Currently, gifted education is established and determined at the state level as there is no federal requirement. In New Jersey, we have recently (January 2020) passed the Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act into law which mandates local school district requirements to identify and serve our gifted students. There is still much work to be done as there is no professional training/certification requirement or designated funding at the state level to assist school districts and educators. To learn more about funding at the federal level through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act (Javits) please see the links above.
NJAGC sends two members from our board to Washington DC every March to attend the annual National Association for Gifted Children Legislative and Advocacy Conference. These representatives visit both of our United States Senators’ offices as well as the Capitol Hill Offices of our twelve Congressional Representatives from NJ to share information on gifted and talented education and discuss how we can make gifted education a priority backed by policy and funding. In addition to developing these relationships, as the state affiliate of NAGC we work closely with educational advocates and leaders throughout the nation to ensure equity and access for all of our gifted students is guiding our path forward. If you would like to learn more about our federal advocacy efforts or would like to become more involved, please contact Jen Madsen at email@example.com.
Advanced Coursework Equity Act
This past June, NJAGC reached out to you expressing our commitment to increasing equitable access and opportunities for underrepresented populations in gifted education. We are excited to share the next steps we have taken as an organization through our support of the Advanced Coursework Equity Act, a bill introduced by our own U.S. Senator Cory Booker (NJ), and Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX).
This legislation would provide 800 million dollars in competitive grants for state and school districts to increase the enrollment and performance of underrepresented students in advanced coursework and programming, including gifted and talented education. While New Jersey is proudly one of our nation's educational leaders in student achievement, excellence gaps remain for our Black, Latinx, and Native American students, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities. This bill addresses the need for funding in order to provide these underrepresented populations with equitable opportunities to participate in and benefit from advanced coursework through such policies as universal screening, expansion of advanced courses, teacher training, and subsidizing the cost of examination fees and materials for low income students.
On behalf of all NJ students - past, present, and future - it is our duty to do everything we can to ensure every child has access to the best educational experience possible and is provided the opportunity to fulfill their potential. We applaud Senator Booker’s leadership and commitment to increasing equitable educational participation for our nation’s brightest young minds. With a focus on equity and access, NJAGC will continue ‘growing gifted in the Garden State’ and work to cultivate the seeds of inclusion and opportunity for our nation’s gifted and talented children.
You can view the press release, provided by Senator Booker’s office here. Full text of the bill is available here.