In Florida, over the past few years, lawmakers have been weighing whether to appropriate funds for gifted education in high schools. You can read a story from the Orlando Sentinel about the issue here. This is an issue that affects all of the states, and both sides have some good points. As some folks have pointed out, gifted students do have a lot of options at the high school level that are not necessarily labeled "gifted education" as such. Advanced Placement classes, other accelerated classes and dual enrollment are often options for pupils looking for challenging work.
Indeed, high schools come closer than elementary and middle schools to what a "good" education for a gifted kid should look like already. Since students usually change classes every hour, moving to a higher-level class isn't quite so logistically difficult as it is for elementary students. In math and English, at least, there are often different levels (or -- scandalous! -- "tracks") which makes readiness/ability grouping par for the course. And there are no silly pull-out programs that have the kids doing enrichment activities about Robin Hood, insects, the culture of Japan, etc., but not advanced math, science or English. Since AP classes, accelerated classes and dual enrollment aren't labeled "gifted education" as such, they don't have the same political sensitivity. When things come out of more general funds, they tend to be safer. As parents across the country have discovered, when something needs to be cut, a line in the budget called "gifted education" is often the first on the block.
That said, my guess is that Florida's high schools don't universally offer the whole suite of AP classes, or prepare kids to take them in grades 9-11, rather than solely in grade 12. Dual enrollment at local community colleges is a great option for gifted students who have particular interests or who have exhausted their local high schools' offerings. But my guess is that few schools make such arrangements as a matter of course.
If Florida -- and other states! -- want to nurture their gifted teenagers, one good option is to create residential high schools for gifted students. Such schools can offer the full suite of AP courses, which can be broadcast to students elsewhere who can't or aren't willing to enroll in a residential school. The legislature could also appropriate gifted funds for creating a dual-enrollment office or coordinator in the various districts. In general I don't like creating more bureaucracy, but since this person or office will have to do something with their time, they may make it more likely for schools to actually make dual enrollment work.
I'm curious if parents reading this blog live in districts that have made good arrangements for gifted high schoolers, and what you think about gifted education at the high school level.