BCPS Faces Criticism After Cutting Gifted And Talented Education Positions From Budget


Credit: Renee Schiavone/Patch

BALTIMORE COUNTY - Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) is facing criticism after cutting three gifted and talented education resource teacher positions from its Fiscal Year 2024 Operating Budget.

Advocates from the Gifted and Talented Citizens Advisory Committee (GTCAC) have launched a petition calling on the Baltimore County Executive and the Baltimore County Council to restore positions at the BCPS Office of Advanced Academics (OAA).

OAA resource teachers are tasked with providing professional development to GT school facilitators, teachers, and school administrators across the county. These teachers have years of specialized experience that helps schools learn how to identify and design curriculum for gifted students.

Baltimore County currently serves around 30,000 students taking Gifted and Talented (GT), Advanced Placement (AP), and other advanced academic programs. Under the FY 2024 budget, these students would be the responsibility of one resource teacher.

GTCAC Chair Zamira Simkins says that one person is nowhere near enough to perform these duties.

“It is completely unrealistic to think that one resource teacher will be able to train school teachers and administrators at 178 BCPS schools on how to identify and support 30,000 GT learners in BCPS.”

BCPS’s cuts may conflict with both Maryland State law and the school system’s policy. Code of MD Regulations, COMAT Chapter 13A.04.07 states that “each local school system shall establish an equitable process for identifying gifted and talented students” and requires that schools “provide different services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program.”

Furthermore, BCPS Policy and Rule 6401 states that the school system recognized the need to “require appropriately differentiated programs and services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program.”

GTCAC says that with only one resource teacher, BCPS will be unable to fulfill these requirements.

“Without maintaining at least four knowledgeable and experienced OAA resource teachers, BCPS will not be able to maintain compliance with state and local laws,” the group said in a statement.

The group also shared concerns that cutting GT resource teacher positions will negatively impact the program’s already troubling equity data. Students of color, 2E and English language learners, and those from challenging economic circumstances are under-represented in gifted and talented programs across Baltimore County. Advocates say that marginalized students will be less likely to be identified as gifted and talented with one resource teacher, widening the gap in educational attainment.

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