California Educator

May 2011

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Pullout programs Jordan Turner’s favorite day of the week is the day he spends with teacher Kathy Scrivner at Stockdale Elementary School. He and other gifted fifth-grad- ers throughout the district are bused to her GATE classroom for enrichment ac- tivities that expand upon the core cur- riculum in their regular classrooms. With Scrivner, they enjoy creativity, critical thinking and philosophical dis- cussions that might leave their other classmates in the dust. Students also ex- plore new and different topics of study and are offered opportunities for inde- pendent study projects. The Panama Buena Vista Union School District in Bakersfield offers a aBove: Fifth-grader Julie Rogers works on an art project inspired by artist Joan Miró in Kathy Scrivner’s pullout enrichment class at Stockdale Elementary in Bakersfield. “pullout” program for gifted students in grades 4-6. If they score at the advanced level on the STAR test, they are eligible for further testing with the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test. Of the district’s 15,000 students, nearly 400 have been identified as gifted, including Jordan Turner. When Ten years ago, gifted students received specialized instruction in GATE block Evergreen School District on a weekly basis. That was cut to a few hours every other week. Last year the district in San Jose decided to completely eliminate its program serving nearly 800 gifted students. is on the chopping The hidden costs of cutting programs for the gifted “Teachers are working hard to try and meet the needs of all of their students,” says Bryan Feci, a fourth-grade teacher at Holly Oak Elementary School. “But it can be very chal- lenging when you have 30 stu- dents and so much emphasis about having kids from the bot- tom move upward. In the pro- cess, you don’t want to lose kids who are proficient and above.” Some fear that may happen as districts struggle to keep their Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) programs afloat. This year nearly $40 million in GATE purposes. The state Legislative Analyst’s Office reported that 68 percent of 231 school districts surveyed had shifted resources away from GATE education. At the federal level, the entire $7 million bud- get for GATE — used for the purpose of identifying gifted students — was eliminated. Not all states have reduced Bryan Feci GATE programs, comments Jo- seph Renzulli, director of the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. But those states, including Califor- funding was made available to districts (with $4.2 million deferred until next year), compared with $46.8 million allocated in 2008-09. But the Legislature put categori- cal programs into “Tier 3,” which allows districts to apply for GATE funding and then use the money for other 20 California Educator | MAY 2011 nia, where GATE programs have been cut or eliminated are under extreme pressure to bring up test scores. “Under this type of thinking, the achieve- ment gap separating students will be closed by pulling from the top rather than jacking it up from the bottom,” Renzulli says. Other districts in California that have sus- budget for GATE was eliminated. $7 million At the federal level, the entire

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