S. 857 (112th): Aid Gifted and High-Ability Learners by Empowering the Nation’s Teachers Act

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Apr 14, 2011 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 857

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 14, 2011

(for himself and Mr. Casey) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

A BILL

To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to aid gifted and talented learners, including high-ability learners not formally identified as gifted.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the To Aid Gifted and High-Ability Learners by Empowering the Nation's Teachers Act or the TALENT Act.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. Findings.

Sec. 3. References.

TITLE I—Improving basic program requirements

Sec. 101. State plans.

Sec. 102. Annual State report cards.

Sec. 103. Local educational agency plans.

TITLE II—Improving teaching for gifted and talented students

Sec. 201. State plans.

Sec. 202. Local plans.

TITLE III—Gifted and talented students in rural schools

Sec. 301. Small rural school achievement program.

Sec. 302. Rural and low-income school program.

TITLE IV—Aiding gifted and high-ability learners by empowering the Nation’s teachers

Sec. 401. Establishment of TALENT program.

TITLE V—General provisions

Sec. 501. Definitions.

Sec. 502. Repeal of the Jacob K. Javits gifted and talented program.

Sec. 503. Technical and conforming amendments.

Sec. 504. Effective date.

2.

Findings

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)

Academically gifted and talented students make up an estimated 6 to 10 percent of the prekindergarten through grade 12 student population, totaling between 3,000,000 and 6,000,000 students.

(2)

There is a growing gap at the highest levels of achievement between the performance of subgroups of students, particularly between the performance of students who are African-American or Hispanic and the performance of White students, on statewide assessments and on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

(3)

Students with gifts and talents, and high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services, require modifications to the general education curriculum to fully meet their potential.

(4)

Effective assessment and instruction of students with gifts and talents requires educators to have specialized knowledge and skills.

(5)

Ninety percent of teachers nationwide want more professional development focused on the skills necessary for teaching advanced students.

(6)

Interventions and strategies that have been demonstrated to be successful with gifted and talented students can be modified to improve the achievement of all students.

(7)

The availability of gifted education programs and services to students who require such services is unequal and often relies solely on local resources and leadership, leaving many high-ability students from rural areas or who are English language learners or Hispanic, African-American, or Native American, among others, without access to appropriate services.

(8)

There are an estimated 360,000 students in the United States who are both gifted and have a disability. These twice exceptional children present special challenges because their disability often masks their academic potential or their academic strengths may mask their disability, resulting in a lack of services and supports for this student population.

(9)

The development and dissemination of research and national data on gifted and talented students is necessary to—

(A)

guide evidence-based classroom practices vital to meeting the unique needs of this population of students; and

(B)

contribute to the decisionmaking of educators, families, and policymakers.

3.

References

Except as otherwise expressly provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a section or other provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a section or other provision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.).

I

Improving basic program requirements

101.

State plans

(a)

Accountability

Section 1111(b)(2)(A) (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(2)(A)) is amended—

(1)

in clause (ii), by striking and after the semicolon;

(2)

in clause (iii), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(iv)

include a recognition program for local educational agencies in the State that, for each category of students described in subsection (b)(2)(C)(v), significantly increase the proportion of students scoring at or above the advanced level of achievement on the State academic assessments under subsection (a)(3).

.

(b)

State assessments

Section 1111(b)(3) (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(3)) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (A)—

(A)

by inserting vertically scaled, after high-quality,; and

(B)

by inserting and exceed after children to meet; and

(2)

in subparagraph (C)—

(A)

in clause (xiv), by striking and after the semicolon;

(B)

in clause (xv), by striking the period and inserting ; and; and

(C)

by adding at the end the following:

(xvi)

measure the full spectrum of student learning, by being, at a minimum—

(I)

vertically scaled in alignment with the State academic content standards and student academic achievement standards; and

(II)

able to determine student mastery of content standards above the grade level in which the student is enrolled.

.

(c)

Accountability system

Section 1111(b) (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (8)—

(A)

in subparagraph (D), by striking and after the semicolon;

(B)

by redesignating subparagraph (E) as subparagraph (F); and

(C)

by inserting after subparagraph (D) the following:

(E)

the specific steps the State educational agency will take to assist each local educational agency and school affected by the State plan to provide additional educational assistance to individual students who—

(i)

perform at the advanced level of achievement on the State academic assessments described in paragraph (3); and

(ii)

are gifted and talented (including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services); and

; and

(2)

in paragraph (10)(B), by inserting , including students who score at the advanced level of achievement on State academic assessments described in paragraph (3) and students who are gifted and talented (including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services) before the period at the end.

