Friday, June 01, 2007

Gifted Ed gets its day in court...Supreme Court

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This is big, people.

I recently heard about a family who was petitioning their public school district to pay for school their special needs son to attend a private school. Yeah, right, I laughed. No way that's gonna happen. No way, because the child in question was gifted, not severely delayed, disabled, ill or autistic.

After two disappointing years in public school we transferred Smartypants to a private school for gifted kids. This move is among the best things we've ever done for him. But it's expensive and only getting more costly.

I snooped around in the gifted community. Any chance we could get our public school to pay tuition-even just cough up the per-pupil expenditure? No. Never. Well, maybe when cows fly. Guess why? Because gifted children are not legally entitled to an education that meets their special needs or helps them reach their potential. Forget that he learned very little, had almost no friends and was becoming increasingly depressed.

Guess how much Illinois spent on gifted education last year? Don't think too hard, the answer is nothing. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. How nice to hear on today's morning news that our legislators voted raises for themselves yesterday. Grrrr.

So anyway, one brave, persistent mom sued the state of California to get them to pay for her young son to go to college. The Supreme Court is hearing the case now. You can read the details here.

These are the questions presented for review:
1) Does the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) expressly preclude any determination that an extremely gifted child is a "special needs" child capable of being qualified for funding related to his or her individual educational needs?

2. Does the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLBA) exclude extremely gifted children from receiving publicly funded education tailored to their highly specialized psycho-social needs?

I've been wondering these things for years. It will be nice to finally get some answers.