Public Policy Committee Update
by Tina Armstrong The MCGT Public Policy Committee has been focusing its attention on five items:
- Maintaining Gifted Funding: The committee has been tracking the various legislative proposals related to educational funding to ensure that the state gifted and talented revenue is maintained in this year of budget cuts. The committee has reached out to MCGT membership to share stories with legislators as a way of explaining the needs of gifted and talented students that can be met with the state gifted and talented revenue. As of the time of this printing, two bills had been introduced that would have allowed districts to take the gifted and talented revenue for the next two years and use it for other purposes but neither bill was scheduled to receive a hearing by the committee deadline.
- Teacher Training in Gifted and Talented: MCGT has had the opportunity to participate in a task force at the Board of Teaching to create and embed Gifted and Talented standards in the Standards of Effective Practice for all new teachers. These recommendations, if adopted by the Board of Teaching through the rulemaking process, would result in changes to the training that universities provide prospective teachers.
- Appeals Process/Access to Procedures: The Public Policy committee has discussed the need for an appeals process for students that are not identified as gifted or not provided acceleration by their districts. The committee has received reports from members indicating that they have had difficulty obtaining their district’s gifted identification and acceleration policies and procedures. Legislation was introduced last year to provide for an appeals process and accessible gifted policies, procedures and criteria. The Public Policy Committee anticipates a bill being introduced on these topics yet this session and will keep MCGT members aware of any bill that is introduced.
- School Choice: MCGT members make a wide variety of educational choices for their gifted kids. The Public Policy Committee is tracking several bills that would impact that choice – including bills that would change the Perpich Center’s Arts High School to a charter school (SF836/HF1172); bills that would expand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives (HF740/HF876/SF600); bills that would provide for site-governed schools (HF751/SF486); bills affecting homeschoolers (HF1037/SF846); and bills that affect charter schools. Parents have expressed an interest in more programs for highly gifted students. Some ideas for how to form a school for these kids may require legislative changes. Public policy committee members have been discussing the legislative hurdles to creation of a school for highly gifted students and the impact of the various proposals.
- College in the Schools for 9th and 10th graders: Two bills (HF513/SF498) were introduced that would permit 9th and 10th grade students to take College in the Schools classes.
Gifted Education Advocacy Day at the Capitol
Friday, April 11, 2008
The MCGT Legislative Committee is sponsoring Gifted Education Advocacy Day on Friday, April 11th. Parents, students, and educators are strongly encouraged to attend this important event and to lend your voice to increase legislators’ awareness of the educational needs of gifted students. We specifically need your help to support the 2008 proposed gifted legislation regarding educator training.
Registration and information sessions will take place in Room 400 South in the State Office Building (just west of the State Capitol building), one in the morning at 8:30 and one in the afternoon at 1:00. Briefings on the educator gifted training bill and on how best to advocate for this bill will be provided during these sessions. MCGT Legislative Committee members will also be available to answer any questions you may have and to accompany you to your meetings if desired. Buttons that say “Gifted Education Matters” will be passed out to all participants.
Prior to Advocacy Day, the MCGT Legislative Committee is asking you to set up appointments with your state senator and representative. If you are unaware of who represents your district, and/or need contact information, you can find this information by going to the following website:
We encourage you to bring your school age gifted children to the appointments and to team up with others from your legislative district. Small groups up to 4 individuals work best as legislator’s offices do not have a lot of space and speaking time will be limited.
If you are unable to attend Advocacy Day or your senator or representative is not available to meet with you on April 11th, please attempt to set up an appointment on another day prior to or in the week after Advocacy Day. We still need your support and your voice. If this is not possible to meet directly with your senator or representative, please call, write, or email him/her as soon as possible. Once again, emphasize that you are a constituent and ask for their support on educator training regarding gifted students and gifted services contained in the Educator Policy Omnibus bills, H.F. 3316 (House) and S.F. 3001 (Senate). Please see the section entitled “How You Can Improve Minnesota’s Service for Gifted and Talented Children” for further information on best to advocate.
Please stay tuned to this page for updates and any further information.
If you have specific questions, please call or email Janette Boik at 651-322-2849 or Dana Koletar at 612-599-1217. On Advocacy Day, Janette can be reached on her cell phone at 651-470-8316 and Dana can be reached at 651-599-1217.
With YOUR help, we can make a difference in the quality of gifted education in Minnesota!
