White Paper Background

KENTUCKY’S FUTURE: MINING UNTAPPED TREASURE CHILDREN AND YOUTH OF THE COMMONWEALTH WHO ARE GIFTED AND TALENTED

The superintendents of Kentucky’s schools have posed only two other white papers to the legislators of the Commonwealth:
* Renewing the Commitment: A Superintendents’ Position Paper on Assessment and Accountability, November 18, 2003; and
* Kentucky’s Future is Today: Superintendents’ Position Paper on Early Childhood Education, December 14, 2004.
The legislators recognized the value of the superintendents’ positions, and funding was secured for each issue.

Superintendent Dale Brown of Warren County Schools approached the Kentucky Association for Gifted Education (KAGE) and The Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University about the feasibility of a white paper on gifted education. He understood the critical needs of educating the gifted not only for the students’ well being and future but for Kentucky’s as well. He also recognized that increased funding was necessary if Kentucky schools were to provide appropriate educational opportunities for this segment of the student population. Representing multiple stakeholders, a superintendent, an instructional supervisor, a principal, a parent, the executive director of KAGE, and university personnel specializing in gifted education joined together to form a focus group. (See For More Information for a listing of the focus group.)

Over a nine-month period, this focus group discussed the issue, examined current research, explored Kentucky data, narrowed the objectives, compiled information, and composed the position paper. The final white paper numbered six pages, honed from an original twenty-eight. The paper was then scrutinized by several sets of eyes including the Kentucky Department of Education and Commissioner Gene Wilhoit.

The first public sharing of the document was at the National Association for Gifted Children’s Annual Conference held in Louisville, November 9-13, during the Administrators Leadership Institute and the superintendents’ invitational forum, “The Role of the Superintendent in Gifted Education.” Support and enthusiasm were tremendous. Currently, the paper is being shared with many business, civic, and education groups throughout the Commonwealth.

Kentucky’s greatest resource is our bright young people. But cultivating that resource means seriously funding education – education that is rigorous, meaningful, invigorating, and motivating. Appropriately educated students, and this includes gifted students, affects all aspects of our Commonwealth, not only now but Kentucky’s future growth as well. Now is the time for our future.