TALENT Act (S. 363) Introduced in Senate
February 5, 2015

WASHINGTON (February 5, 2015) – As Congress once again prepares to tackle a rewrite of the nation’s elementary and secondary education law, a group of bipartisan lawmakers have reintroduced legislation to reverse the neglect of high-ability and high-potential learners.

On Wednesday, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and John Boozman (R-AR) introduced a measure known as the To Aid Gifted and High-Ability Learners by Empowering the Nation’s Teachers or TALENT Act (S. 363). This bill would help ensure federal education programs focused on teacher training and public reporting also apply to these learners.

The introduction of TALENT comes shortly after Congress doubled to $10 million the appropriation for the Jacob Javits Gifted Education Grant Program run by the Department of Education. The program supports applied research to develop effective strategies to better identify and serve high-potential students from populations traditionally underrepresented in gifted education programs.

“The National Association for Gifted Children applauds the Senators for reintroducing the TALENT Act this Congress. By requiring greater public accountability through state and district level reporting on the achievement of their high-performing students, we will bring parity to the reporting process and better understand how these students are – or are not – progressing,” said NAGC President Tracy L. Cross, Executive Director of the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William & Mary.

“In addition to improving state and district reporting, it is also critical that we focus on fully developing the talents of high-ability students with disabilities, English language learners and other high-ability learners who could become high achievers with the right support. The TALENT Act addresses this by ensuring that federal teacher training funds can be used to better prepare educators to spot emerging talent and to better serve the unique needs of these learners.  It would also build upon the recent gains made for the Javits program in recent years by strengthening such targeted research initiatives,” Cross added.

Senator Grassley said, “Federal education policy tends to overlook high potential students, especially from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Grassley said.  “Often these kids aren’t challenged and they might even drop out of school, when they could excel with the right encouragement. Our bill would give attention to the students who are bright and capable but are in danger of falling through the cracks.”

Senator Mikulski said, “As we look at how best to support jobs and opportunity to help middle class families get ahead and not just get by, we must look at how best to educate the children who will make up tomorrow’s workforce.

“I believe that all children deserve a chance to reach their full potential. Children with great potential need to have great opportunities. We need to be able to engage and encourage these high-ability and high-potential students, and hold them to high standards. This legislation will help ensure we educate and prepare these students well so that our nation’s brightest minds will get brighter each year and will not stagnate,” she added.