Georgia Association for Gifted Children

An affiliate of the National Association for Gifted Children

Legislative News/Resources

Legislative Liaison: Laurie Ecke, Legislativeliaison@GAGC.org

  • Tuesday, February 12, 2019 1:21 PM | Webmaster (Administrator)

    GAGC is offering a new resource for parents: the GAGC Parent Newsletter, published quarterly. Please sign up for the GAGC Parent Remind 101 link for future GAGC updates. Parents do not have to be a member of GAGC to sign up for GAGC newsletters and updates!

    GAGC Parent Newsletter, Dec. 2018: https://tinyurl.com/GAGCParentDec2018

    GAGC Parent Remind 101: https://tinyurl.com/GAGCParents 

  • Tuesday, January 01, 2019 1:23 PM | Webmaster (Administrator)

    The Georgia Association for Gifted Children is excited to share that as in previous years, Governor Deal has issued a proclamation that January 2019 is Gifted Education Month in Georgia!

    It is a critical time to demonstrate to decision-makers the impact of excellent gifted programming happening around our state, and Gifted Education Month provides a platform. Please join us in sharing on our GAGC Facebook page and tagging GAGC and your state representatives as you post examples of rigorous learning experiences and/or testimonials this month:

    • ·       @GAGCGifted
    • ·       #GiftedGA
    • ·       @Governor Deal
    • ·       @NAGCGifted or #NAGC

    You can look up your representatives at this link: https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.

    In honor of Gifted Education Month, please post often and also 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.

    Link to Gifted Education Month Proclamation: Click here

    The 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 us to recognize the unique learning needs of gifted and talented students and advocate for rigorous educational programming to meet these advanced learning needs.

  • Thursday, November 15, 2018 1:23 PM | Webmaster (Administrator)

    Mr. Otha Thornton (D) and incumbent Mr. Richard Woods (R) are running for the office of Georgia State School Superintendent and one will be elected on November 6. GAGC asked each candidate about their commitment to gifted education, and their responses are below:

    From Mr. Otha Thornton: As the State School Superintendent, I will thoroughly look at Special Education and Gifted Education, in addition to other services which will raise the standard of education in Georgia for all students. I firmly believe every child deserves a world-class education. Once in office, I will be forming committees from all around the state to review all aspects of public education. We need to meet each child where they are. That means I will ensure our schools are provided with the resources and staffing they need to serve our children well.

    From Mr. Richard Woods: Since taking office, I have been strongly committed to expanding opportunities and pathways for success for Georgia’s nearly 1.8 million students. Though the policy pendulum has shifted from a four-year college focus to a technical school focus and from AP focus to a dual enrollment focus, I have stood firm in protecting all of our pathways for our kids. They deserve a myriad of strong, vibrant pathways for success that are positioned around their passions, talents, and potential.

    From the beginning, the strategic focus I have brought to the Georgia Department of Education has been on the ‘whole child’ and ensuring a balanced education – a strong gifted education program is a key part of ensuring that mission is met. By working together to enact state policy changes to crafting and delivering a long-term plan for our gifted and talented students and educators, I am confident that we can not only accelerate opportunity, but also sustain and strengthen the success of our gifted programs across the state.

    I do support the requirement that those teaching gifted students and in charge of gifted education programs hold an endorsement, but I do not have the authority to alter the guidelines in state law. Stakeholders of the gifted education community – including teachers and students – have two avenues to address this pressing issue: 1) that the state legislature support and pass legislation that specifically includes language that gifted certification cannot be waived or 2) federal statute and guidelines are expanded to include an non-waivable gifted education requirement for educators.

    There were efforts from the Governor and some members of the State Board of Education to strip AP and IB opportunities from the state’s accountability system, which would have led to a narrowing of opportunities for our gifted community. I stood firm and ensured those programs were protected.When members of the legislature moved to narrow AP exam reimbursements to just STEM areas, I pushed pack to ensure that decision was reversed and student choice of AP options were not narrowed or eliminated. Currently, the Department of Education is finalizing funds allocated for rural areas that how limited or zero AP programing.

    Outlined in our approved state ESSA plan, we have convened a group of stakeholders from the gifted community to craft a set of recommendations to move this issue forward: On page 73: GaDOE will convene a meeting of Georgia’s gifted community, representing students, parents, organizations, and educators, to develop a plan to provide creative solutions to best serve Georgia’s gifted students. This plan with recommendations will be shared with members of the state legislature. In addition, GaDOE will include gifted related resources, tools, district best practices, etc. in the online “toolbox” that will be developed and made available to districts.

    As state school superintendent, it is my commitment that I advocate that those recommendations be addressed during the upcoming legislative session and that additional resources are allocated for the Department of Education to expand quality professional development opportunities for gifted educators.

  • Monday, April 30, 2018 1:25 PM | Webmaster (Administrator)
    Senate Resolution 972 was presented on March 5, 2018. It received a hearing in the Education and Youth Committee on March 15. Senator Butch Miller felt that it could be proposed again in next year’s session and would be likely to be passed. The full text of the resolution is below:

    Senate Resolution 972

    By: Senators Miller of the 49th, Unterman of the 45th, Wilkinson of the 50th, Parent of the 42nd, Ginn of the 47th, and others

    A RESOLUTION

    Encouraging local educational agencies to support Georgia's talented and gifted students by complying with all State Board of Education and Georgia Professional Standards Commission guidelines for gifted education; and for other purposes.