102.

Annual State report cards

Section 1111(h)(1)(C) (20 U.S.C. 6311(h)(1)(C)) is amended—

(1)

in clause (vii), by striking ; and and inserting a semicolon;

(2)

by redesignating clause (viii) as clause (ix); and

(3)

by inserting after clause (vii) the following:

(viii)

the most recent 2-year trend in student achievement for students scoring in the highest 10 percent on the State academic assessments under subsection (a)(3), in each subject area, and each grade level, for which such assessments are required, disaggregated by each of the categories described in subsection (b)(2)(C)(v); and

.

103.

Local educational agency plans

(a)

Plan provisions

Section 1112(b)(1) (20 U.S.C. 6312(b)(1)) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (P), by striking and after the semicolon;

(2)

in subparagraph (Q), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(R)

a description of how the local educational agency will identify gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not previously been formally identified for gifted education services, and provide services to support the learning needs of such students to ensure that such students make appropriate learning gains.

.

(b)

Schoolwide programs

Section 1114(b)(1) (20 U.S.C. 6314(b)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(K)

A description of how the school will identify gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not previously been formally identified for gifted education services, and provide services to support such students' learning needs to ensure that such students make appropriate learning gains.

.

(c)

Targeted assistance schools

Section 1115(c)(1) (20 U.S.C. 6315(c)(1)) is amended—

(1)

in subparagraph (G), by striking and after the semicolon;

(2)

in subparagraph (H), by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(I)

describe how the school will identify gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not previously been formally identified for gifted education services, and provide services to support their learning needs to ensure that gifted and talented and high-ability students make appropriate learning gains.

.

II

Improving teaching for gifted and talented students

201.

State plans

Section 2112(b)(5) (20 U.S.C. 6612(b)(5)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(C)

A description of the comprehensive strategy the State educational agency will use to improve the teaching skills of teachers, principals, pupil services personnel, and other instructional leaders in order to enable them to employ strategies that focus on—

(i)

the identification of students' specific learning needs, particularly students with disabilities, students who are limited English proficient, students who are gifted and talented, and students with low literacy levels; and

(ii)

the tailoring of academic instruction to such needs.

.

202.

Local plans

Section 2122(b)(2) (20 U.S.C. 6622(b)(2)) is amended—

(1)

by striking to eliminate the achievement and inserting the following:

to eliminate—

(A)

the achievement

;

(2)

by striking students. and inserting students; and; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

including the achievement gap between the highest 10 percent of scores on the State academic assessments for students in each category described in section 1111(b)(2)(C)(v)(II), as compared to the highest 10 percent of such scores for all students served by the local educational agency.

.

III

Gifted and talented students in rural schools

301.

Small rural school achievement program

Section 6211 (20 U.S.C. 7345) is amended by inserting , including supporting gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services after local activities.

302.

Rural and low-income school program

Section 6222(a)(2) (20 U.S.C. 7351a(a)(2)) is amended by striking and to and inserting , train teachers to meet the unique learning needs of gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services, and.

IV

Aiding gifted and high-ability learners by empowering the Nation’s teachers

401.

Establishment of TALENT program

(a)

In general

Title II (20 U.S.C. 6601 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

E

Aiding gifted and high-ability learners by empowering the Nation’s teachers

2501.

Establishment of TALENT program

(a)

Purposes and objectives

(1)

Purposes

The purposes of this part are—

(A)

to address the urgent need for innovation in teaching gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services, by initiating a coordinated program of high-quality professional development for teachers (including gifted and talented teachers), principals, pupil services personnel, and other instructional leaders, to support the identification and education of gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not previously been formally identified for gifted education services;

(B)

to spur the development and dissemination of evidence-based best practices that elementary and secondary schools and families can use to improve instruction and learning by initiating evidence-based demonstration projects that investigate the effectiveness of services and programs to meet the special education needs of gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services; and

(C)

to establish a National Research and Dissemination Center for the Education of the Gifted and Talented to conduct and synthesize research and disseminate practical information on improving education outcomes for gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services.

(b)

Applicability to all gifted students

The provisions of this part apply to all gifted and talented students, including high-ability students, without regard as to whether such students have been formally identified as gifted and talented or selected for gifted education services.

