Talking 2e to Political Candidates

May, 20108

Nickie, a member of the 2e community, says “I’ve stepped into political activism.” She did that by attending an event in Southeast Michigan, where she was able to meet a few state and federal candidates in this November’s election.

“I used my time to focus on the unserved 2e learner,” says Nickie. “Education was a topic for all the candidates, but only one of the four candidates I spoke to knew, right off the bat, what twice-exceptional meant — because she has ADD.”

Nickie decided to create a “white paper” to distribute to the candidates, using the March, 2017, Endrew F Supreme Court ruling as the lever for influencing legislators to become responsive and effective education policy makers, especially with regard to twice-exceptional issues. [See the sidebar for information on the Endrew F Supreme Court ruling.]

“I figured if I could create awareness, one candidate at a time, I just might create a wave of change,” she says.
The one-page white paper introduces readers to:

  • Who 2e learners are
  • Why they’re important
  • The problem: a lack of programs for these learners
  • The importance of the issue: education and civil rights
  • What the reader can do.

The white paper is part of a packet that also includes:

  • Micaela Bracamonte’s 2010 2e Newsletter article on 2e learners
  • An NAGC position paper from 2013 on assessment for 2e learners
  • An NAGC position statement on ensuring gifted children with disabilities receive appropriate services
  • A CEC response to the White House FY 2019 budget proposal
  • The NAGC statement about voter support for Federal funding for gifted and talented
  • A recent article from Education Week on the one-year-later effect of the 2017 Supreme Court ruling in the Endrew F case. (For information on the Endrew F case, see the sidebar.)

Nickie’s goal is to provide enough information to begin a conversation but not so much that would overwhelm. She sends the packet beforehand to those she meets with on the topic. So far, she has spoken to a couple candidates who have children who may be 2e. Nickie says, “Their eyes were opened to this new concept when I first spoke to them.” She also had a one-on-one meeting with a candidate running for a state house representative seat from Nickie’s own district who wanted to learn more about twice-exceptionality. She describes it as a “a meaningful conversation.”

Besides being the mom of gifted kids, one of whom is 2e, Nickie does professional coaching and training.  Some of the time, she says, she works with highly intelligent executives, like directors of labs or health care companies, who exhibit 2e qualities.

“My goal with advocacy is to put myself out of work,” she says. “If students were allowed to truly develop into fully-formed adults, they wouldn’t need a coach and I could retire.”

Here’s the 2e Newsletter challenge: Nickie has given us one model for spreading awareness of twice-exceptionality into an important area — state and federal legislatures. Who else here in the 2e community will use Nickie’s model — or another one — to spread awareness in legislatures, or in arenas such as media, education, or healthcare?  

The Endrew F Case

IDEA has been reshaped within the last year by a U.S. Supreme Court decision. When the Supreme Court ruled on the Endrew F case in March of 2017, the new standard for IDEA became that an Individualized Education Program (IEP) formulated under IDEA must have more than a minimal impact and must impart “progress appropriate in the light of the child’s circumstance,” including exposure to “challenging objectives.”
The case was brought by the parents of Endrew F, a boy on the autism spectrum who had not been making progress under his public school IEP. The parents moved their son to a private school and sought reimbursement from the public school district. The district’s position was that Endrew had made “some” academic progress, which was enough. Their position was supported in a due process hearing, a district court decision, and an appellate court decision. The Supreme Court, however, ruled that “some” was not enough.

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