Friday, April 20, 2012

Advocating Nationally for Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Gifted Learners

I have been a member of the National Association for  Gifted Children for a number of years and recently have become more active in the organization's leadership. After serving two terms as the chair of the Diversity & Equity Committee (now, share that role as co-chair with my friend and colleague, Dr. Margarita Bianco), I am increasingly concerned that the organization as well as other national leaders in education do all they can to 'pay attention to' the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse learners.

I'm fairly vocal and after many years on the 'front' in various roles in education, I don't mind speaking up and asking for what is needed. I'm too seasoned to 'dance around the issues' anymore.  I work feverishly in this cause because I know that there are so many high ability, gifted, highly gifted students all over this country who need vocal advocates. These children are counting on us to attend school board meetings, write editorials, join organizations, lobby, take on leadership roles, publish academic materials, develop new curriculum,  and share resources until we can ensure that every child who needs access to high end curriculum, challenging instruction, in the most rigorous and sensitive environment has what they need!

This seems to be a noble goal to some and maybe even 'utopia' to others. There are those who don't even believe that the cld gifted learner belongs in programs with others- that it's okay to identify and serve as long as they separated from the 'traditional gifted' crowd. Well, this brings to mind the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that 'separate is inherently unequal'. What we want for the cld gifted learner is access to program services that are characterized by excellence just as those services that others have access to. This is America. We want these students to go to the same quality programs as others, we want the 'playing field leveled'. To do this, we need strong national advocates to ask for funding, quality training in gifted education programs for culturally diverse teachers, and research dollars to continue learning more about 'best practice' in this field.

To maintain any national presence in  America, cld students can no longer be left out or be just an after-thought or be an issue addressed just to appease a few vocal advocates (hint, hint). CLD students are the face of America. ...

To help school districts, parents, advocates of CLD gifted students, the NAGC has posted a Position Paper on its website. You can access the paper here -http://nagc.org/uploadedFiles/PDF/Position_Statement_PDFs/Identifying%20and%20Serving%20Culturally%20and%20Linguistically%20Diverse%20Gifted%20Students.pdf

Read this paper, ponder over it, download it and share with others. The Diversity & Equity Committee members responsible for developing it believe that the paper will make a difference in school districts nationwide. We also believe that our international neighbors will draw from its wisdom for their students, as well. I'm pleased to be a part of the NAGC and to interact w/ the leadership and members who feel as passionately as I do about ensuring that all gifted learners have a chance at the American Dream~ They deserve it, don't you agree?

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