice heard for the next 10 days.

We ask you to do all 3 of the following:

1)    Email, call, or write to your representatives stating your concerns about making the gifted endorsement and services optional in Georgia Please contact YOUR representative(s); use the link below to find the names:

Representatives by District - 


Open States - www.openstates.org

Possible Emails/Phone messages to representatives and policymakers:
  • Georgia State Law Requires Identification Procedures and Qualified Teachers to Meet the Needs of Gifted Students: O.C.G.A. 20-2-152 Special education services:
  • In language that is similar to the ESSA requirements for the SEA application, state law requires the provision of teachers who are professionally trained to meet the needs of gifted students. The gifted endorsement provides this training. The law includes specific requirements related to identification of gifted students using multiple criteria. If training teachers of the gifted is waived, educators would not have the key understandings, taught in the gifted endorsement courses, to use multiple criteria effectively to identify potentially gifted students.
2)    Respond to the ESSA State Draft regarding the omission of a plan to improve gifted education in Georgia at this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/95ZX7CY
  • Possible response to ESSA application:
  • ESSA requires the state educational agency to include in its application and resulting guidance documents a plan to improve the skills of teachers for both identifying gifted and talented students and providing instruction to meet their special needs. These are the important skills that are addressed in our Gifted In-Field Endorsement programs, which are based on the best-practice evidence of national standards.
  • On page 62 of the ESSA application, the “plan” is simply a brief description of regional meetings and the multiple criteria that we have been implementing for years.
  • Allowing Georgia school districts to waive specialized training for teachers of gifted and talented students contradicts this clear directive from ESSA. We need to engage gifted education experts to revise the ESSA application to create a plan to IMPROVE gifted education in Georgia.
 

 
List of other important contacts:

Role

Name




Email

Phone

House Education Committee Chairman

Coleman, Brooks




brooks.coleman@house.ga.gov

404.656.9210

Senate Education Committee

Tippins, Lindsey




lindsey.tippins@senate.ga.gov

(404) 657-0406

Senate Education Committee

Wilkinson, John




john.wilkinson@senate.ga.gov

706-754-6133

State Board of Education

Barbara Hampton




bahampton@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 657-7410

State Board of Education

Mike Royal




mroyal@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 657-7410

State Board of Education

Larry Winter




lwinter@doe.k12.ga.us

(706)-278-2834

Georgia State Superintendent

Richard Woods




state.superintendent@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 656-2800

Governor

Nathan Deal




https://gov.georgia.gov/webform/contact-governor

404-656-1776 

GOSA Contact

Governor’s Office of Student Achievement




mtodd@georgia.gov

404-463-1150

Ga PSC Contact

GaPSC




mail@gapsc.com

 

ESSA Committee Contact

ESSA at GaDOE




essa@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 416-2286

GaDOE Policy

Howard Hendley




policy@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 657-2965

GaDOE Policy

Garry McGiboney




gmcgiboney@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 657-2965

GaDOE Policy

Louis Erste




lerste@doe.k12.ga.us

(404) 657-2965


3)     SHARE this information!
  • Who is in your community or family who would speak up for gifted education? Please share this email with every parent, student, teacher, gifted coordinator, administrator , superintendent, board of education member, legislator, and policy maker, asking them to join us in speaking up for gifted and talented students in Georgia.  
  • Social Media: Let’s utilize the power of social media! Use Facebook and Twitter to advocate for gifted children. Legislative social media contacts:

Our ESOL students are in a similar crisis, as the guidelines for the ESOL endorsement and services have also been made optional. We care about ALL of our Georgia children, and there is strength in numbers. Please consider advocating for our ESOL students as well. We are partnering with Georgia TESOL to advocate for gifted and ESOL students.

Thank you for speaking out NOW for our gifted and talented children in Georgia!

Questions? Contact the Georgia Association for Gifted Children Legislative Liaison at legislativeliaison@gagc.org

Georgia Association for Gifted Children:

Follow us on Facebook; Twitter: @GAGCGifted


Important Information:


Gifted Education in Georgia - Call to Action.pdf


Talking points regarding the Georgia Gifted Education Crisis.docx


Gifted Education in Georgia - Call to Action.docx

Legislative Update for HB 114 (Attached to HB 211):

Because this has been signed into law, this is now an active law that school systems must consider for this year's valedictorian and salutatorian.

