MAGE Gifted Education Advocacy
Because Massachusetts is in the bottom few states in the nation for gifted education, our brightest students need our help.
There are no laws, requirements, recommendations, support, or funding for gifted education from the state.
It is no wonder that less than 5% of our school districts have programs for gifted and talented students and many of those are struggling to provide those students with an education that is commensurate with their abilities.
Therefore, MAGE has a very active advocacy committee.
MAGE Advocacy works on the state level by engaging with:
the Massachusetts legislature
the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and
the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)
We are a team of dedicated volunteers made up of people from all walks of life who care about the education of our state's brightest children. We believe that the state should help these children get an appropriate education.
Update on Gifted Education Bills
Thank you to all of you who advocated for the five gifted education bills by speaking at the state house hearings in June, talking with your legislators about the gifted report, and writing an amazing 271 emails to the Education Committee!
It is disappointing that at the February 5th deadline the Education Committee has not allowed the bills to proceed further. We can all be proud, we have raised awareness on an ever-growing scale with many more legislators, something we will build on in our next efforts. The legislative cycle is not over yet, and we are now exploring other options to still make state-wide legislative support of beyond-grade learners happen this year.
Details on the bills:
Referred to the Joint Committee on Education:
Referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary:
For quick reference, please read the Summaries of each of the bills!
THANK YOU to Representatives Naughton and Kelcourse for co-presenting the House bills, Senator DiZoglio for filing the Senate bills (by request), and to the numerous legislators who have signed on as co-sponsors.
MA Gifted Study Update
As a result of successful advocacy work in 2017-2018, funding for a gifted study was appropriated by the Massachusetts legislature and signed by Governor Baker. This study has been released in August 2019, see the full report.
" ...provided further, that not less than $50,000 shall be expended by the department to study and report on a policy and practice review, along with a needs assessment, regarding education in the public schools, of the children who are capable of achieving beyond the age-based grades and those who are gifted as defined by federal law;.."
From the Conclusions of the report:
"The current approach of Massachusetts, with few gifted programs and not much attention to gifted education, is not serving students well. The Commonwealth can and should take actions to make certain that all students, including advanced and gifted students of all races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic characteristics, have opportunities to engage in meaningful learning and rise to their potential. Massachusetts will benefit from unleashing the untapped potential of high-achieving students.
As should be clear, Massachusetts is an outlier in the country in its hands-off approach to identifying and serving gifted students."
The report recommends the creation of a statewide task force, which will:
Define giftedness and measures to assess giftedness;
Determine most effective way to collect data on gifted students; and
Consider best practices of other states and districts.
The report also urges the state to:
Establish state policy and guidelines on acceleration;
Track and report on the excellence gap; identify and implement strategies to close it.
Include instruction on the learning needs of gifted students as part of teacher training for all teachers; and
Hire staff at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education with expertise in gifted students and gifted education.
These findings and recommendations are highly consistent with MAGE's bills in the legislature. All of these recommendations and findings substantiate what MAGE has known for a long time.
Thank you to all of you who sent their input to the study researcher!
Thank you for making your voice heard! Now make sure your legislators know about this study, from you!
Federal Law Highlight
ESSA Creates Opportunities for Parent Advocates
For the first time in history, our main U.S. education law, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), passed in December 2015, now includes provisions that support gifted and talented students.
There are specific enumerated provisions to support gifted and talented learners in both Title I and Title II of ESSA.
Administrators may not be aware of these provisions yet, your teachers and educators may need to be educated about these new requirements and allowable uses of funds.
Title I funds may be used to support eligible Title I gifted and talented learners.
Title II money must be used to help teachers support gifted and talented students.
For a full explanation of these new provisions, please read this summary.
For general Q&A, as well as specific provisions, please visit these links:
Resources and Data Collections
For full reports, click on titles.