Published Online: October 14, 1998
Published in Print: October 14, 1998, as Gifted Education

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Voucher Proposal: Because of state budget cuts and a lack of cohesive public school programs for the gifted and talented, many gifted children do not receive a stimulating and appropriate education, most researchers agree.

Now, two researchers are using that situation to argue that gifted children should be given taxpayer-financed vouchers to pay for supplemental education programs. In an article in the July 1998 issue of the journal Educational Policy, Bruce D. Baker and Craig E. Richards contend that low-income students whose families cannot afford after-school and summer academic programs, in particular, should be given such vouchers.

Mr. Baker is an assistant education professor at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Mr. Richards is a professor of education and associate chairman of the department of organization and leadership at Teachers College, Columbia University.

The responsibility for the education of gifted children has shifted from the schools to the parents, they say, and "increasingly, the families of gifted children cannot afford to purchase an appropriate education," Mr. Baker and Mr. Richards write.

Under the model they propose, states would give funding either to districts or to families, based on wealth, and schools would provide parents with information on state-approved supplemental programs their children could attend.

Districts would also be charged with better identifying minority and low-income students, who are typically underrepresented in gifted and talented programs, the authors say.

Some supplemental programs, such as Duke University's summer Talent Identification Program, offer private scholarships to low-income students. ("TIP Top," Aug. 5, 1998.)

Gift Ideas: It's never to early to start holiday shopping. With that in mind, the National Association for Gifted Children has released its annual recommendations for educational toys.

The editors of the group's Parenting for High Potential magazine, along with children, parents, and educators, tested dozens of toys for three essential qualities. They decided that all the toys chosen must be fun, educational, and stand the test of time. This year's 18 picks range from a finger painting kit and Crayola crayons for young children to secret-code puzzles and a model kit that uses solar power, for ages 9 and up.

For a copy of the list, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to NAGC Holiday Toy List, 1707 L St. N.W., Suite 550, Washington, DC 20036.

--JOETTA L. SACK jsack@epe.org

Vol. 18, Issue 7, Page 5

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