The following has passed into law:

No local school system that receives funding under this article shall exclude eligible high school students taking one or more dual credit courses pursuant to this Code section from eligibility determinations for valedictorian and salutatorian of a participating eligible high school; provided, however, that this shall not apply to a high school student who moves into the local school system after his or her sophomore year and has not taken any courses on site at the participating eligible high school.


 

Please contact our U.S. Senators to advocate for funding for the Javits Program!

From NAGC:


Last month, the Administration proposed cutting $9 billion from the United States Department of Education. This includes funding for gifted and talented children. We anticipate the Administration will release their final, detailed budget by the end of May. To protect funding for the Javits Program we must act now.

Please call your Senators by Friday, May 5th, to ask them to sign the Fiscal Year 2018 “Dear Colleague” letter to support funding for the Javits program. Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Casey (D-PA) are the bipartisan leaders requesting support for this letter in the Senate. Letter: http://www.nagc.org/…/…/Javits%20funding%20letter%20FY18.pdf

They need your help in rallying support from other members of the Senate. It’s imperative that your Senators publicly support the Javits program and prioritize the program’s funding in their requests to the Appropriations Committee.

Please ask your two Senators (David Perdue and Johnny Isakson) to join Senators Grassley and Casey and sign this bipartisan letter to support the Javits program.
Contact David Perdue: https://www.perdue.senate.gov/connect/email
Contact Johnny Isakson: https://www.isakson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/email-me

You can also call 202-224-3121 to be directed to an operator at the United States Capitol switchboard who will connect you with the appropriate offices in your state.

Thank you for advocating on behalf of all gifted and talented children!

Read more about the Javits Program here: https://www.nagc.org/resources-publications/resources-university-professionals/jacob-javits-gifted-talented-students


GAGC Executive Assistant Kathy Kennedy represents GAGC at the Governor's Office for Gifted Education Month in Georgia!

Education Reform Commission Funding Formula Update:

The Education Reform Commission's recommendations for a new funding formula for education is likely not to be on the Georgia legislative agenda this year, as Governor Deal is focusing on chronically under-performing schools. See the AJC article for more information.

Deal: A new failing schools plan is my main priority http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2017/01/06/deal-a-new-failing-schools-plan-is-my-main-priority/

Governor Deal proclaims January, 2017

Gifted Education Month in Georgia


This proclamation emphasizes the importance of developing the potential of Georgia’s children in the areas of academics, creativity, leadership, and fine arts. It recognizes that our teachers and educational leaders work together with our community to provide the key learning experiences that engage and inspire our students. Finally, it calls for all of us to join in recognizing the unique needs of gifted young people.

In honor of Gifted Education Month, you may want to invite your government representatives, Board of Education members, superintendent, school administrators, teachers, community leaders, parents, and local news/newspaper reporters to see the many ways gifted education impacts all students in your district. This can be a time of advocacy for gifted students and for gifted education, emphasizing the importance of challenging all students to reach their potential.

Please share this proclamation with your school board, teachers, parents, and community members as we highlight ways that gifted education transforms the lives of our Georgia students.

Education Reform Commission: November 2016 Update


Teacher Advisory Committee:

Governor Deal appointed a Teacher Advisory Committee to provide feedback about several of the Education Reform Commission's recommendations. That report is now available at this link: Teacher Advisory Committee Report.

The Committee supported "Move On When Ready" for elementary students, providing suggested guidelines for implementation. The members also suggested differentiation possibilities for pre-service teachers.

Find out more about ESSA and its potential impact on gifted education from the NAGC briefing below:



NAGC Briefing on the reauthorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act

(Every Student Succeeds Act)


Governor Deal proclaims January, 2016

Gifted Education Month in Georgia



How do you celebrate Gifted Education Month? 

Julie Lumpkin from Bulloch Schools: "Little Lumps - An inside view of what's happening during our QUEST experiences!" See her blog at:http://littlelumps.blogspot.com/



             

           

The May Howard Gifted Team from Savannah-Chatham Public Schools would like to share our Gifted Education activities with you. We chose to create an Amazing GEP Race for our gifted students at May Howard to celebrate Gifted Education Month proclaimed by Governor Nathan Deal. The students LOVED it!! There were clues for them to find all over the school and challenging activities for them to complete as they “raced” to be the first team to finish. Please use the link below to see the video of our Amazing GEP Race. We enjoyed it as much as the students did!! 


