The results of gifted education programming in
Mississippi goes far beyond good academic policy; it's just good
That's the indication of the results of an economic
impact study conducted at The University of Southern Mississippi
on the state's gifted education programs. The study, the result
of a partnership between Dr. Frances Karnes, director of the university's
Karnes Center for Gifted Studies, and Mark Goodman, director of
the Southern Miss Center for Community and Economic Development,
examined data associated with gifted education programs during the
2003-2004 school year.
"The study determined that there is a significant
impact on both the local and state economy," Karnes said.
In terms of direct economic impact, 729 teachers taught
in the public school programs in the 2003-2004 school year. Salaries
for teachers and prorated salaries for special education directors
supervising the programs resulted in 744 total full-time equivalent
(FTE) jobs and an additional 645 jobs in place throughout the economy
Income from all employment associated with the teaching
of the gifted in public schools in Mississippi was greater than
$46 million annually. Taxes collected by the state associated with
the teaching of gifted children and youth in specialized programs
were greater than $2 million annually and taxes collected by local
jurisdictions annually were greater than $1 million.
The study was a second-phase report of economic impact,
with the first phase measuring the direct impact of the Karnes Center
on the region. The first study determined that revenues generated
through the incomes of individuals employed in programs at the center
were $552,207, with total retail sales coming to more than $1 million
and the total tax revenues generated were $131,051, including $40,000
"This study is important because it clarifies
the value of gifted education in economic terms," said Dr.
Henry Johnson, state superintendent of education. "This demonstrates
that, in addition to the substantial benefits that gifted education
provides to the community in the context of civic and social elements,
it is an excellent investment in our economy and, more importantly,
in our children and their future."