Sue Moroney has been the first Member of Parliament to blog on giftedness as we head towards Gifted Awareness Week. It has been a delight to see the flurry of responses – keep up the good work everybody! However, longer posts were held in moderation as shorter posts went up, and you now have to dig deep to find them. With her kind permission, I am reposting Tracy Riley’s excellent response here:
The Government focus on raising achievement and success for all is not problematic – EXCEPT that gifted and talented students also have a right to success and achievement of their potential. Surely if we want to improve outcomes for students in New Zealand we don’t just look at those not achieving, or nearly achieving, but also those with the potential to achieve the most, highest, greatest! I’d like to see a ‘re-storying’ of achievement raising by focusing on the ‘top’, rather than the ‘bottom’.
In my role as a member of the Board of the Gifted Kids Programme, a specialist provider for students in low income areas with high percentages of Maori and Pasifika students, I’d advocate for renewed funding – sadly, all government funding for GKP has been cut. This programme provides specialist teachers using a specially designed curriculum for gifted and talented students in a one day a week programme. Being with like minds is one of the greatest benefits the kids report – being able to spark off one another, feel accepted, think outside the square, ask the tough questions, etc in a safe learning environment. This programme also wraps professional learning and development around working with students, providing opportunities for their teachers from contributing schools to gain knowledge and skills in gifted education.
This programme should be part of a continuum of opportunities for gifted students and their teachers. Funding for gifted and talented education needs to be raised from a mere $1.27 million per annum and targetted towards professional learning and development for teachers, as well as programmes targetting those students most likely to be underserved: low income, Maori and Pasifika, rural, and with disabilities.
If you have responses that you want Sue Moroney to read, please add them to her post on Labour’s Red Alert blog. We have discovered that short replies seem to jump to the head of the queue on the Labour blog, just in case that helps you! Other comments are welcome here, and yes, you will wait for moderation here too. Sorry about that!