Summary of Proposed Legislation
Gifted and Talented Training for Educators
The language supporting gifted and talented training for educators is now included in both the House and Senate Education Policy Omnibus bills, House: HF 3633 and Senate: SF 3001. See below for links to the bills, as well as a link to a subset of the bills. The language for educator training in both the House and Senate versions are identical.
These bills would require that all universities that train teachers include learning opportunities in identifying gifted students as well as learning opportunities in providing instruction to gifted and talented students. They would also require that all universities that train administrators include learning opportunities in administering gifted and talented student programs and services.
In addition, the Board of Teachers and the Board of Administrators (the boards that set rules for the training of teachers and administrators) would need to review and approve the universities’ programs which provide educator training for gifted and talented education. These boards may also advise universities on developing and implementing continuing education programs which focus on gifted and talented education.
Although the MCGT Legislative Committee had advocated for more extensive gifted training requirements for all educators, we believe this is a good start for improving the education of teachers and administrators regarding gifted students and services.
Identification Appeals Process
The original bill instructs school districts that they “may identify students, locally develop programs, provide staff development, and evaluate programs to provide gifted and talented students with challenging educational programs.” In addition, “school districts must adopt procedures for the academic acceleration of gifted and talented students.”
This year, wording inlcuding an identification appeals process has been added to the original bill on the House side only. This would allow parents to file an appeal if their child is not identified as gifted. Please lend your voice in supporting the addition of an appeals process to your representative in the House. If your senator is a member of the Education Committee (Wiger, Rummel, Hann, Bonoff, Carlson, Erickson Ropes, Johnson, Jungbauer, Lynch, Michel, Olseen, G. Olson, Saltzman, Stumpf, Torres Ray) then please request them to include the identification appeals process language in the Senate bill. If your senator is not on the Education Committee, please encourage him/her to speak with their colleagues on the Education Committee about including this language.
MCGT’s Legislative Committee Report
by Tina Armstrong, March 27, 2008
The MCGT Legislative Committee has been working hard over the last several months on educator training legislation. As of the time of this printing, language had passed included in a bill recommended by the Minnesota House E-12 Education Committee (HF 3633), and had been incorporated into the Senate Education Policy Omnibus Bill (SF 3001). These bills would require all universities that train teachers and administrators to include opportunities in gifted and talented education within their programs. The Board of Teaching and the Board of School Administrators would need to approve each program’s sequence of competencies in gifted and talented. MCGT encourages its members to support this legislation. It will not only expand opportunities for educator training in gifted and talented but it will form a foundation for future years with the hope that someday all teachers and administrators will receive training in gifted and talented as part of both their preservice and their continuing education requirements. We hope to provide updates on the above bills on the legislative yahoo group and MCGTdotnet, but for more prompt notification, you can go to www.house.leg.state.mn.us and click on “My Bills” to register to automatically receive updates on the status of these bills.
Quick Action is Important. Since these bills are already in committee, it is important that you contact your representative or senator as soon as possible and ask them to support educator training opportunities in gifted and talented. Without your help, it will be extremely difficult to get this legislation passed. It is easy to think that your voice doesn’t matter or that others will do the speaking for you. The reality is that we need every voice to speak up for our gifted students in Minnesota. We need YOUR voice in asking that all educators who come in contact with gifted children have appropriate education and on-going training in the identification of gifted students and in providing gifted programming. We need YOUR voice to ask for appropriate challenge for these children on a daily basis, not just occasionally in the classroom or once a week during an hourly pull-out. YOUR child’s story could make the difference in your legislator’s viewpoint, and in his or her vote, on gifted education. Elected representatives take notice when they hear from two people on an issue. They really take notice when they hear from five people on an issue.
Other Work by the MCGT Legislative Committee
Over the last several months, the committee has been developing a vision for future gifted and talented legislation. While much of that vision is best suited for a budget year at the capitol, the committee has done important planning and preparation for the years to come. Committee members have also been spending time networking with other organizations that are active in the Minnesota educational community. The committee met with groups such as the Minnesota Educators for the Gifted and Talented, Board of Teaching, Board of School Administrators, Minnesota School Boards Association, PACER, Minnesota Elementary Principals Association, Minnesota Secondary Principals Association, Metro Gifted Coordinators, universities, and others. The committee is hopeful that these relationships will be beneficial in legislative efforts on behalf of gifted kids in the years to come.
