There are an estimated three million children with gifts and talents in the United States whose unique educational needs go largely unaddressed. By neglecting the educational needs of these students, we put our country at a disadvantage to effectively compete in the global marketplace and deprive them of an appropriate, challenging education.
Dubbed the “quiet crisis” by former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley in 1993, the availability of gifted education still varies dramatically between and within states, leaving many of our nation’s schools under-prepared to meet the learning needs of students with gifts and talents.
In 2012, consistent with prior reports, the Office of Civil Rights within the U.S. Department of Education found that students who are African American or Hispanic are disproportionately underrepresented in gifted and talented education programs, nationally. Moreover, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to achieve at advanced levels on state assessments and on the National Assessment of Education Progress than their more advantaged peers, known as theExcellence Gap.
Unfortunately, the federal government has done little to properly address the educational needs of students with gifts and talents. In 2011, Congress eliminated all funding for the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act, the sole federal program dedicated to supporting the needs of high-ability students. CEC, together with its members and like-minded organizations, advocated to reverse this action and support an increased federal role in gifted education. Every student should have access to a challenging education. In 2016 the Javits Center was funded at $12 million.