LEGISLATIVE LIAISON: LAURIE ECKE,  LEGISLATIVELIAISON@GAGC.ORG

Education Reform Commission Update: November 19, 2015

The Education Reform Commission met today to discuss all of the subcommittee's recommendations, including the Funding Formula Committee's recommendations about the gifted weight. They presented the weight of .3231, described in the November 14 update below. That is good news for gifted education!

For the full narrative and presentation of today's Education Reform Commission Meeting's recommendations, please go to this link: https://gov.georgia.gov/meeting-10-materials-november-19-2015 .

Funding Formula Update: November 14, 2015

The Funding Formula Committee of the Governor’s Education Reform Commission met on November 12, 2015. They continued to propose a gifted weight that would ask the state to invest the same amount, or slightly more, in gifted education.

On page 4 of the narrative draft, the committee gave a clear rationale about the need for gifted education, citing the NAGC rationale for gifted. The notes from page 4 are pasted below.

Link to Narrative Draft: https://gov.georgia.gov/sites/gov.georgia.gov/files/related_files/site_page/Funding%20Model%20Narrative%20Draft%20111015%20v8a.pdf

Link to spreadsheet that shows how all of the funding formula suggested changes impact individual districts: https://gov.georgia.gov/materials-1

Link to Education Reform Commission page: https://gov.georgia.gov/education-reform-commission

From page 4 of narrative draft, November 12, 2015:

GIFTED:

The formula under consideration by the funding committee proposes a weighted funding amount for students identified as Gifted. Gifted weighted earnings for 1 segment in the FY16 QBE formula = $237.98. Students statewide were funded for an average of three segments. For three segments in QBE the student earned $713.94 in FY16 QBE.

The current proposed model weight for Gifted is 0.3231.

Gifted weighted earnings for 1 student in proposed formula = $750.20.

Gifted total funding earnings above the base in the FY16 QBE formula are approximately

$129M. Gifted total funding weighted earnings in the proposed formula are $133,444,875.

Rationale for the weighted gifted student characteristic:

  • Developing and nurturing high performance supports the future prosperity of our nation, state, community, and of individuals.
  • Most gifted students are not developing to the level their potential would indicate is possible.
  • In the normal distribution of ability and/or of achievement, 68% of students score near the mean; students far from the mean require different educational experiences to develop optimally or at all.
  • All children deserve the opportunity to learn something new each day.
  • Schools have a responsibility to meet the learning needs of all students. Gifted children are found in all income, cultural, and racial groups; gifted children may also have one or more disabilities.
  • Most teachers say their brightest students are bored and under-challenged.
  • Most teachers have no training in working with gifted learners.
  • In classroom observations, most learning activities are not differentiated for gifted learners.
  • Additional considerations:
  •   Gifted classes often require additional materials, supplies, and lab equipment for in-depth study that results in students producing projects/products that demonstrate real-world application of concepts.
  •   Teachers must be specifically trained to differentiate instruction at high levels, to fulfill their teaching roles of facilitator and guide, and to accommodate the variety of giftedness that students bring into a classroom.
  •   Additional funds are required to allow students to participate in challenging competitions that require complex thinking and high level problem-solving abilities.
  •   Curriculum, instruction, and assessment must often be modified or developed to meet the needs of the gifted student.

*Rationale taken directly from the National Association of the Gifted at Rationale for the Gifted: http://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/administrators/Rationale%20for%20Gifted%20Ed.pdf October 30, 2015.

Funding Formula Update: October 23, 2015

The Funding Formula Committee from the Governor’s Education Reform Commission is considering a new way of funding education. Instead of districts earning funding for 6 segments of instruction to equal 1 FTE, they are considering a student-based funding formula that involves a base student amount and additional funding for weighted student characteristics, such as special education, ESOL, or gifted.

The members of the Funding Formula Committee are continuing to decide on actual weight amounts. The initial “placeholder” number for gifted was quite low, but they proposed a higher weight at their Sept. 23 meeting. We are hopeful at this time that the committee may decide on a gifted weight per student that would result in the state funding equal to the same amount of gifted funding to districts as the present QBE system earns.

The funding formula committee will be meeting on October 28, 2015 to discuss the revised weights, including the new proposed gifted weight.

We will keep you posted on this website and if needed, by contacting GAGC members as this process continues to unfold.

For more information about the Funding Formula Committee and the other proposals from the Education Reform Commission, please explore this link: https://gov.georgia.gov/education-reform-commission

                                                

 

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