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Gifted Students’ Rights Under Pennsylvania Law

By: Anapol Weiss

Pennsylvania is one of several states that makes gifted educational programs mandatory in public schools for all qualifying students. Despite the outstanding services available, there is still much work to be done.

Last week, Anapol Weiss Partner Tracy Finken discussed the current requirements for gifted education and the state’s available services in The Legal Intelligencer. She highlights Chapter 16 of the Pennsylvania Code, which mandates that school districts provide programs and services based on students’ unique needs and talents.

While parents who disagree with a school’s gifted services have the option of filing for mediation and/or a due process hearing, Finken points out the unfortunate stigmas associated with gifted education that hold some parents back.

“The common philosophical stance that gifted education is elitist shames parents into not pursuing an appropriate educational plan for their gifted student that effectively meets their needs. All students deserve to learn and be challenged in an educational setting.”

Finken underscored the importance and ongoing need for the training of Pennsylvania district teachers and administrators with regard to the specific needs of gifted students.