There are many opportunities to assist in these efforts. If you are interested in working with the MCGT Legislative Committee, contact the MCGT Board, [email protected]
2005. In a special summer session, legislators approved categorical aid to school districts for gifted education: $4 per pupil unit in FY2006 and $9 per pupil unit in FY2007 and beyond. Funds are wrapped into the IDEA payment and are restricted by law to three uses: the identification of gifted and talented students; provision of education programs for gifted and talented students; and/or provision of staff development to prepare teachers to best meet the unique needs of gifted and talented students. Residual funds must be reserved, recorded and used at a future date for gifted and talented as outlined in Article 1, Section 18 of the law.
In August, the Minnesota Department of Education approved a new definition of gifted and talented, developed by a subcommittee of the Gifted Education Strategic Planning group. (see separate document)
2004. Wendy Behrens was hired as the full-time Gifted and Talented Specialist in the Department of Education. In June, she convened a diverse group of about 30 participants with strong interests in gifted kids from all over Minnesota representing parents, legislators, public and private school educators and administrators to work on “New Directions: Gifted Education in Minnesota Vision and Strategic Planning.” The purpose of this comprehensive strategic plan is twofold: to acknowledge areas of need and to offer specific recommendations to improve the provision of and access to services by gifted and talented students. The proposed strategic plan signals a new direction, a comprehensive and detailed approach to improving gifted & talented services for the state of Minnesota.
2003. In February, AP and IB funds were cut again, to $449,000 for FY2003. The Department’s name was changed back to Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). In this belt-tightening year, GT advocates did not ask for any funding. Teresa Manzella, a member of MCGT’s Legislative Advisory Committee put it very succinctly, “We can’t expect to be taken seriously if we don’t demonstrate some awareness of our state’s financial realities.” Activity focused on talking with legislators about why it’s important to pay attention to gifted kids and their attention: telling stories, raising awareness, providing information, and stressing the importance of the gifted specialist position in MDE required by 1997 legislation.
2002. Funds for AP and IB tests and teacher training for FY 2003 are cut in half, to $1 million. The State Board of Teaching formed a “Task Force on Licensure of Teachers of Gifted and Talented Education.”
2001. In May, the State Board of Teaching (SBOT) accepted the position paper of the Advisory Board for the Gifted and Talented Development Center (in the MN Dept. of Children, Families and Learning) for a teaching endorsement in gifted/talented and voted unanimously to move ahead with a task force on the issue.
In the Legislature, Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs were again funded — $2 million for each of the next two years — to cover tests high school students take and training for teachers. (That program was originally put into place in 1992.)
The federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was passed by Congress. It sought to fuse equity and excellence into a single initiative, promoting academic achievement in the pursuit of equity. Historically, the federal government provided additional revenue to schools serving disadvantaged children, ostensibly so that schools could offer services that would help poor children learn. The architects of NCLB sought to transform the federal education dollar from a school entitlement into an incentive to prod schools towards better performance. Universal proficiency became the nation’s foremost education goal. Advocates of gifted and talented education were concerned. Incentives shape behavior. They asked if the incentives of NCLB would create a Robin Hood effect, yielding gains for low-achieving students but at the expense of high achievers. Some analysts today suggest that, by focusing attention on the education of students at the bottom of the achievement distribution, NCLB is surely encouraging schools to neglect high achievers. After all, schools face consequences for failing to move low-achieving students to proficiency. Students in schools that fail to make adequate progress for two consecutive years must be offered the option of transferring to another public school. A school that continues to fall short faces possible replacement of its teaching staff, conversion to a charter school, or state takeover. Nothing, however, happens when schools fail to boost the learning of already-proficient students to higher levels. As Susan Goodkin argued in the Washington Post, “By forcing schools to focus their time and funding almost entirely on bringing low achieving students up to proficiency, NCLB sacrifices the education of the gifted students who will become our future biomedical researchers, computer engineers, and other scientific leaders.”
Attitudes and opinions about bright children have waxed and waned over the decades, and so has funding for gifted education in the state of Minnesota and at the national level.
The odd-numbered years in this chronology are those in which biennial budgets are put together at the Legislature. Ppu stands for per pupil unit which is the amount of money a district receives for each student, weighted by whether they are in kindergarten, elementary, or secondary grades.
