Gifted and Special Education in Texas

Going over the news I’ve bookmarked a while ago I found a brief story from FortBendNow.com “FBISD Gifted and Talented Academy Students Connect with Real World,” by John Pope that talked about gifted students “learning about the nutritional perspectives of various cultural food items, including those representative of the Latino, Indian and Asian cultures.”

FBISC is the Fort Bend Independent School District funded by the taxes collected by the Fort Bend County in Texas. The district introduced a gifted program in 1990. According to their Gifted and Talented section of the FBISC’s site, GT program is available for identified GT students at every grade level in every school throughout the district. Kindergartners start getting GT services in February of their Kindergarten year.

Texas has a mandate to identify and serve gifted students, (see the Genius Denied, Gifted Education Policies site), and the programming is partially funded by state.

The mandate “that all school districts must identify and serve gifted students at all grade levels” was passed in 1987. (I found this info on the Texas Education Agency “Gifted/Talented Education” page.)

The “Gifted/Talented Education” page has a lot of interesting links. I especially liked the Texas Performance Standards Project link which led me to the “Texas Performance Standards Project Additional Tasks” page with links to specific projects for various grades.

Other interesting info I found on the “Gifted/Talented Education” page were the “G/T Teacher Toolkit II: Resources for Teachers of G/T, AP and Pre-AP Classes” page; and the “Gifted and Talented Teacher Toolkit,” which interestingly includes a link to a page titled “Seven Essential Instructional Strategies for Powerful Teaching Learning” hosted at the Bellingham (Washington State) Public Schools site.

I wish we lived in a state with a gifted mandate…

But on the other hand, I saw a post on ADD Forums from a parent from Texas whose child has been diagnosed with ADHD impulsive at 3 ½ years old and she did not want to enroll him in a public school because did not want him “labeled as special ed” (post # 7 in the “Came home and just cried tonight” thread) because he’d be “thrown into resource classes or self contained classes.” (post # 27 in the same thread). I guess they don’t do as much inclusion in Texas as they should be. Also, the neuropsych doctor who evaluated my son is from Texas and she said that autistic kids do not get very good services around there.

Yet, the FBISD site includes a page titled “Gifted Students with Disabilities,” which includes a section on Giftedness and ADHD, so I suppose that district does recognize (and possibly serves) gifted students with disabilities.

By the way, in case anyone is interested what (average) kids in Texas are supposed to know at each grade level, here’s the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) page.