Timeline - Gifted Ed in Chicago and IL

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now

This is a living timeline of Gifted Education in the state of Illinois with a specific focus on recent events and the City of Chicago. Feel free to share additional bits to add, if any key points are missing. In order to understand where we are today, it’s important to understand how we got here in the first place.

  • In the US, some forms of gifted programming started in the 1920s.

  • CPS History overall is found here.

  • 1980s - Golden Years for Gifted Education in Chicago - “Currently more than 92% of the student population of Chicago Public Schools is non-White, and 95% are on free or reduced lunch. Students in Chicago Public Schools are identified as gifted through the use of multiple approaches, including ability, achievement, and recommendations from parents and teachers. Threshold cutoffs are determined based on performance citywide each year on the relevant measures employed. Use of both traditional and nontraditional measures are used to assess students for selection, including nonverbal assessments and off-level achievement testing. Students scoring above the 80th percentile nationally in both reading and math achievement are considered for most full-time programs in the city. Approximately 5% of these students are served in 155 gifted programs at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. (Joyce Van Tassel-Baska, 2010 via Davidson Institute, linked.)

  • 1989, Illinois Association for Gifted Children, IAGC, is founded.

  • 1990s, Belin Blank and NAGC start working on Acceleration Policy.

  • 2001, No Child Left Behind, NCLB (now replaced by ESSA, see our other news article) gets passed by Bush administration.

  • 2003, Governor Blagoyevich eliminated all $19 million of gifted state funding in IL to fund NCLB which had a direct and adverse effect on our state gifted organization, IAGC. CPS Gifted Programming starts to erode.

  • June 8, 2005, Article 14 - Gifted and Talented Children is passed in Illinois. The act also created the GAC, a 7 member, uncompensated, State Superintendent of Education-Appointed Gifted Advisory Council.

  • 2009, NAGC passes Acceleration Policy. States, districts, schools, around the country start adopting Acceleration policy more formally.

Recent Events:

  • August 25, 2017, Illinois Accelerated Placement Act Bill is passed, with a year grace period for districts to prepare to implement the Act for the 2018 school year. Many districts got ready, using the IAGC-provided model Acceleration Policy. Perhaps, this will slowly make things better again in Chicago, like it has in districts other than 299.

  • July 1, 2018, the Illinois Accelerated Placement Act (click here for the complete text of the law) went into effect. Reminder guidance was issued to districts to remind them that by law they need policy in place for 2018-2019 academic year for early K, 1, and single/whole grade skips.

  • August 22, 2018. Chicago Public Schools, CPS chose to defer the adoption of the Accelerated Placement Act by 1 year, and the deferral decision can be read here.

  • Fall 2018, CPS application process for the 2019-20 year remains unchanged.

  • April 4, 2019 IL House votes for an elected CPS school board. Bill as to still pass senate.

  • April 8, 2019, ISBE releases draft rules clarifying Accelerated Placement Act.

  • April 22, 2019, CPS sends round 1 placement offers to next year’s applicants.

  • May 22, 2019, Mayor Lightfoot dismisses the 7-member appointed CPS school board.

Future Events! You too can be a part of the FUTURE!

  • May 16, 2019, June 2019 - State ESSA listening tour. You can still make a difference.

  • June 11, 2019, Free Gifted Parenting Seminar about school advocacy, inclusive of current changes in the state.

  • June 24, 2019, 10 AM: Agenda for the June board meeting will be published. 10:30 AM are speaker registrations to get 2 minutes to speak in front of board. If you think that other parents or teachers of gifted or talented kids will go and speak on your behalf and you don’t have to, or your voice won’t make a difference, guess again. The gifted are only 2% of the population. If they don’t turn out in droves then the city won’t hear them. Take the time off work; get a sitter; do your part - else no one will. You will get exactly 2 minutes. If you have any feelings about your child’s needs that could be addressed best by acceleration, this is your once-in-your-child’s-school-lifetime-chance. Clearly, this doesn't apply to all gifted and talented students.

  • June 26, 2019, CPS Board meeting. Lightfoot-appointed Board will probably be sworn in and they will probably vote the Accelerated Placement Act of which they could be ignorant.

  • June-August 2019, students eligible for early K by CPS definition, if the board passes the act, may get letters to apply for early K. Allowed programs are not known at this time. Currently proposed is an allowance for children with Sept-Oct birthdays to be eligible for early K if they test in the 98%.

  • July 16, 2019, If you haven’t ever had a chance to speak to folks that understand gifted, this live expert panel will give you a chance to mingle with both gifted families and experts in mental health and education about gifted challenges in general, and with anxiety and perfectionism in particular.

  • September 2019, ESSA feedback will be due on final draft implementation.

  • Winter 2019-2020, single subject or single grade skip application process for 2020-2021 year for students in some CPS 3-6 grades who have taken NWEA MAP 3 times and are in the 95% with straight As for 2 years in core subjects required for their skip, and qualify on several other assessments. Child must test 2 years ahead to be eligible for 1, 1-time skip as testing will happen mid-year.

In light of recent events, we can only hope that one day, there will be phase II of CPS implementation of Accelerated Placement Act, with more features. The details, such as the appeals process, will eventually be fleshed out, but no timeline is currently available. In the meantime, this city risks a lot. Our gifted public programming is but a shadow of what it used to be, while most the nearby suburbs have a much more robust and equitable policy. Those who can, will move out of the city if they need acceleration. Our SEES programs will no longer be the strongest (because they were one of the very few left in the state until now) viable option when kids can get double and triple accelerated in strong, un-overcrowded suburban schools.

So, what options do we, Chicago parents, have but to wait it out, except that our children are not getting younger. Perhaps, you can’t afford to wait or move. So, what are you going to do? Will you lend your voice to advocate for the gifted? We are not just a gifted school. We are a community for gifted families in Chicago. Reach out to us or to one of the other gifted organizations in the state to help advocate and forge a better tomorrow. Only the gifted will help advocate for the gifted.

Related Links (pls be patient while we update links): | Overview | Top 7 Ideas | Part 1-Legislative Overview/Deferral | Part 2 - Forums | Part 3 - Draft Policy | Part 4-Overall Impression | Early K | Early 1 | Whole Grade Skip | Single Subject Grade Skip | Equity | More Thoughts and Questions | Timeline | Media links | PG | 2e | Underserved | State of IL | Action Right Now

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