Do gifted students deserve an appropriate education, too?
The answer to this question seems extremely simple. “Yes,” every reasonable person would say, “of course gifted kids deserve an appropriate education.”
But that appropriate education, which, by the way, is protected under the law in Louisiana, is often hard to find.
Take a child I know personally, for example. He is a student identified as gifted and thus protected under Louisiana law, so it should be easy for him to get an appropriate education, right? Not so! Year after year, his parent hopes and prays that her son will be educated appropriately without having to fight and fuss with her parish.
Year after year, her hopes and dreams are squashed as she is faced with yet another example of how unimportant and undervalued gifted children are in her parish.
Since this child is above grade level, he is being forced to teach himself a subject on a computer at the back of the room, while a teacher teaches the rest of the class.
He is made to feel inferior; he is left confused as to why he doesn’t get a teacher to teach him, he is silently angry at the injustice of it all.
Not surprisingly, this method isn’t working for this elementary student. Of course, his parents have brought this to the parish’s attention, and since he has an Individualized Education Program, it should be addressed and fixed immediately. It hasn’t been.
This parish refuses to make available an actual teacher for this child. The year is more than halfway over, and he still sits at the back of the room, separate and not equal to the rest of his class. He struggles to verbalize his frustration at the inequality he is experiencing daily, which is causing him to get failing grades while passing with flying colors his proficiency testing.
This is just one of the many stories of the damage being done to our gifted children every day in Louisiana. Legal obligations aside, educating our gifted children is the moral and ethical thing to do. For more information on gifted advocacy, go to www.LAGIFTED.org.