Advocating at the State Level

Most of the important decisions about gifted education are formed at the state level, making your state legislature an important place to begin your advocacy efforts. In many cases, state legislative initiatives are coordinated by the state gifted education association with support from individuals and local parent groups.

Use the tools below to develop a state legislative advocacy agenda.

Your State's Definition

Most states have a definition of gifted or gifted and talented children and that is great place to start your advocacy efforts. Use the definition to guide sample identification and service policy or to change the definition to refine gifted programs in your state. Find your state definition.

Create Your Plan

Advocacy is a long-term commitment and it is helpful to have a map to organize priorities and mark steps towards your goals.Use this assessment form to create your map.

Develop Sample Policy

In many cases, comparing how your state compares to neighboring states and the nation is an effective advocacy strategy as well as suggest policy that is needed in your own state.  For example, do the neighboring states fund gifted education?  Do they require teacher training?  Do they permit dual enrollment in middle school and high school classes? Using this information in fact sheets to support a legislative agenda or for letters-to-the editor can help others understand your state's relative strengths (and weaknesses) in supporting gifted learners. 

Academic acceleration is a valuable gifted education strategy. The Academic Acceleration Guidelines has guidelines for developing an academic acceleration policy at the state or local level.  Download this booklet.

Join the State Association for Gifted Education

Most states have a statewide gifted education association that advocates on behalf of gifted students.  Many of these groups focus on legislative advocacy in their state capitals; most also offer a range of education opportunities, including statewide and regional conferences for teachers and parents.  NAGC is pleased that the state associations have chosen to work with the national organization and we rely on the state groups and their members to educate state and federal legislators on the needs of gifted learners.  If you haven't already joined your state group, we urge you to look into the resources they offer and the types of projects in which you might get involved.

Find your state association's website.