So when I woke up one morning from an unsettling dream,
I found myself changed into a monstrous vermin...
- Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis
Kafka’s first sentence from his novella is the perpetual state of who I am as a resource specialist for Advanced Studies. I embrace this reality.
My district’s abnormally high number of “identified” gifted students whose families live in the college town brings unique challenges to an educator like me who has to operate within the state’s budgetary crumbs. Despite the legislation Article 9B that explicitly states that gifted services be provided through the local plan, by the time allotted monies from the county commissioners are distributed to the local district, they get spent on other crisis that demand attention. And I get to pick on the leftovers.
Because I felt like my round back was laid against the floor with my feeble arms and legs wringing in the air, all I could do was to spend each day listening to people and their values behind their opinions whenever possible. There were times I tried to advocate on what students truly needed, but my voice came out as a distant hiss no one cared to listen.
".... Education policy creates the rules and standards by which limited resources are allocated to meet perceived needs"
- Dr. Jonathan Plucker, Johns Hopkins University
I realized that my entomological existence was the manifestations of the reality of educational policy that has a tendency to focus on the now of the educational crisis where the monies vaporize before they reach the needs of the brightest and the gifted. No matter how much the administrators and the district leaders advocate and support my endeavors, the existing barriers and troubles on advanced studies are deeply connected to federal and the state legislature.
It’s the failure to connect the importance of strong education policy on gifted education that shapes the infrastructure necessary to bring about change at the local level.
There isn’t much I can do to change the state of my being as a vermin. I woke up and there I was, but this is not to say that I am hopeless.
Knowing that it’s really the policy that’s causing the heartache, perhaps that in itself may be the hope that something can be done on my own end. I am not quite sure what kind of ladder I need to climb to effectively bring change to the policy at the state and federal level; however, there are some things I plan to do for the next several months to increase the sphere of my influence as a shareholder.
Here are my notes. I hope to:
Attend 2019 Leadership & Advocacy Conference, Alexandria, VA
Support and sharing gifted education policy resources with classroom teachers who are enrolled in the AIG licensure program LAUNCH via Elon University.
Join the district’s AIG Plan Writing Team with other Gifted Specialists to revise the upcoming local plan.
Lead a poster session at NCAGT to share out the underrepresented gifted clubs my colleagues and I founded at our school.
Present effective gifted models that work at North Carolina Association for Middle Level Education
Gallagher, J. (2015). Political issues in gifted education. Journal for the Education of the Gifted. 38(1). 77-89. doi:// 10.1177/0162353214565546
Plucker, J., Makel, M., Matthews, M., Peters, S. & Rambo-Hernandez, K. (2017). Blazing new trails: Strengthening policy research in gifted education. Gifted Child Quarterly. 61(3). 210-218.
Vella, A (2014). “Metamorphosis” Retrieved from https://www.salzmanart.com/alexei-vella.html