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
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: