What is a Javits Grant?

Parenting for High Potential 

The Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act (Javits) was first passed by Congress in 1988 as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and reauthorized in 2015 through the Every Student Succeeds Act to support the development of talent in U.S. schools. The Javits Act is the only federal program dedicated specifically to gifted and talented students. It does not fund local gifted education programs.

Pursuant to the Javits Act, the U.S. Department of Education established the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program (Javits Program). The purpose of the Javits Program is to carry out a coordinated program of evidence- based research, demonstration projects, innovative strategies, and similar activities designed to build and enhance the ability of elementary schools and secondary schools nationwide to identify gifted and talented students and meet their special educational needs. This program emphasizes identification of and service to students traditionally underrepresented in gifted and talented programs, particularly economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient (LEP), and disabled students and prioritizes funding for research efforts that are supportive of this objective.

Research supported by Javits funding and demonstration programs has created new valid and reliable ways to identify gifted students from underserved populations; produced fair and equitable observation tools for identifying gifted and talented English Language Learners; and helped teachers implement materials that result in improved performance for high-potential Black students.

Perhaps most importantly, the Javits Program has dispelled myths about what learners from diverse backgrounds can, and should be expected, to achieve. Thanks to the program’s research-based interventions, numerous gifted minority and economically disadvantaged students are thriving.

Funding for the Javits Program is discretionary, so each year Congress votes to continue funding. Congress voted to provide the Javits Program $12 million for FY19, the same amount of funding received in 2018; however, funding is never guaranteed. That’s why every March, NAGC brings state affiliate leaders, educators, and parents together at the annual NAGC Leadership & Advocacy Conference to discuss goals for influencing policy and to learn best effective advocacy practices. In addition to raising awareness and advocating for legislation that serves gifted and talented children, advocates visit Capitol Hill to ask federal lawmakers to ensure the Javits Program remains funded for the upcoming fiscal year. [NOTE: The Administration's FY2021 budget request proposes elimination of Javits.]

NAGC has also established the Legislative Action Network, a platform to share best advocacy practices, exchange ideas, and support a national (federal, state, local) framework to support all gifted and talented children. NAGC’s goal is to grow the list of active advocates who will directly call for improved policy and programs to support gifted children as they reach for their personal best.

A version of this blog first appeared in Parenting for High Potential (March 2019).