Log in
  • Blogs
  • giftEDnz
  • Gifted and Talented Assets -- Not for Sale! by Tracy Riley

Gifted and Talented Assets -- Not for Sale! by Tracy Riley

Image by James Fyfe, TV3 News
I have been following the news on asset sales; how can anyone in New Zealand not be aware of the growing opposition to the Government's legislation as it passed its second reading last week?  
The media commentaries, political blogs, social networking posts, and protest placards carrying arguments against these sales provide some lessons for advocates following Gifted Awareness Week. After all, aren't gifted and talented learners often referred to as our greatest assets? 
I have trolled through the web and found a few statements related to asset sales that we might be able to learn from - and it is startling how much these parallel the situation in gifted and talented education today. 

"They have asset stripped, rather than investing." 

With so little invested in the identification and development of our children's gifts and talents, are we stripping them of their potential? Shouldn't we be investing? 

"Remember, this is no time for amnesia!"  

We needn't forget the promises made by our Government in the lead up to last year's election, as provided on this web page. I am particularly intrigued by this statement:

"It is critical that we provide schools, teachers, parents and the students themselves with the information, resources, and support networks to both identify and provide for New Zealand's gifted and talented young people. "

The cynic in me wonders if this is anything beyond virtual resourcing, supporting and networking, or just acknowledging the critical nature of provision. Regardless, the fact is, the Government promised support. Have they delivered? Or have they sold our learners short?

"There are more arguments against these asset sales than column-space to carry them."

What are the arguments against selling our gifted and talented students short? It is a matter of equity: all students deserve an opportunity to learn. Those with exceptional abilities and qualities learn at a faster pace and rate than their same age peers. Providing them with quantitative differentiation - or more of the same - will not meet their thirst for learning. It is time we start reaching for this vision, adopted by the Ministry of Education, but not yet published as promised:
All gifted and talented learners have equitable access to a differentiated and culturally responsive education. They are recognised, valued, and empowered to develop their exceptional abilities and qualities.

"Either they are trying to hide the truth from New Zealanders or, just as worryingly, they don't know themselves."

Recommendations have been made to the Ministry of Education, as outlined by several national and regional organizations in a letter sent to all Members of Parliament. These recommendations, if implemented, would elevate the profile and priority of gifted and talented education within the Ministry, as well as provide greater support to school leaders and coordinators through professional development and advanced study, resource development, and research. 

"This is only just coming into public consciousness and it is a vital issue of New Zealand sovereignty."

Although advocates for gifted and talented students have worked hard for many years to raise awareness, it is a tough battle changing public perceptions. I do believe awareness is growing; but do the mums and dads of New Zealand understand the danger in stripping, rather than investing  in, our assets? And not unlike the asset sales debate, is the public aware of the costs already spent to enlist policy advice only to have it ignored by the Ministry?

"Look what has happened – he has done U-turns on two or three other things. I'm quite sure if there's enough pressure coming on he'll do a U-turn on this as well.”

Is it too late for a U-turn on gifted and talented education? Can we put the pressure on?

"I think we can make a difference."

I know we can!

"We will not be divided like our assets. We will be united, we will not be silenced, we will resist this together."

This is the only way forward ... we must be united, vibrant, noisy and together!

"Don't sell my future!"

The lack of ongoing commitment  - by Government and its Ministry - is robbing our gifted and talented children.  This is not just about money, but about adopting a vision, principles and strategy for gifted and talented education, and having people make it happen! We can help, as advocates and as partners with the Government and Ministry, but we are not for sale.

This post is part of the #NZGAW Blog Tour.


#NZGAW Blog Tour


An organisation for anyone with a professional interest in gifted and talented education.