The Economics of Gifted Education

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The Economics of Gifted Education Winter 2011


  • The Most Economical Program for Gifted Learners by Lanny Ebenstein
  • The Economy of Gifted Education by U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley)
  • From the Front Lines: The Perils of Gifted Education in California by Teri Burns & Martha Flournoy
  • Keeping the Faith: California Foundation for Gifted Education Continues Grants During Financial Crisis by Judith Roseberry
  • STATE of the NATION In Gifted Education: A Lack of Commitment to Talent Development by National Association for Gifted Children
  • The Hard Truth About Going ‘Soft’ by Fareed Zakaria


  • Parent talk: Helping Children Learn about the Larger World by James Webb & Janet Gore
  • Administrator talk: The Cost of Not Supporting Our Gifted Students – Are We Shooting Ourselves in the Foot? by Carolyn R. Cooper
  • RtI2 for Gifted Learners Responding to the Instruction or Intervention Needs of Gifted Students by Beth Littrell
  • Web Watch: Economy of Giftedness by Carolyn Kottmeyer
  • Tech Tools for today’s teachers: Creating Connections on a Global Scale with Skype by Brian C. Housand
  • Technology Ideas for Home and School: Using Wikispaces to Differentiate Instruction: Ideas for Parents and Teachers by Barbara L. Branch


  • Effective Program Practices for Underserved Gifted Students by Cheryll M. Adams & Cecelia Boswell
  • 10 Things NOT to Say to Your Gifted Child: One Family’s Perspective by Nancy Heilbronner, Jennifer Heilbronner Munoz, Sarah Heilbronner, & Joshua Heilbronner


I ask you, what is the economic price we are really paying by not supporting our gifted children? The phrase, “Knowledge is power” has never been more true than in today’s knowledge-based economy. We are now living in a time when the production and distribution of knowledge is a key component for growth, wealth, businesses and employment. We, as human beings, drive creativity and innovation and have the ability to push ourselves to come up with new ideas that solve personal and global issues.

Today an individual person, using technology as a vehicle, can easily be heard by the whole world. And you don’t have to be a Churchill or a Gandhi to make an impact. You can be a young sophomore in high school who takes the time to blog creative ideas, or a gifted fifth grade child who runs a globally oriented website. At the very time when we should be investing more in our brightest minds, we’re investing less. In the United States we seem to be fixated on a short term strategy which focuses on churning out adequate test scores rather than helping to develop the minds and unique characteristics of the children who will carry our future on their shoulders. We seem willing to dig ourselves further into a globally non-competitive abyss rather than pausing, taking stock of where we’ll end up if we continue on our current path, and then redirecting ourselves toward a future that maximizes our human resources and individual talents.

In “The Cost of Not Supporting Our Gifted Students: Are We Shooting Ourselves in the Foot?” Carolyn Cooper states: U.S. innovation desperately needs our students’ creative minds. They are already in our schools, but without the human and material resources these gifted students need in order to thrive as inventors, design engineers, planners, logicians, and other types of producers, our country will soon be as adrift as other nations already are.

So, what can we do about this, considering the lack of economic support that gifted education receives? Read through the departments in this issue for ideas and resources you can utilize to help the gifted children around you develop their full self and become more global. Since schools often lack the teacher-time and resources to truly educate our children as the global citizens they need to become, Janet Gore and James Webb offer some easy-to-implement ideas for parents to help their children learn more about the world beyond the United States.

Beth Littrel’s RtI2 column discusses the economy of multipotentiality in gifted students; students who are “interested and talented in several disciplines”, and gives tips for helping them budget their time and resources to balance and develop all their interests.

In Carolyn Kottmeyer’s Web Watch column this issue she suggests some innovative educational resources and “new-fangled” approaches with an eye toward improving our “gifted students’ education, TIMSS test performance, and ultimately their contribution to our nation’s economy.”

And Brian Housand presents easy to use Skype tips in our Tech Tools for Today’s Teachers Department. He suggests ways you can utilize Skype in home or school in ways that will help today’s children become global digital citizens. In Using Voki to Differentiate Instruction: Ideas for parents and teachers, Barbara Branch explains how to use Voki, a free, user-friendly and fun application that children can utilize to create their own avatar and voice recordings for presentations, websites and at-home projects. Her suggestions include creative uses for both parents and teachers.

The information in this issue will give you some user friendly information and tools to share with your children with an eye toward developing them for the global future they face. We need to support, encourage, and educate our gifted children in ways that help them develop their individual strengths, talents, and potential for global influence, by giving them the opportunity to understand and integrate with different cultures and ideas.

But if we are not willing to invest in the education of our quick learning gifted children who might take their ideas from brain to blog in a matter of minutes—ideas that can instantly change the world’s perspective—what are we doing?

The future success of our economy depends on our willingness to invest in the gifted minds of our children so that they have the skills, the understanding, and the wherewithal, to bring our country, and the world, into the next brave new phase of knowledge development.

As final food for thought, I’d like to offer you some words from the International Handbook on Giftedness. In chapter 47, On Giftedness and Economy: The Impact of Talented Individuals on the Global Economy, Larisa V. Shavinina writes: The progress of human civilization is based on scientific, technological, educational, moral, political, and commercial achievements of the minds of its most talented individuals. The gifted are thus mainly responsible for innovations worldwide.” He concludes the chapter by stating that “Gifted and talented individuals play a great role in the economic prosperity of any country and the whole world.”

And so we must ask ourselves again, what is the real economic price we are paying by not supporting our gifted children and gifted education?