Kansas drops bill to cut gifted kids from special-ed status

? A bill that would have made changes to gifted education has been abandoned after an outcry.

In dropping the effort Tuesday to remove references of gifted children from the category of special education, Rep. Sue Boldra said the idea was not to eliminate gifted programs. The Wichita Eagle reports that the Hays Republican said her goal was to separate them from special education.

The bill had been introduced Monday in the House Committee on Education and was similar to one that gifted-education advocates fought last year. Concerns were raised that it could gut funding for gifted education and do away with protections that gifted students and their families have.

About 14,000 Kansas students are identified as intellectually gifted, meaning they’re approved to receive special-education services after assessments.

“There’s this impression out there that gifted kids don’t need extra support because they’ll figure it out themselves,” said Charlene Randle, a Wichita mother whose high school son was identified as gifted in elementary school. “But it’s more than just giving a kid an accelerated curriculum. The problem with putting these children in a regular-ed classroom is they are held back from their potential because teachers cannot meet their needs.”

The development was welcome to parents and other advocates who spent hours urging lawmakers to reject the proposal.

“Obviously, I’m delighted,” said Kelly Reynolds, president of the Kansas Association for the Gifted, Talented and Creative, a nonprofit advocacy group. “Hopefully, our organization and other stakeholder organizations can look at the future of gifted education and make a determination of what’s going to be in the best interest of all students.”