Momentum certainly started to increase in the attempts to meet the educational needs of gifted students since the changes in the New Zealand National Administration Guideliness in February, 2005. There has been a slowing to some extent, in keeping with the global recession, but things are still improving.
Please don’t expect this to be a miraculous overnight panacea. Some parents of gifted children will tell you that change has been slow-moving in their schools. Others can report brilliant changes to the management and implementation of gifted education in their schools. Be advised – if you are a parent in a school community that has not been asked for your input by now, into what the gifted education policy should contain, then your school had either just written the policy before the NAG change, or they are not consulting the school community as much as the ministry was expecting them to do. Each school was given the job of defining gifted education in terms that suited their local community and with their own entry criteria. This should have been commented on by the school community before the policy was finalised. Maybe you need to attend a board meeting and ask some questions.
By consulting with their immediate community, it was hoped that gifted education policies and practice in New Zealand would reflect the local cultural views of the community.
Depending on how multi-cultural your school community is, there could be some very wide views of giftedness, and possibly some very narrow views. This policy was not going to guarantee any greater input for individual students, but rather a more general input benefiting a wider range of gifted pupils.
Are we not just falling to a majority rules provision again, to a group of children who need to be treated individually? Does this rely too much on an educator’s personal view of giftedness, or the vocal majority? Let us not short-change our teachers any more – expecting them to be skilled in an area of teaching that hasn’t been defined in such a way that teacher educators can ensure they provide the training needed.