Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) today introduced the bipartisan To Aid Gifted and High-Ability Learners by Empowering the Nation's Teachers (TALENT) Act. This bill provides common sense, no-cost strategies to improve America's talent trajectory and economic competitiveness by identifying outstanding students, and addressing the persistent challenges that impede school districts from providing appropriate services to talented students.
"Too many talented students, especially in areas with high poverty rates, don't have access to the supports and opportunities that allow them to reach their potential," said Rep. Polis. "The TALENT Act offers no-cost strategies to help identify outstanding students, provide opportunities for them to excel, and help build the talent base necessary to make our workforce more competitive in a global economy."
"Current education policy neglects the needs of high-ability students, including those in rural areas, and the TALENT Act would give states and local school districts a better way forward to address them," Rep. Latham said. "This no-cost legislation would help more of our gifted youth in Iowa and all across the country realize their potential and prepare them to lead their generation."
Today, far too many students are not achieving their full potential, with every state reporting wide "Excellence Gaps," or the achievement gap at the top levels of achievement between low-income students and their more affluent peers, and between minority students and white students. Nationally, on the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) math exam, 9% of white students scored at the advanced level, compared with 1% of African American students and 2% of Hispanic students.
"Our nation's high-ability students -- particularly those from low-income or minority backgrounds -- have been under-identified and overshadowed for far too long in a federal educational system that concentrates on its struggling, low-achieving students," said Christy Chambers, president of the Council for Exceptional Children. "We know that an excellence gap exists at the highest achievement levels, and we enthusiastically endorse the TALENT Act, especially its provisions to end the gap between underprivileged minorities and their more advantaged peers."
"For too long, our nation has neglected the needs of our high-ability students, particularly those from disadvantaged and underserved communities whose potential often goes unnoticed and their talents undeveloped," said National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) President Paula Olszewski-Kubilius. "NAGC commends Congressmen Polis for sponsoring this bipartisan bill with Representative Latham and look forward to working with him and other lawmakers, particularly as Congress moves to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)."
The TALENT Act was introduced in the 113th Congress in the U.S. Senate as S. 512 by Senator Grassley (R-IA), Senator Mikulski (D-MD), and Senator Casey (D-PA). For additional information, please review our fact sheet here.