Federal Legislative Update

NAGC advocates in Congress and at the U.S. Department of Education on behalf of the gifted education community to increase federal support for gifted and talented learners.  We urge our members and other gifted education supporters to assist these efforts by communicating regularly with their Members of Congress on the needs of gifted students.  

Jacob Javits Gifted & Talented Students Education Act

The Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act (Javits) was first passed by Congress in 1988 as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and was most recently reauthorized through the Every Student Succeeds Act to support the development of talent in U.S. schools. The Javits Act, which is the only federal program dedicated specifically to gifted and talented students, does not fund local gifted education programs. 

The Administration proposed cutting Javits for fiscal year 2021 (FY21). NAGC released a statement opposing these cuts

In FY20, with the support of advocates and legislative champions in Congress, we were able to convince Congress to fund Javits.

Congress voted to provide the Javits program $13 million in FY20. This is a $1 million increase compared to 2019.

Advocates should stay engaged with the Legislative Action Network for the latest updates.

Please be sure to call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 to express your support for gifted education and the Javits program.  The Capitol Switchboard will be able to connect you with your two Senators and one Representative. 

If you are interested in learning more about our advocacy efforts, please join the Legislative Action Network.

ESEA Reauthorization - Gifted Students Now Part of Federal K-12 Law

Thanks to the leadership of our Congressional gifted education supporters and the longtime advocacy of members and state groups, the needs of gifted and talented students have been included in key sections of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law in December 2015.  The new gifted student provisions were taken from the TALENT Act, which has been an advocacy priority for several years. 

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA; formerly called “No Child Left Behind”) is the primary umbrella K-12 federal education law (note that the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is the other key federal K-12 law).  ESEA includes programs large and small including the Title I poverty-related programs, Title II in-service teacher education provisions, and the Javits Gifted & Talented Students Education Act. The law dates back to 1965.

Read more about the gifted education provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Read more information about the TALENT Act. 

U.S. Department of Education

NAGC responds to requests for comment from the U.S. Department of Education on grant programs and other initiatives on which the Department seeks public input.   Much of our federal education policy is shaped by the Department through its discretionary authority.  The requests for comments are published in the Federal Register.  Most recently, NAGC sent a letter to the Secretary regarding her Proposed Supplemental Priorities and Definitions for Discretionary Grant Programs as published in the Federal Register on Thursday, October 12, 2017.

Continuing Communication

In order to increase support in Washington for gifted and talented students, advocates must do more during the year to keep Members of Congress apprised of the need for, and value of gifted education programs and services to students and the nation. Not only does Congress need to hear your stories, they also need to understand that the availability of services for gifted students varies widely between and within states, which in turn leads to huge gaps in how far our brightest students can go. In addition to sending emails, consider making in-person visits to your Members of Congress in their offices in the home state. 

Leadership from the federal government could make a difference to ensuring that high-ability students from every background receive the services they need to reach their full potential.  Check out the tools in this section of the website to help you make the case for gifted education and consider joining the Legislative Action Network.

Visit the websites for the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for email addresses and other contact information.