On this MLK Day we are reminded that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s work of civil rights activism is not finished. Racism still pervades American culture. We find it not only in our history but in ourselves, our leaders, and our institutions, including in those systems for identifying and serving the needs of high ability students in New Mexico public schools.

We know many high-ability students are being left behind by their school districts.  The latest Office for Civil Rights 2013-2014 data collection reveals wide disparities in the percentages of high schools attended by mostly Black and Latino students that offer courses such as calculus, physics, chemistry, and Algebra II, compared to all high schools.  The data also show low percentages of enrollment in gifted education and AP courses by Black, Latino, and children with disabilities, compared to those groups’ total enrollment in schools offering these programs and services. -NAGC, Closing Opportunity Gaps, July, 2016.

What are you doing to stand up for justice in the field of gifted education? When your activism begins to flow beyond the boundaries of your own community, connect with NMAG in celebrating equitable gifted education policy that exists in our state and in supporting statewide reform efforts. Comments are welcome. Tell us what you are doing to contribute to equitable identification and service of diverse gifted learners at your school, community, or beyond.

New Mexico’s annual law-making session in Santa Fe  begins this week, and NMAG will keep you informed. The two bills our members supported last year will be back on the table this session. When they are assigned bill numbers we will spread the word about them. In the meantime, I recommend all of us gear up for the short, intense 2018 legislative session by reading Steve Terrell’s 20 pointers for “Roundhouse rookies” recently updated in the online edition of The New Mexican. Terrell’s insights may be seen as unwritten rules for accomplishing your goals at the Roundhouse, from orienting yourself in the circular building to successfully parking, snacking, getting a seat, and being listened to at committee hearings.

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About Steve Heil

Steve supports gifted students of Santa Fe Public Schools and, as a qualified FTAP Evaluator, helps to implement the district's alternate identification protocol. In his previous work as an art teacher in Gallup, NM, Steve earned National Board Certification and received the Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010. As Publicity Chair on the board of NMAG, Steve manages this website and mailing list.