I understand that not everyone agrees with this answer, but this has been my experience, after having children attend schools in 5 different school districts in 5 different geographic regions, with a total of 10 schools (they are now in 11th and 12th grade). Some of the gifted programs they have been involved in at the various places include GATE, the IBL program, the HiCap program, and AP courses.
There might be some school districts that have classified them as special education, and I agree that they do learn in different ways, but these programs were not considered special ed as far as funding went, and in fact, in several of those places, we (the parents of kids in the programs) had to write letters to the school boards, etc to complain about proposed budget cuts to these programs - cuts that were suggested because they weren't required by law.
at 8:34 AM on May. 17, 2011