Sunday, May 28, 2017


The Advocacy Committee will meet from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon on Saturday mornings, usually at IMSA. For the dates, visit the Board & Committee Chairs webpage.


The focus of the Advocacy Committee is to require the same level of accountability for gifted and talented children as required for all children in Illinois. We insist that gifted and talented children are entitled to an education where they can learn all day, every day and have measures in place to inform educators and parents that they are in deed making academic progress. We must go beyond knowing that gifted and talented children “score at the top” and focus on their learning growth. The Advocacy Committee continues to work at creating a statewide network with the goal of personally contacting every legislator to explain the support needed for the gifted and talented children in Illinois. From an economic standpoint it is imperative to collect the necessary data to ensure that gifted and talented children are truly making academic progress. We are looking for support from the business community to make this goal a reality.



NAGC Urges States to Enact Policies to Support High-Ability Learners

NAGC video: Rationale for Gifted Education 5:34

NAGC Position Paper, 9/2013: Mandated Services for Gifted and Talented Students

NAGC: Giftedness Among Underserved and Disadvantaged Populations

Video: Meeting the Complex Needs of Gifted Children (Jim Delisle) 1:30:24

Visit the Illinois State Board of Education Gifted Resources

Get slideshow of "How to Support Your Exceptionally Able Child at Home and at School", presented by Margaret Keane & Anna Giflin, Giftedkids.ie

Read Tamara Fisher's challenge to present to non-gifted-focused groups here.

"Why I Advocate for Gifted Children" by Suki Wessling

10 Lessons from Benjamin Franklin That Might Help Advocates of Gifted Learners. - (pdf)

Sylvia Rimm says, "The surest path to positive self esteem is to succeed at something which one perceived would be difficult."  

Each time we steal a student's struggle, we steal the opportunity for them to build self-confidence.  They must learn to do hard things to feel good about themselves.  Removing a student’s opportunity to experience failure is tantamount to removing a student’s opportunity to experience success.

Action Step
This is a good time to meet with one of your building principal, school superintendent or  local school board members to discuss the need for students to engage in challenging tasks.  www.sylviarimm.com

You may have heard or read earlier this year the story of the litle girl who showed her teacher a picture she painted of a tree. The tree was purple. The teacher said, 'Sweetheart, I've never seen a purple tree, now have I?'
 'Oh?' said the little girl. 'That's too bad.'

- Marianne Williamson.

Does this remind you in any way of your child?
  If so, this is a good time to send your child’s teacher a short letter about your child’s abilities including samples or descriptions of things your child does that demonstrates his or her giftedness. Ask your child's teacher for a time that you can come in to discuss her/his learning needs now at the start of the year.  You don’t need to wait until parent conferences or open house to start this conversation.

Sandra Berger, noted author and speaker on planning for gifted learners, reminds us that gifted learners are asynchronous in their development. Their chronological, emotional, and intellectual development may all be at different levels. This is important information to share with your child's teacher.

For more information on myths regarding gifted learners and what works for gifted learners visit:

Does it Matter?

Does it matter that gifted learners are left out of the Illinois State Budget once again?
Does it matter that thousands of gifted learners will be sitting in classrooms with teachers who have received no training in teaching gifted learners?
Does it matter that thousands of gifted learners will already know over a fifth of the material that will be placed in front of them before their teacher utters one word of instruction?
Does it matter that thousands of gifted learners will be expected to, once again, do just fine on their own because of a lack of funding?If it matters to you, develop a relationship with your legislators and share the need for a gifted line item in the state budget, because it does matter.

Why do we need specific money for gifted students?

- Cathy Greene, IAGC Advocacy Committee former Co-chair

I am often asked the question, “Why do we need specific money for gifted students? Aren’t they already smart? Can’t they learn on their own?“

It is a question that puzzles me, because no one asks, “Why do we need to spend money to support talented athletes? Aren’t they already good at sports? Why would they need additional coaching when they are already skilled? Why do they need special equipment? Why isn’t the regular equipment provided for physical education classes good enough?”

In sports, everyone understands that it costs money to support athletic programs because talented athletes need trained coaches to develop their skills to the fullest potential. In sports, everyone understands that these athletes need specific equipment if they are going to do their best and reach the highest levels of performance. In sports, everyone understands that you put the talented athletes together so they can push each other to higher levels, so they can hone their skills and become even better at a specific athletic endeavor.

Yet, in academics we question the need for the same approach. In academics we say that we will place money in a general education fund and hope that some of it will be spent appropriately on programming for gifted learners. In academics we say that we are afraid that it may be seen as elitist to place gifted students together so they can push each other to higher levels, so they can hone their academic skills and become better at their specific academic endeavor. In academics we question the need for teachers with specific training, coaches for the gifted, and think that the regular education teacher can do it all.

Why do we need specific funding for gifted learners? Because, without it, specific programs for gifted students are being eliminated. Because without specific funding for gifted students, with specific requirements for how it is spent and specific requirements for who can work with gifted learners, there will not be trained coaches for our academic athletes and there will not be appropriate equipment for them to use. Why do we need specific funding for gifted learners? Because, like other talented athletes, without trained coaches and the proper equipment, the capacity of these academic athletes to do more and be more will go untapped and will be lost.

In my opinion, that would be a great loss, not only to our state, but to society as a whole.

"Top Students Need Proper Funding, Too"
article by IAGC's Sally Walker and NAGC's Ann Robinson.

Video: Learning Matters: Gifted Education [2004]


If you think that you alone cannot do much to improve your school, you are probably right. But if you collaborate with other parents and organizations, you can make a difference. There is strength and power in numbers.

1 parent = a fruitcake        
2 parents = a fruitcake and a friend        
3 parents = troublemakers        
5 parents = "Let's have a meeting"        
10 parents = "We'd better listen"        
25 parents = "Our dear friends"        
50 parents = a powerful organization

--ParentLeadershipAssociates, formerly a Prichard Committee/KSA-Plus Communications collaboration

Davidson Advocacy Guidebook

The Davidson Institute Team designed this guidebook--Advocating for Exceptionally Gifted Young People: A Guidebook--for parents interested in addressing the needs of their exceptionally gifted children. It is to be used as an organizational tool and informational guide to building a strong foundation for parent advocacy efforts. The information included is presented in a series of steps to prepare you for effective advocacy results."

NAGC Advocacy Toolkit

The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.

- Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

Illinois definition of gifted and talented children

"For the purposes of this Article, 'gifted and talented children' means children and youth with outstanding talent who perform or show the potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared with other children and youth of their age, experience, and environment. A child shall be considered gifted and talented in any area of aptitude, and, specifically, in language arts and mathematics, by performing in the top 5% locally in that area of aptitude." 105 ILCS 5/14A-20


All speech is vain and empty unless it is accompanied by action.

- Demosthenes


For questions or to join this committee, contact  Susan Rhodes