A Hearty Thank You to All Who Contributed to Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented on Arizona Gives Day!  Over $500 was raised to carry on our Advocacy efforts on behalf of the gifted students of Arizona, provide scholarships to students and teachers and offer an outstanding Parent Institute and Annual Conference each year.

You have made a difference and we appreciate you!

Urgent Call to Action! — A Revised Plan

For us in gifted education, we have watched the effects of NCLB on gifted students with disappointment and confusion. Under NCLB, gifted students reported a lack of challenge and opportunity for advancement. We watched a movement of “Bright Flight” where parents of gifted students would search and move their students from public, to private, to homeschools, to charter schools and back again to find a place where there would have equitable access to appropriate curriculum and instruction for their children who are capable of working above and beyond their age level peers.

During this time, we also observed less and less opportunity for students from low-income families and students from underserved populations to reach advanced levels of academic performance. This Excellence Gap appears in elementary school and widens through high school and beyond. Undeniable research shows there are gifted students in every demographic regardless of culture or income. Where are our “hidden gems?” Often, the chance to attend another school beyond their neighborhood school is not possible. We need to strive for equitable opportunities in all schools.

The result of neglecting our bright high achieving students is that we in Arizona, are not adequately preparing them to attend higher education institutions or to be able to meet the challenges of careers and jobs we want to attract to our state. Without those companies who demand a highly capable workforce here in our state, our intellectual capital will leave the state and seek employment elsewhere. It is an economic issue to provide gifted pupils gifted education commensurate with their academic abilities.

A recent report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, Equal Talents, Unequal Opportunities, a 50 state report card, identifies three best practices that if implemented, can end the Excellence Gap and put more students on the path to success: identify high-achieving, low- income students and students from underserved populations, create pathways for them to access advanced learning and monitor their progress by reporting on their outcomes.

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