1999. Legislation was submitted to increase funding for the grants. It was defeated. Steve Schroeder-Davis, gifted/talented coordinator in the Elk River School District and former MCGT president wrote: “The current budget [for 2000] designated $20,000 for the approximately 80,000 gifted students in Minnesota – the amount the MDCFL (Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning) designated from its budget for the Gifted and Talented Development Center which Mary Pfeiffer created with her position. That $20,000 comes to .000025% of the $7.9 appropriated for K-12 education in 1999. In practice, this means we are targeting a whopping 25 cents from the state for each gifted student in Minnesota.”
1998. Beginning this year, Minnesota families with dependent children in kindergarten through twelfth grade can qualify for refundable tax credits or a tax deduction for educational expenses.
The Legislature eliminated the matching requirement for grant recipients with fewer than 6,000 students, effective for the second year of the grant program (1988-9). Funding of $52 ppu of state funding was allocated for implementation of Graduation Standards, with at least $5 ppu of that amount reserved for gifted and talented programs that were integrated with the graduation rule. Future funding (FY2000 and later) is $43 ppu which must be allocated to school sites and reserved for programs aimed at enhancing implementation of the standards through staff development, technology, gifted and talented programs, or class size reduction. (No specific dollar amount is given for gt programs in FY2000 and later.) The Legislature also required MDCFL to designate one staff member as a resource person for gifted and talented programs. Mary Pfeiffer was given the position and began creating the Gifted and Talented Development Center.
1997. Minnesota’s Omnibus Education bill passed in a special session of the Legislature and was signed into law by the governor. It included funding of $1.5 million per year for the next two years in matching grants to school districts or groups of school districts to provide access to appropriate programs for gifted and talented students. Grants could be $25 per pupil per year, not to exceed 10% of the school district’s student population. Recipients were required to match at least one local dollar for every state dollar, and could include in-kind contributions specifically dedicated to gifted and talented. Grants were to supplement, not supplant, school district funds already allocated for gifted and talented services. Recipients were to use the money for identification, access to challenging learning experiences or staff development in meeting the learning needs of gifted and talented students.
The Department of Children, Families, and Learning (MDCFL) (formerly the Minnesota Department of Education) was also told to designate resource staff for gifted. Rather than naming one person as the Gifted and Talented Specialist, a list of 12 gifted “experts” in the MDCFL were assigned the added responsibility to provide parents, teachers, and administrators with information on gifted and talented issues and concerns.
1993. That law was repealed when legislation was adopted that repealed some 200 pages of mandates. Because of the size of the bill, some G/T supporters (both legislators and citizens) were unaware that the G/T wording was also being eliminated.
The Minnesota Legislature’s Omnibus Education Act designated 2% of a district’s general fund for the 1994-5 school year go for staff development. One of the five required uses was to help teachers “meet pupils’ individual needs by using alternative instructional opportunities, accommodations, modifications, … and family and community resources.” Districts were also strongly encouraged to address six other goals, including inservicing staff to be able to “provide challenging instructional activities and experiences that recognize and cultivate students’ advanced abilities and talents.”
The U.S. Dept. of Education’s office of Educational Research and Improvement released National Excellence: A Case for Developing America’s Talent, the first comprehensive study on the status of gifted and talented education in America since the Marland report in 1972.
1990-1996. This was a tumultuous time at the Department of Education, with several reorganizations that resulted in staff being cut by one-third, including and the loss of all G/T resource people. However, the state’s Minimum Requirements for Elementary and Secondary Schools still included state law 3500.0500 GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS which stated in Subpart 1. Program for all pupils. “The educational program shall provide a general education for all pupils and suitable special education for exceptional children – handicapped, gifted and talented. It shall meet the needs and interests of all pupils and the needs of the community served.”
1989. Gifted and Talented Day was held at the State Capitol in March. Students and teachers from area schools attended, but turnout was somewhat disappointing.
House and Senate authors sponsored a bill for annual expenditures of $745,000 for fiscal years 1989 and 1990 for both regional education district and local school district efforts to: 1) develop model curriculum units, 2) create staff development experiences to train and support educators in strategies appropriate for gifted and talented students, 3) design cooperative efforts among colleges, universities, school districts, and public/private partnerships to improve learning opportunities for gifted and talented students, and 4) facilitate research and development by universities. (The bill’s authors: Representatives Alice Johnson, Charlie Weaver, Joel Jacobs, Ann Rest, Bob McEachern, and Gene Merriam, and Senators Ember Reichgott, Trace Beckman, Jim Pehler, Gary DeCramer and Gene Olson.)
