The Arizona Association for Gifted & Talented has provided us with this detailed update and targeted call to action. Even if you have already sent an email to your legislator, send another one with the talking points below. This will help draw attention to the need for gifted education to have its funds reinstated. Remember that it is the sqeaky wheel that gets the grease!
An Affiliate of the National Association for Gifted Children
IMPORTANT Legislative Call to Action!
March 24, 2016
Gifted Education Needs Your Support
We are writing this special AAGT newsletter to present you with an immediate opportunity to make a difference in gifted education in the state. This legislative session has seen several targeted investments in education in Arizona. We need your help to make sure gifted education is one of those targets.
Your legislators need to hear from you TODAY that gifted education is budget priority.
The more vocal our community can be showing support of gifted education, the more likely it is that we will get this funding restored. Here is what you need to know:
Arizona schools are mandated to provide services to gifted students. During the Great Recession, this funding was eliminated, yet our schools still operate under the unfunded mandate to provide gifted education. For the last six years this has meant fewer highly qualified teachers, fewer gifted classrooms, and less administrative support for these programs. This year, members of Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented have met with legislators, testified before the House Education Committee, and reached out to countless parents, teachers, and administrators about the need to restore funding for gifted education.
Now we need your help to keep up the momentum. As the legislature begins negotiations over a final budget, we need you, the greatest advocates for your gifted students, to get involved. Will you please write your representatives today and tell them that this vital funding should be restored?
- Restored funding helps gifted students. We know that the hallmark of giftedness is the exceptional ability to reason and learn. Gifted students learn differently and need well-trained teachers who challenge and support them in order to fully develop their abilities.
- Restored funding helps parents by increasing opportunities for their child. We all know parents who are willing to brave any traffic and travel any distance to find the school best able to meet their child’s needs. A quality education for gifted students should be available no matter where you live within the State. Gifted classrooms in both public and charter schools are included in this measure.
- Restored funding helps teachers by funding training in identifying gifted pupils in underserved populations as well as training teachers in gifted child development and gifted teaching strategies.
- Restored funding helps the Arizona economy by investing in the future Arizona workforce. Funding gifted classrooms creates the homegrown talent needed in this State for a robust economy in the coming years.
Representative Heather Carter has worked with AAGT to propose two items for the
budgetary process that need your support:
- A commitment of one million dollars to partially fund gifted programs according to existing law as a one-year pilot.
- The creation of a study committee to review whether gifted funding is more appropriately placed in Group B funding rather than Group A funding. This distinction matters because under Arizona’s school funding regime, Group A funding is pooled funding, rather than distinct, per-pupil funding. Moving gifted to Group B funding would provide, and potentially add, more stable funds to gifted classrooms in addition to encouraging the identification of gifted students in all populations.
Would you show your support of gifted education?
Step One: Click Here to find your legislators.
Step Two: Cut and paste the letter (or create your own) into the email box.
My name is (INSERT YOUR NAME), and I want to encourage you to restore funding for gifted education in Arizona. I am a (PARENT OF A GIFTED CHILD; GIFTED EDUCATOR; GIFTED STUDENT) and a member of Arizona Association for Gifted & Talented. Gifted Education is a state mandate, yet it has not been funded in Arizona since FY2009, even though gifted pupils have different and unique learning challenges.
Gifted education needs to be a budget priority. A targeted investment in gifted education is evidence based, and helps students, teachers and the economy alike.
There is a common myth that gifted students will do fine on their own. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many gifted students are so far ahead of their same-age peers that they know more than half of the grade-level curriculum before the school year begins. Their resulting boredom and frustration can lead to low achievement, despondency, or unhealthy work habits. The role of the teacher is crucial for spotting and nurturing talents in school. It is often difficult for parents of gifted children to find academic programs and teachers who understand the strengths and struggles of gifted kids.
Investing in Arizona’s gifted children is an investment in our Intellectual Capital and our State’s economy. It will foster a home-grown workforce to fuel growing local businesses. Restoring funding to gifted education will help fund the training of teachers in identifying gifted pupils in underserved populations as well as training teachers in child development and gifted teaching strategies.
The philosophy of gifted education is to identify and support a student’s strengths as well as in their areas of struggle. When gifted education is supported this philosophy can permeate the schools and make a difference in the education of ALL students.
Please make restoring this funding a priority during budget negotiations by supporting the one year, one million dollar pilot funding for gifted education and supporting a study committee to review whether gifted funding would be more appropriately placed in Group B funding rather than Group A.
(INSERT YOUR NAME)
Step Three: Please speak to your friends, family, teachers, and principal in support of this
Step Four: Please make a phone call, send a thank you email, Facebook message or tweet to Representative Carter and Senator Dial for their support of Arizona gifted education.
Thank you so much!
Arizona Association for Gifted and Talented
PO Box 51772, Phoenix, Arizona 85076-1772 Phone 602-882-1848