Gifted Students in Rural Schools Often Overlooked, According to New Report

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Academically gifted students who live in rural areas are often overlooked because their schools have inadequate resources and are isolated from cultural opportunities, a report concludes.

The problem has been overshadowed because of the education community's preoccupation with the plight of urban schools, argue the researchers from the University of Iowa in Iowa City who conducted the study.

"Gifted Education in Rural Schools: A National Assessment" was released late last month by researchers from the university's Connie Belin and Jacqueline N. Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development.

Their study found that many gifted students in rural schools do not have access to opportunities such as Advanced Placement classes and field trips to cultural events. In addition, they are often socially isolated from their peers. ("TIP Top," Aug. 5, 1998.)

For More Information

Single copies of the report are $20, plus postage and handling, from the Belin-Blank Center, Attn: Rural Report, 210 Lindquist Center, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1529.

"Just by the very definition, when a school is very small and in a rural setting, there are not a lot of kids identified as gifted and talented," Nicholas Colangelo, the director of the Belin-Blank Center, said in an interview.

The students "miss out on opportunities because schools wouldn't see it as cost-effective," he added.

National Program

In response the findings, the University of Iowa hopes to set up a national program to help rural schools meet the needs of their gifted students.

Mr. Colangelo said the Belin-Blank Center is looking at ways to offer distance-learning opportunities, as well as scholarships to enable more students to attend summer programs at the university.

The center also hopes to launch an effort to better train teachers in rural schools to identify talent.

"We know we can do a lot more in terms of teacher quality," he said.

The report was released at the first meeting of the Belin-Blank Center's conference on gifted education, held last month.

The center is planning to host conferences every two years to release reports on the status of rural gifted education.

Vol. 18, Issue 38, Page 7

Published in Print: June 2, 1999, as Gifted Students in Rural Schools Often Overlooked, According to New Report
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