Hearings before both the House and Senate Education Aids Committees were lightly attended. Teachers and students from Northfield and Spring Lake Park testified along with Lucie Taylor. Sarah Smith, Gifted Specialist with the MN State Department of Education, was there to answer questions. Sandra Peterson, President of MFT (MN Federation of Teachers), told legislators, “The categorical funds originally placed in previous budgets to target state money to areas of special need and emphasis have now apparently been rolled together. This will create the impression that certain other funding levels are increasing. But this is a mere re-arrangement of funds, not an attempt to provide adequate funding. … Categorical funds were originally budgeted for worthwhile education needs. … Cutting those funds back and rolling them together has not, and will not, eliminate the need.” Following testimony, neither the House nor the Senate Education Aids Committee referred the bill to their full Education Committees. Thus, both the Senate and House bills died.
Summer, 1989. As part of the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Education Act, the national office for gifted and talented education was re-established in the Department of Education within the division of Education Research.
Lucie Taylor’s grim “Update on 1989 Legislation” appeared in the May/June, 1989, issue of the Minnesota Council for Gifted and Talented Newsletter. Her closing paragraphs are worth repeating: “When the 1990 election rolls round, ask incumbent candidates why they did not vote for, or insist that there be discussion on, gifted education. And if the answer is not a satisfactory one, vote for someone else … I feel sad writing about this lack of progress, in part because I have no idea what the next step should be. … There is no money in the Governor’s omnibus education bill for the proposal from the Coalition for Gifted and Talented Education, nor is there other money for gifted education except for that set aside in the reserve fund (established by the Legislature in 1987).”
1988. Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Education Act (description in this section) passed a joint Congressional Senate and House conference committee on education appropriations with a compromised amount of 7.9 million dollars.
The Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented and several volunteers (including Jessica Wiley, Gifted Coordinator/teacher in the Eden Prairie Schools, and Mary C. Youngquist, newly elected MCGT board member) began work to renew the Minnesota Coalition, and to draft legislation to remedy the dwindling resources available for gifted and talented education in Minnesota.
Coalition members were again recruited and the total membership represented grew to 90,000. Support came from both teacher unions, MEA (Minnesota Education Association) and MFT (Minnesota Federation of Teachers); American Association of University Women (Minnesota division); Council of Asian-Pacific Minnesotans; Junior Leagues of both Minneapolis and St. Paul; League of Women Voters of Minnesota; Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented; Minnesota Educators for the Gifted and Talented; and the National Council of Jewish Women chapters in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
1987. The Minnesota Legislature abolished the categorical funding system that had been in effect for many programs. The categorical money was rolled into the foundation aid of $2,735 that each district received per student. Of that amount, the district could choose to spend 1.85% of the money (or $50.5975 per student) on any of several specific programs, including gifted and talented education, special education, arts education, chemical abuse, cooperative programs between districts, programs of excellence, summer programs, and liability insurance. Each school district would decide how to divide the money among those programs. A district could choose to spend it all on one program, spread it around between several programs, or spend some money on all of them. It became a local decision as to how and where these dollars would be spent.
Lucie Taylor wrote to MCGT members, “The effect upon a gifted child will depend on how the local district approaches its responsibility to provide appropriate educational programs. Since it is a local decision, your involvement as a parent advocate will be even more important.”
Gifted and talented education in Minnesota was in trouble. However, the Department of Education still had one or two G/T resource people on staff.
1985. Lobbying efforts continued through the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented. The funding base remained at 5% of the school population, while the dollar amount per pupil was increased to $40, with a minimum per school district of $500. Funding probably became “categorical” this year, meaning that enough money was budgeted so that every school automatically received the $40 ppu for 5% of their students (or $500, whichever was more) through the 1988-89 school year.
1984. Leaders of the Minnesota Coalition for the Gifted and Talented were wearing down and the Coalition could no longer maintain its effective legislative watch-dog role. The Coalition disbanded.
1982-3. Funding from the state legislature for gifted education for 5% of the school population in districts offering programs for gifted and talented students received a small increase to keep pace with some of the effects of inflation: $16.18 for FY83, $18.25 for FY84, and $19 for FY85.
