We have ample evidence of many districts not complying with current legislation. Clearly, only a third of the districts in the state have gifted programs, despite receiving through the current legislation, $13 PPU for at least the last 15 years. Those dollars have been folded into the general operations fund because there is no accountability process in place. Recent efforts by the MDE has resulted in a check off for districts saying that they have a gifted program. The check-off requires no criteria, no evidence of compliance, and no evidence of how the $13 PPU is being spent.
With this legislation, accountability is a critical element of compliance. There are currently a number of assessment tools available to measure growth in critical and creative thinking. The MDE, with a state-wide purchase of an electronic testing system, to asses all students, K-12, on their growth in critical and creative thinking. Districts and MDE would be able to monitor growth, collect long term data, and work with universities in the state, to analyze results and make public the performances of schools and districts. The CogAT is a common assessment instrument already in place in many districts and with a state-wide purchase district costs would go down for schools, teachers and administrators would be informed and be able to adjust their instruction, while informing parents of their students’ growth.