In a retrospective post written in October on the World of Learning blog (Three Decades of Indifference) I laid out a dismaying set of missed opportunities and our resultant failure to serve academically gifted students in spite of the alarming call to action published in A Nation at Risk 30 years ago.
The very next day I received a copy of Closing America’s High-Achievement Gap, written by noted education expert Andy Smarick. Chock full of resources and ideas for donors to spur high-achieving students into appropriate learning environments, this publication from The Philanthropy Roundtable is available as a free download and should be required reading for any gifted advocate, education policy influencer, parent or teacher of academically gifted students.
From the Preface:
“Of the 60 million or so American school children, how many are learners who are never challenged to their full potential? How many students of every economic, ethnic, and geographic group will languish in school not because it is too difficult or they lack drive, but because paltry academic options they are afforded fail to stretch or challenge them?
The donors profiled in this guidebook show that philanthropy can dramatically enhance the learning level of high-potential students, including those from low-income families. This work can be taken up on its own, or woven seamlessly into broader education support. But if ambitious and passionate donors fail to make this issue a priority, it is likely to remain one of the great failings of the U.S. education system for decades to come, penalizing many children and the nation as a whole.”
How appropriate to receive this clarion call just as I was bemoaning the lack of progress for gifted children over the last 30 years. With gifted education under attack in Ohio (see this Advocacy Alert from OAGC) the timing could not have been better. With a neat and tidy guidebook showing multiple paths for donors to have maximum impact, who will lead the charge on behalf of these students?