1981. President Reagan abolished the national office for gifted and talented education in the Department of Education and, with it, separate federal funding for gifted programs. The Minnesota Coalition for the Gifted and Talented lobbied successfully to increase the student population identified as gifted in Minnesota to 5%. The dollar amount for gifted education remained unchanged, so the allocation per identified pupil fell to $15.
1979. The Minnesota Legislature responded by designating $30 per identified student, not to exceed 2.5% of the total student population in a district, to be used for gifted education programs. A total of $600,000 was set aside for the competitive application process.
Northwestern Area Foundation provided two-year grants for cooperative activities to benefit gifted children.
Three state organizations collaborated on the Minnesota Gifted Awareness Program (MGAP): Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented, Minnesota Educators of the Gifted and Talented (MEGT), and Minnesota Coalition for the Gifted and Talented (a coalition of 21 state organizations). The first of MGAP’s two goals was a statewide campaign was to raise awareness, provide information, and dispel the myths and stereotypes about gifted and talented children. A public relations campaign was launched which included posters, media public service announcements, pamphlets targeted to five constituencies (parents, teachers, administrators, business people, and the community), and a prize-winning series of newspaper articles that were distributed and published all over Minnesota. The second MGAP goal was to provide parents and others interested in gifted and talented children with the means and information to help them advocate effectively for appropriate educational programs for these children. A handbook, You Are Your Child’s Best Advocate, was published to assist those who advocate for the needs of their own children and all gifted children.
1978. U.S. Congress passed the Gifted and Talented Children’s Act, creating a national office for gifted and talented education in the federal Department of Education. The federal definition of gifted and talented read: “… means children and, wherever applicable, youth who are identified at the preschool, elementary, or secondary level as possessing demonstrated or potential abilities that give evidence of high performance capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, specific academic, or leadership ability, or in the performing and visual arts, and who by reason thereof, require services or activities not ordinarily provided by the school.”
In Minnesota, ten summer forums for gifted education, sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Education, were conducted throughout the state. Lorraine Hertz was the gifted and talented specialist in the department. In written testimony, 257 parents, educators and students expressed their concern about the quality of education that high potential students were receiving in Minnesota public schools. Regions represented were: Brainerd, Moorhead, St. Cloud, Rochester, Duluth, Northern Twin Cities, and Southern Twin Cities.
Minnesota Coalition for the Gifted and Talented headed a massive, organized lobbying effort to obtain state funds for gifted and talented education. Total combined membership in the Coalition organizations was about 60,000 people.
1977. Minnesota Coalition for the Gifted and Talented was organized with a position statement that read: “Whereas it is the responsibility of the state to meet the special education needs of all children, we support adequate financing of public education programs to meet the needs of gifted and talented children.”
1976. Minnesota State Board of Education approved a position statement on high potential students: “Pupils and the public at large are benefited when educational institutions recognize and accommodate to individual differences. When pupils possess outstanding gifts or talents, the benefits to the individual and society are maximized when such attributes are enhanced and developed. No less than 5% of the children in any school district shall be identified by the district staff as high potential: gifted and talented.”
The Board also adopted a statement which formally recognized and defined these Minnesota students: “Gifted and talented children are those who, by virtue of outstanding abilities, are capable of high performance. These are children whose potentialities can be realized theourh differentiated education programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school programs. Children capable of high performance include those with demonstrated achievement or potential ability in any of the following areas, singly or in combination: general intellectual ability, specific academic aptitude, creative or productive thinking, leadership ability, visual and performing arts.”
1972. National Commissioner of Education Sidney P. Marland Jr. presented a report to Congress on the education of gifted and high-achieving children in the United States. (The report included a definition of gifted and talented students which is still widely used more than 30 years later.) The Marland Report argued that America had too few challenging programs to meet the needs of its high-achieving students. Just fifteen years earlier, the Russian launch of Sputnik had led to a flurry of programs promoting mathematics and science. Within a few years, however, these programs were eclipsed by a focus on societal inequities—especially those related to race and poverty—and efforts were launched to eradicate similar inequalities in U.S. schools. Gifted programs came under fire for being elitist. Some dwindled away from lack of funding. In addition to urging that gifted programs address a broad array of talents and abilities, the Marland Report warned Congress that bright minority students are particularly vulnerable.
1950. National Science Foundation Act marked the first time the federal government provided funds specifically for the gifted and talented. By providing funds for encouraging students to develop their abilities in mathematics and the physical sciences, the Act led, in essence, to the designation of specific academic aptitude as a type of giftedness.