Next Steps in NAGC’s Equity and Social Justice Initiative

NAGC Officers

Earlier this month the NAGC Board of Directors approved and released a statement and expanded vision for advancing equity and social Justice for Black students in gifted education. At its meeting on July 21, 2020, the board agreed to the following next steps to begin implementation of this initiative:

  • Review and revision of all policies and association procedures to ensure equity is prioritized within all networks, committees, work groups, the annual convention, and other programming efforts.
  • Facilitation of virtual town hall discussions on race and gifted and talented education.
  • Development of publications centered on the experience of Black gifted students.
  • Expansion of the Javits-Frasier Scholars Program, NAGC’s professional development program for educators working in Title I schools.

Lastly, the board decided that the special issue of Gifted Child Quarterly commemorating the anniversary of Lewis Terman’s study, originally scheduled for publication in early 2021, will not be published. The special issue has been the topic of much debate due to controversies surrounding Terman’s views on race and eugenics. As we move forward, we must think hard about whom we honor, and both the direct and implicit messages sent by our actions. As NAGC strengthens its vision for equity and social justice, the Board believes that publishing a special issue of our academic journal on Terman’s work does not appropriately represent our organizational values.

The Board did not take this step lightly. We are committed to the principles of editorial independence both now and in the future. But in consulting with publishers, association publishing consultants, editors in education and related fields, and other professional associations in the wake of the most recent incidents of racial violence, we believe there is an important distinction between editors’ academic freedom to solicit, evaluate, and make decisions about papers for an academic journal, and decisions about which topics receive the implicit endorsement of the association by being the focus of a special issue. In this particular instance, the Board strongly believes that the proposed special issue topic does not deserve and should not receive that endorsement.

We have made a commitment to our members and the field to be more assertive regarding equity in education, a commitment we intend to fulfill both now and in the future. Please reach out to us to share your ideas of how NAGC can most effectively become a catalyst for solutions to systemic and institutionalized racism as the country strives to become a better version of itself.