On July 1, 2018, a new law, the Accelerated Placement Act (click here for the complete text of the law) went into effect in Illinois. This law is a huge win for Illinois families. However, what will now be different? We will be exploring this issue and posting updates as they become available. Click here for a great article about the change.
Briefly, the law gives the framework to grade skip into K and 1st grade, for example, and then the ability to receive acceleration. We at MAGE hope these changes become available to all Illinois students. In the meantime, we are here, as we believe that there is a long road ahead. Similar laws already exist in other states, and yet private gifted schools also abound in those states - we do not think that any change in Illinois policy will make us obsolete, though we would love it if they did.
We will start with sharing some information about how you can be a part of the solution here in Illinois. The amazing organization responsible for making the law happen is IAGC - Illinois Association for Gifted Children. If you have a gifted child and you live in Illinois, we would like to encourage you to join IAGC as a member, so that you can be a part of the solution for Illinois children by supporting the organization and by sharing in the dialogue. Every person that joins helps strengthen our state's commitment to gifted interests. The next policy committee meeting is August 10@10AM @IMSA. Join the conversation!
In the next few weeks, we will be exploring additional topics:
Chicago Public Schools, CPS. What is the timeline for the policy change? Currently, office of OAE, Office of Access and Enrollment which controls the City's public gifted programming and fields the calls about the act, nebulously says that the policy change will be implemented next year. We are waiting on more details. There will be no changes for this year or in time for fall SEES applications for the next academic year as far as we understand at this time.
What changes will public/charter, private, and parochial schools in Chicago make to comply with the new law? For example, the Archdiocese of Chicago is one of the largest networks outside of the public network. Would be interesting to understand their planned changes. We will be reaching out to the existing schools to find out their plans. Please share information with us and we will be happy to post it, as it becomes available.
What are the benefits and consequences for any school to be compliant or not compliant with this new law? Is there a cost to implement the new law? What is the long term economic impact of this law on each school?
What policy changes would be relevant in Illinois? In our opinion, it would be helpful if academic differences were recognized as a special need.
-For example, if a student is more than 1-2 standard deviations off in ability to academic performance, many other states have laws with regard to considering that student as having learning differences. In Illinois, such learning differences are not recognized legally. A student is only recognized with a learning difference if they perform to specific measures below average levels of attainment, not as compared to their own potential.
-If a student needs acceleration and the school is not providing it, it would be interesting if they had the ability to transfer to a school that would provide the academic services needed, much in the same way that a student with behavioral issues can tuition out into a specialized program designed to meet their needs. Since giftedness is not recognized as a special need in Illinois, and since academic accommodation is not a part of our IEP in our state, legislative changes to support these sorts of processes might be helpful. Funding around supporting programs and endeavors would also be interesting.
This article is an opinion article, and has not been peer reviewed or thoroughly researched beyond included links.