    WHEREAS, federal law has failed to include gifted students as a special education population; however, Georgia lawmakers have continually recognized the special learning needs of the gifted and talented population and the critical importance of fully developing one of the state's most valuable resources – the extraordinary potential of gifted and talented children from all backgrounds; and

    WHEREAS, since 1958, Georgia's leaders have recognized gifted children as a special education group by assigning a Category VI classification for gifted students under special education in state law (O.C.G.A. 20-2-152) and by providing support for the process of identifying and serving exceptional children; and

    WHEREAS, the eligibility criteria, teacher training, and service options described in Georgia law and the State Board of Education guidelines have been recognized as exemplars at a national level; and

    WHEREAS, taxpayer monies have been approved in Georgia law to support instructional programs designed to address the special needs of gifted learners, and both educational and fiscal accountability requires lawmakers to maintain safeguards of quality programming for the state's gifted students; and

    WHEREAS, state laws related to increased flexibility for local school systems allow local education agencies to waive standards for appropriate services for Georgia's gifted students, including class size, approved delivery models based on research evidence of effectiveness, and qualified teachers with specific training in the needs of gifted learners.

    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE that the members of this body encourage all local education agencies, especially those that collect weighted, full-time equivalent funding for gifted education, to comply with all State Board of Education and Georgia Professional Standards Commission guidelines for gifted education; and if an agency chooses to waive these provisions, it should notify parents of students identified as gifted which provisions it has waived and how it will meet the needs of their gifted students.

    Gifted Task Force

    The GaDOE Gifted Task Force met on February 14 and March 8, 2018. During the initial meeting, members from around the state raised concerns about the confusion regarding gifted education requirements in our state – what could be waived and the subsequent impact on gifted I-weight funding. DOE Gifted Program Specialist Gail Humble presented a draft of clear guidelines to the group at the second meeting. This should be formally published by the DOE very soon. The Gifted Task Force meets again on April 19, 2018.

    NAGC Affiliates Conference

    GAGC President-Elect Beth Thornbury and Legislative Liaison Laurie Ecke attended the NAGC Affiliates Conference on March 19 – 21, 2018. We learned a great deal about advocating for gifted education and current research that speaks to the need for state policies that support addressing the needs of gifted and talented children. GAGC will be moving forward on several of these ideas, and the resources from the conference are at this link: http://www.nagc.org/get-involved/advocate-high-ability-learners/legislative-action-network.

    Beth and Laurie met with several Georgia legislators or their correspondents during our day at Capitol Hill. We asked for continued support of the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program and informed them about the potential impact in our state of allowing local districts to waive gifted education. Congressman Doug Collins featured the visit in his newsletter:

  • Thursday, March 01, 2018 1:41 PM | Webmaster (Administrator)

    The revised Georgia ESSA Plan has some good news for gifted education! I believe our advocacy across the state has made a difference.

    ·       GaDOE ESSA website: http://www.gadoe.org/External-Affairs-and-Policy/communications/Pages/ESSA.aspx

    On pages 6 – 9, the ESSA application reiterates Georgia’s commitment to supporting acceleration options in middle school, including a proposal to eliminate double testing for 8th graders taking related EOC classes.

    On page 73: GaDOE will convene a meeting of Georgia’s gifted community, representing students, parents, organizations, and educators, to develop a plan to provide creative solutions to best serve Georgia’s gifted students. This plan with recommendations will be shared with members of the state legislature. In addition, GaDOE will include gifted related resources, tools, district best practices, etc. in the online “toolbox” that will be developed and made available to districts.

    This is good news for gifted and talented children in Georgia. GAGC plans to be involved in this meeting and planning!
  • Thursday, March 01, 2018 6:38 AM | Webmaster (Administrator)

    Thank you for making your voice heard! Gifted education advocates spoke out and got the attention of policy makers, and as we get ready for the school year, I wanted to share some updates.

    The GaDOE guidelines that allow districts to waive the gifted endorsement (and the ESOL endorsement/certification) remain in place. From what we understand, that means that Charter Systems and Strategic Waivers School Systems that have waived teacher certification and who have also included in their professional qualifications plan that they have other minimum requirements for gifted certification may choose to offer educational services to gifted students with untrained teachers and still claim the weighted gifted FTE. Districts must plan for what training they will require and may have to report to parents when a teacher does not meet the requirements they have set.

    The blanket flexibility given to districts for certification is up to district decision makers. Because of the late reversal for gifted and ESOL requirements, we believe few districts will be implementing many changes this year. We as gifted education advocates know that the gifted endorsement is fundamental to addressing the learning needs of gifted and talented students. GAGC will continue to support the need for the gifted endorsement to serve gifted students.

    The feedback period for Georgia’s draft of the ESSA plan has ended. We hope that the response from around the state may result in the GaDOE crafting a real plan of improvement for gifted education.

    Please continue to share with parents and other stakeholders the importance of letting our policy makers know how vital gifted certification and services are for our state! We will continue to keep you posted about new developments.
  • Monday, January 01, 2018 1:29 PM | Webmaster (Administrator)

    The Georgia Association for Gifted Children is excited to share that as in previous years, Governor Deal has issued a proclamation that January 2018 is Gifted Education Month in Georgia!

    The 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 us to recognize the unique learning needs of gifted and talented students and advocate for rigorous educational programming to meet these advanced learning needs.

    It is a critical time to demonstrate to decision-makers the impact of excellent gifted programming happening around our state, and Gifted Education Month provides a platform. Please join us in sharing on our Facebook page and tagging GAGC and your state representatives as you post examples of rigorous learning experiences and/or testimonials this month:

      ·       @GAGCGifted

      ·       #GiftedGA

      ·       @Governor Deal

      ·       @NAGCGifted or #NAGC

    You can look up your representatives at this link: https://www.mvp.sos.ga.gov/MVP/mvp.do.

    In honor of Gifted Education Month, please post often and also 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.

    Link to PDF of Gifted Education Month Proclamation

    The 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 us to recognize the unique learning needs of gifted and talented students and advocate for rigorous educational programming to meet these advanced learning needs.



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