Inaugural Issue

Excellence and Diversity in Gifted Education

Volume 1, Issue 1
Spring 2014


We are very excited to announce the inaugural edition of Excellence and Diversity in Gifted Education for The Association for the Gifted, a division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC-TAG). This peer-reviewed journal is unique among journals devoted to gifted education because of its specific focus on diversity.  Excellence and Diversity in Gifted Education was named EDGE for three important reasons:

1)      First, EDGE highlights the issues, challenges, and joys faced by parents, teachers, counselors, therapists, and individuals themselves who are often marginalized because they are on the “edges” of gifted education due to factors that impact the development of their talents. Issues such as cultural and linguistic diversity, disability, gender and gender identity, and geographical location can impact the identification and development of gifts and talents.

2)      Secondly, EDGE focuses on the need to recognize and promote excellence among diverse learners. Diversity is a strength, not a deficit. A focus on excellence provides opportunities for growth and development across domains and contexts.

3)      Lastly, the goal of this journal is to present cutting-edge information—research, interviews, concepts, ideas, strategies, and practical suggestions—about diverse populations of people with gifts and talents.

As the founding editors, Jennifer Jolly and Claire Hughes seek to provide a range of diverse voices. This issue features an emphasis on legal issues. Kim Hymes, the legal liaison from the Council for Exceptional Children, provides an outline of federal legal issues in gifted education. Terry Friedrichs offers an overview of the ongoing legal battles GLBTQ face. Michael Eig, Rich Weinfeld and Paula Rosenstock focus on the legal challenges and protections faced by twice-exceptional (2e) children, while Cecelia Boswell presents how practitioners can help 2e children from a teacher’s perspective.

Another exciting facet of this inaugural edition is the use of interactive links because of the online nature of the journal. Additional information while reading an article is available in hyperlinks throughout several of the articles. The interactive and hyperlinked experience is one that we will continue to cultivate and one that we hope that readers will take full advantage.

Future editions will continue to add to the voices of those who work with and are concerned about gifted children on the “edges.” The goal of this journal is to encourage new understandings about what it means to be gifted and help promote the unique needs of this population of learners.

 


 

Table of Contents

Ignoring the Evidence: How Federal Education Policy Stifles Gifted Education

by Kim Hymes

Ms. Johnston is an elementary school principal who works tirelessly to support the complex and comprehensive needs of more than 300 elementary school students, 85% of whom receive free or reduced lunch. When asked how she serves students with gifts and talents, her answer is quick and direct, “We don’t have any gifted students at our school.” Instead, she shares that most of her students are low performers and her focus has been on getting students to reach proficiency. After all, she says, her school has failed to meet state and federal benchmarks for years and getting students to reach an advanced level is a luxury she doesn’t have time for now.

 

Jessica: A Case Study Approach

by Cecelia Boswell

This piece presents the questions we often pose in reference to twice-exceptional students. The purpose of this student’s story is to provide entre for a teacher-to-teacher discussion about this student, Jessica*, who offers the outward appearance of gifted abilities, yet struggles in math and reads slowly. At the end of this piece are discussion questions that will add insight into teachers’ belief systems and experiences. Additional readings are provided for reference.

 

Appropriately Serving an Emerging Group: Educational Practices and Legal Implications for Gifted GLBT Students

By Terry Friedrichs

Gifted gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) youth have been increasingly mentioned in recent years in gifted education presentations, publications, and position papers (Friedrichs, 2012; Hutcheson, 2012; National Association for Gifted Children [NAGC], 2001; Treat & Friedrichs, 2013). Yet, due to only recently-abating anti-GLBT bias in schools (Gay Lesbian Straight Educators Network [GLSEN], 2014), gifted GLBT students are just now emerging in significant numbers, a recent trend that has left their educational traits relatively unresearched. In turn, because of these students’ “hidden” characteristics, educational recommendations on gifted GLBT youth seem almost as broadly and hazily written as they were 20 years ago (Friedrichs & Etheridge, 1995; Keener, 2013). With seldom-discussed traits and overly general professional recommendations, many of these students remain unnoticed and inappropriately programmed for (Keener, 2013).

 

Legal Issues in Identifying and Serving Twice-Exceptional Gifted Learners

by Michael J. Eig, Rich Weinfeld, & Paula Rosenstock

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) estimates that there are approximately 3 million academically gifted children in grades K–12 in the United States. There is a subset in this population—those students who evidence the potential for high achievement in areas such as specific academics, general intellectual ability, creativity, leadership, and/or visual, spatial or performing arts, but who also have an educational disability that makes some aspect of achievement in school difficult. CEC estimates that there are approximately 360,000 students in this category nationwide. These students are considered to be “twice-exceptional.” It is important to note that there is great variability within the population and their concomitant exceptionalities often mask each other. The one common characteristic of this group, however, is that they simultaneously possess attributes of giftedness as well as an area(s) of disability, which could include issues of general learning, or physical, sensory, attention, social/emotional, or behavioral functioning.

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