Lafayette

Apr 25, 2013 8:20 PM by Allison Bourne-Vanneck

Educators Worried Over Gifted And Talented Program Funding

Some teachers and educators are not happy with proposed funding changes that could affect high school students in Louisiana's Gifted and Talented Program.
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has approved the changes. Next, the Legislature will consider the proposal.

According to a BESE formula, the funding for Gifted and Talented students would first be cut in half, and the rest of funding would be based on testing performance. If students perform poorly, school districts could receive less money.

"The gifted classes, what they do, they really engage you. The learning style is really differentiated. So myself and all the other students can learn in their own fashion," Lafayette High School Senior Malcolm Baker said.

Malcolm says the program has helped him excel, and he now has a full ride to Texas Christian University.

"It's great because now I don't have to worry about paying for college as much. So I definitely know that the Gifted Program has helped me in that respect," Malcolm said.

Educators are concerned that less money will mean fewer courses for future students.

"That's really worrisome, that for the first time the money is not just being designated, it's like the students have to earn it," Gifted and Talented Program Supervisor Judy Huckabay said.

Funding for Gifted and Talented would partly be based on test scores in AP courses, Geometry, and Algebra II.

"We're glad to get money for those scores, but we feel like our children have been identified in the top two percent in the state, and we should not have to perform to get the money," Huckabay said.

Malcolm wants other students to have the same opportunities he's had.

"I definitely want kids who come after me to experience that same greatness that the gifted program has given me," he said.

BESE president Chas Roemer says "The changes made to the formula by the board provide districts with additional incentives for increasing student outcomes."

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