On March 11th Senator Grassley (R-IA), Senator Mikulski (D-MD) and Senator Casey (D-PA) introduced the To Aid Gifted and High-Ability Learners by Empowering the Nation’s Teachers Act, better known as the TALENT Act (S. 512). The following day, two representatives from your TAG Board visited Capital Hill asking our Senators and Congressmen for their support.
The TALENT Act expands the education debate by focusing on gifted, high-ability students—particularly those from low-income or minority backgrounds—who have been overshadowed in a U.S. educational system that focuses on its struggling, low-achieving students.
How You Can Help
Urge Our TN Senators to Co-Sponsor the TALENT Act by emailing or calling their offices asking for their support.
What's the Message?
As the top republican on the Senate education committee, Senator Lamar Alexander will be closely involved in the revision of ESEA, making your communications with him about the need to include gifted students in federal K-12 education law, all the more important. Both he and Senator Corker need to hear from you about how important it is that some portion of federal teacher training funds be used to ensure that classroom teachers, principals, and others in school settings, are able to spot indicators of talent and respond appropriately. We ask that Senator Alexander support the TALENT Act in HELP Committee meetings as they work on the revision on ESEA.
We ask that Senator Corker sign the Dear Colleague Letter that was circulated throughout the Senate on Friday, March 22 by Senators Grassley, Casey, and Mikulski.
How to Make Contact
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) has a form letter that you can use to send to the offices of Senators Alexander and Corker. You can send this letter as it is, or make modifications to personalize it to fit your message. Click here to open that letter.
You can also form your own email or call each office. Contact for each office is listed below. If calling, ask to speak with someone who works with educational issues for the Senator.
Senator Alexander: Email or call (202) 224-4944
Senator Corker: Email or call (202) 224-3344
Want to know more? Click here to read NAGC's explanation of the TALENT Act
Read the entire bill introduced to the Senate
Track the TALENT Act (S.512) as it moves through the process on Capital Hill
For more information email Megan Peters (firstname.lastname@example.org), TAG Board President
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.