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NJ’s Gifted Students Getting Left Out Of Funding [AUDIO]

Students who struggle in New Jersey get millions in state and federal funding, while those who are the most advanced may be getting left out.

Flickr User Shersh

New Jersey’s Department of Education requires districts to identify and offer programs to gifted and talented children, but sometimes it depends on your zip code whether or not there are enough local resources, said Jane Clarenbach at the National Association for Gifted Children.

“We have to prioritize the needs of gifted children just like we focus on the needs of every other type of population of students.”

She said the recession and a lack of funding have hurt programs for the state’s brightest kids. “Nationwide the focus is just not on advanced students and that’s a shame. There is this myth that they will be fine on their own but if they don’t have support, their achievement can remain flat.”

Minority and low-income students are often the most neglected as well, said Clarenbach. “Urban schools are under a lot more pressure to improve tests scores so they are really at a disadvantage when it comes to getting funding for programs.”

What can parents do? She said they need to work closely with school officials to determine if their child is indeed gifted and talented and then help the student develop those skills.

“Parents, teachers and the community need to communicate and work together, sometimes there is funding out there.”

Clarenbach called New Jersey “average but not great” in an annual survey of advanced enrichment programs.

“New Jersey has its own volunteer group dedicated to gifted and talented students…but of course, more could always be done.”

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