The Tennessee Department of Education recently eliminated the dedicated position for gifted education. This means that there is no one at the state level to represent the needs of intellectually gifted learners. We need to educate our legislators and state board members and let them know that this is a decision that will negatively impact students in Tennessee. We believe that there should be a position or designation of responsibility dedicated to the needs of gifted learners. Without such dedication, gifted learners and their educators will not have the leadership, advocacy, or supports to allow gifted learners to progress. We already know that very few educators are trained to support gifted learners, and this only weakens the educational opportunities for gifted learners and those who lead them.
We ask that you reach out to your legislator (Contact your legislator link: https://wapp.capitol.tn.gov/Apps/fmlv3/lookup.aspx) and your State Board of Education representative (Contact State Board of Education member: https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/sbe/about-us/board-members.html#findmymember) and let them know that you oppose this change and that there should be representation in gifted education at the state.
Congress has agreed to increase the funding for the U.S. Department of Education to $72.8 billion. This includes a $1 million increase for the Javits education grant program. Thank you for all of your advocacy to make this happen.
2020 NAGC Leadership & Advocacy Conference Update:
Here is the agenda for the 2020 Leadership & Advocacy Conference, in the Washington, DC area, March 15-17 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Alexandria Old Town.
Look at this new national research report from edWeek: https://www.edweek.org/media/2019/11/25/gt%20survey%20report-final%2011.25.19.pdf
What do you think about the state of gifted education in our nation? Are we making progress? What does the data show you?
State and Local Update
Advocacy matters, and here are a few highlights of positive advocacy work:
Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate appropriations committee proposed maintaining the current Javits education grant program funding at $12 million. The U.S. House of Representatives education appropriations subcommittee proposed $4.4 billion in new funding for the United States Department of Education, and it included a $2 million increase in funding ($14 million) for the Javits gifted education program.
Please continue to work with your Federal legislators to encourage them to support Javits funding in the final bicameral appropriations bill at the $14 million level proposed by the House.
Update: The Jacob Javits Gifted & Talented Students Education Act received $5 million for fiscal year 2014. Thanks in large part to Senate Appropriations Committee chair Barbara Mikulski (MD), this is the first time since fiscal year 2011 that the Javits program has received any funding. The Javits Act funds the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented as well as applied research on identifying and serving underrepresented gifted students.
The next step will be for the U.S. Department of Education to develop guidelines for the grants made with these new funds, likely in late spring or early summer.
It's It is always important to introduce, or re-introduce ourselves to our Members of Congress and their staff , letting them know about the gifted students in their districts and states, and raising awareness of how federal legislation and funding can make a difference for them and for the nation. Visit www.house.gov and www.senate.gov for email addresses and other contact information for your Members of Congress. We have also posted a printable version of the Congressional Directory. Consider making in-person visits to their district offices in the home state.
Legislation expires at the end of each Congress if it is not enacted. Therefore, NAGC's legislative initiatives must be renewed in the 113th Congress. The House and Senate committees on education handle the majority of legislation most relevant to gifted education advocates. Although it's important to reach out to all Members of Congress, we need to do even more with the men and women serving on these committees. Check the committee rosters to determine if your Members of Congress serve on them and if so, you know that it's especially important to begin early to develop a relationship with that office, and the staff person handling education issues.
Contact: Megan Peters (email@example.com)
Parents of gifted children are one of the most important advocacy groups when it comes to improving the educational experiences of the gifted. But it's difficult to accomplish change alone. Prufrock Press and the National Association for Gifted Children have teamed up to offer a free e-guide to starting a parent support group in your area. Check it out, and make sure to contact us if you are starting a parent group in Tennessee!
The Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act is the only federal program dedicated to funding research into strategies for serving gifted students. Last year, Congress defunded this program, and your help is needed to get it back on the federal budget! Write to your Representative and Senators and let them know how important federal funding for research is to gifted students and teachers. For more information, check out the NAGC Brief [PDF] and use their sample letter in your email or phone call.