Tuesday, September 8, 2009
I must admit, I am a strong proponent of public education DONE RIGHT. Those last two words carry a lot of weight in my mind. “DONE RIGHT” means, public education must be delivered in accordance with applicable law, in a transparent and accountable manner.
Which leads us to Gifted Education—a requirement of state law. Consequently, the identification of gifted students, per state law, and the delivery of services to that population is mandatory. It is not an issue for a Maryland public school system to somehow evade.
That being said, we reach the issue of a “LABEL,” advocated by proponents.
Their first argument is that the state law somehow mandates it ("State law (binding on both MCPS and MSDE) and current Policy IOA require identification of students as “gifted and talented” on a binary (gifted or not gifted) basis—the 'label.'"). Not so. Take a look at the ease at which that argument can be rebutted click here, here, and here).
The second argument, cogently stated by John Hoven, goes as follows, "On the other hand, if gifted children are labelled, we can count them, and determine that 20% or 30% of the student population is "gifted." Numbers like that are difficult to ignore. That puts pressure on MCPS to at least pretend to do something for them. And that makes it easier for advocates to put pressure on MCPS to do something for them that will actually help them learn something.”
This argument merits careful consideration because I BELIEVE MCPS must be compelled to keep a census of student receiving services under the law. However, the argument that a LABEL must be assigned to do so is a quantum jump there from.
Why? Take a look at the way the Information Management System (IMS) keeps track of students identified for services. Look at the right most column—it tracks if a student is indeed selected for services under the law. Modern day technology, has the way and the means to keep an accurate count. Giving a parent a LABEL has had no influence on the counting. We know how easy it was for me to show that GT was gamed. So, the absence or presence of a public label makes no difference to either the legal delivery of services or the census taking.
If parents are somehow determined to ensure MCPS is held accountable by keeping a count of students receiving GT services, then join me and demand, yes, demand, that the census must be retained even if the LABEL is replaced by my PARENT LETTER.