New legislation that will address a long-conspicuous absence in federal education law is currently making its way through the House and Senate. The TALENT Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to support high-ability and high achieving students, an area of education that is not currently accounted for in federal law. The NAGC describes the bill’s four key areas of focus:
Change The Accountability And Assessment System to ensure that schools can pinpoint the level at which students have mastered state standards and by reporting the performance of top students on state report cards
Emphasize Classroom Practice through professional development for all teachers and other school personnel so that more educators are able to identify and meet the needs of gifted students, and by requiring states to include gifted students in their plans for use of federal Title II funds
Focus On Underserved Populations, by requiring states and districts to include gifted students and high-ability students not formally identified for gifted education services, in their planning for Title I funds, by allowing federal rural school funds to be used for teacher training in gifted education pedagogy, and by prioritizing underserved gifted students in awarding professional development and research grants under the TALENT Act
Emphasize Research And Dissemination Of Best Practices in gifted education to support effective teaching and learning for gifted students.
The bipartisan legislation is being introduced in the Senate by Chuck Grassley (Iowa) and Bob Casey (PA), and in the House by Elton Gallegly (CA-24) and Don Payne (NJ-10).
The NAGC writes: “Our next task will be to get cosponsors for the bills – so that the education committee staff will see the support for GT students and include the text of the bills in the committee version of a revised Elementary & Secondary Education Act.”
This is huge legislation and would be a major step forward toward fostering the education of our gifted students, which is currently left to individual states. This results in a wide disparity of educational provisions from state to state. Federal recognition and funding of high-ability students will go far in demonstrating that the United States wants to support all of its students, especially in light of our poor performance on the PISA.
Tell your senators and house representatives to support the TALENT Act, and thank you Senator Casey for leading the way!
For more information about the TALENT Act, including more detail about its four areas of focus, go here: http://www.nagc.org/index.aspx?id=7804.
To tell Senator Casey thank you, go here: http://casey.senate.gov/contact.
To find your senators and representatives and let them know what you think, go here: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.