Saturday, December 26, 2009

Gifted/2e Education, and More

GIFTED/2e SCHOOL IN COLORADO SPRINGS. According to a member of its steering committee, the Academy for Advanced and Creative Learning has received approval to open for the 2010-2011 school year. The charter school is to be K-8, tuition-free, and specializing in gifted and twice-exceptional children. Every child will have a personalized learning plan, and instruction will be delivered using thematic units and hands-on learning. Find out more.

DITD UPDATES "STATE MAP." The Davidson Institute for Talent Development maintains a clickable map of the United States; site visitors can use the map to view a state's gifted education policies. The map has been updated based on data from NAGC's The State of the States report. Find the map. The DITD site also has a listing of summer programs for talent development for gifted young people, residential and day programs. Find the listing.

IMAGINATION AND FANTASY. The Wall Street Journal published an article on research into make-believe in child development. According to the article, "...child-development experts are recognizing the importance of imagination and the role it plays in understanding reality. Imagination is necessary for learning about people and events we don't directly experience, such as history or events on the other side of the world." The experts suggest that parents encourage fantasy play in their children, noting in particular imaginary friends. Preschoolers who have such friends are supposedly more creative and better at seeing others' perspectives. Read the article.

READING MINDS WITH fMRI. Scientific American recently published an article titled "The Mechanics of Mind Reading." The author describes how researchers use brain imaging to try to determine mental states. For example, it's possible for a researcher to ask a subject to think either about playing tennis or roaming through the house -- and then correctly determine which mental activity the subject chose, based on brain regions activated. For those interested in this kind of mind-machine telepathy, the article covers advances in the ways researchers are interpreting the data captured by functional magnetic resonance imaging scanners.

GIFTED ED BACKLASH? Community Consolidated School District 181 serves about 4,000 students in one of the wealthiest suburban areas of Chicago. The district's vision: "To be a school district where all children experience success and exhibit excellence." Yet a local news organization reports that some district residents are calling for a reduction in the gifted education program, which costs about $1 million a year ($887,015, according to the district's website, compared to almost $6 million for special education, out of a total budget of about $50 million). The article quotes one parent as saying, “Why does such a small part of our student population get this program’s benefits? I have had children in the program, but I don’t agree with the labeling that comes with participating in the program.” Another parent thought the money could be used to reduce class sizes overall. While the number of children in the gifted program is unclear, it could be higher than 20 percent. Read the news article, and be aware that the average home price in Hinsdale, one of the suburbs in the district, is $949,610, according to Money Magazine, and the average family in Hinsdale spends over $9,000 a year on vacations. Is this protest a move for equity? Or inequity?

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