Congress Includes Several Provisions to Support High-Ability & High-Potential Learners within ESEA Reauthorization
December 8, 2015

WASHINGTON – The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), the nation’s leading voice for high-ability and high-potential learners, applauds Congress for including several provisions to support such learners within the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also referred to as ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The legislation is moving to a Senate vote and approval Wednesday and then heads to President Obama’s desk.

“ESEA Reauthorization marks the first time that Congress makes clear that Title I funds may be used to identify and serve gifted students, which will ensure that high-ability students from low-income families and other under-served populations receive the challenging instruction that they require to achieve their potential,” NAGC Executive Director M. RENÉ ISLAS said.

“ESEA requires states to say how they will use valuable training dollars to equip teachers in how to identify high-potential learners and to meet the academic needs of such high-performers, and it requires school districts that receive such funds to address the unique needs of gifted students.

“In addition, the law retains the authorization of the high-impact Jacob Javits Gifted Education Grant program, which has yielded numerous strategies to identify and serve academically talented students, particularly those from communities that have historically been under-represented in such programs,” Islas added.

NAGC has advocated for these provisions, part of pending legislation known as the TALENT Act, for several Congresses.

“NAGC commends Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander and Ranking Member Patty Murray, Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline and Ranking Member Bobby Scott for including these provisions in the final package,” said NAGC President GEORGE BETTS.  “We also thank our longstanding legislative champions, particularly Senators Barbara Mikulski, Chuck Grassley, Bob Casey, Sheldon Whitehouse, and John Boozman, as well as Representatives Jared Polis and David Young, for their leadership and support on behalf of our community.”

For more information on how Reauthorization of ESEA impacts gifted education, here is an ESSA Q&A.


The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) is a membership organization whose leaders support and develop policies and practices that encourage and respond to the diverse expressions of gifts and talents in children and youth from all cultures, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and socioeconomic groups. NAGC invests its resources to train teachers, encourage parents, and educate administrators and policy makers on how to develop and support gifted children. NAGC’s State of the Nation in Gifted Education provides a biennial analysis of state laws and policies to support high-ability and high-potential students.

CONTACT:  Cathleen Healy,