(c)

Professional development and best practices grant program

(1)

Definition of eligible entity

In this subsection, the term eligible entity means an institution of higher education or State educational agency acting in a partnership that—

(A)

includes a State educational agency, local educational agency, consortium of local educational agencies, or an institution of higher education; and

(B)

may include other public agencies, private entities, or organizations, that have demonstrated expertise in gifted education pedagogy.

(2)

Program authorized

(A)

In general

From the amounts appropriated to carry out this subsection, the Secretary, after consultation with experts in the field of gifted and talented education, is authorized to award, on a competitive basis, grants to eligible entities to enable the eligible entities to carry out activities supporting the purposes of subparagraph (A) or (B) of subsection (a)(1).

(B)

Duration of demonstration project grants

A grant awarded to carry out the purpose described in subsection (a)(1)(B) shall be for a period of not less than 3 years nor more than 5 years.

(3)

Applications

Each entity seeking a grant under this subsection shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Secretary may reasonably require. Each such application shall describe—

(A)

in the case of an application for a grant for the purpose described in subsection (a)(1)(A), how the proposed professional development program is designed in response to a needs assessment;

(B)

in the case of an application for a grant for the purpose described in subsection (a)(1)(B)—

(i)

how the proposed demonstration project will support the development and dissemination of evidence-based strategies and practices that local educational agencies and families can use to improve the identification and education of gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not previously been formally identified for gifted education services; and

(ii)

how the grantee proposes to disseminate project findings and outcomes to general education and gifted and talented education professionals and to parents;

(C)

where appropriate, how the professional development program or demonstration project can be adapted for use with all students; and

(D)

how the proposed professional development program or demonstration project will be evaluated.

(4)

Review of demonstration project applications

In reviewing applications for a grant for the purpose described in subsection (a)(1)(B), the Secretary shall select eligible entities for such grants based on one or more of the following priorities:

(A)

Improving methods and techniques for identifying and serving gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not previously been formally identified for gifted education services, from underserved populations (including economically disadvantaged individuals, individuals with limited English proficiency, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from rural geographic areas).

(B)

Developing valid and reliable formative and summative assessment instruments that accurately measure student performance above grade level.

(C)

Increasing the ability of teachers in general education settings to identify and instruct gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not previously been formally identified for gifted education services.

(D)

Exploring the impact on achievement of various school- and classroom-based educational strategies such as multi-tiered supports and services, accelerated learning opportunities, and enrichment.

(E)

Improving—

(i)

access to advanced programs and services by traditionally underserved populations; and

(ii)

the effectiveness of the programs and services for such populations.

(F)

Replicating, on a larger scale, successful evidence-based practices.

(5)

Authorized use of funds

(A)

Ensuring necessary teaching skills

An eligible entity receiving a grant for the purpose described in subsection (a)(1)(A) shall use grant funds to ensure that school personnel, including teachers, principals, pupil services personnel, and other instructional leaders, have the necessary teaching skills and educational strategies to ensure that gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services, are achieving at levels commensurate with the students' ability or aptitude, by implementing a professional development program that—

(i)

enables school personnel to recognize the learning differences, developmental milestones, and cognitive and affective characteristics of gifted and talented students, including gifted and talented students from diverse backgrounds and high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services, and to identify the students' related academic and social-emotional needs;

(ii)

enables educators to—

(I)

understand, plan, and implement a range of evidence-based strategies to assess students who are gifted and talented, including high-ability students who have not previously been formally identified for gifted education services, to differentiate instruction, content, and assignments for such students (including the use of higher-order critical and creative thinking skills), and to nominate such students for advanced programs or academic acceleration, as needed; and

(II)

understand how, if appropriate, such strategies may be adapted for the use of all students; and

(iii)

builds the capacity of teachers, principals, pupil services personnel, and other instructional leaders to identify and serve such students.

(B)

Supporting evidence-based research demonstration projects

An eligible entity receiving a grant for the purpose described in subsection (a)(1)(B) shall use grant funds to—

(i)

conduct field-based research to develop innovative practices, assessment tools for gifted identification, materials, and other practices and strategies, that are designed specifically to address the needs of gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services; and

(ii)

provide research findings and other grant results to the National Research and Dissemination Center established under subsection (d) not later than 12 months after the completion of the grant period for synthesis and dissemination.

(d)

National research and dissemination center for the education of the gifted and talented

(1)

Definition of eligible entity

In this subsection, the term eligible entity means a partnership composed of not less than one of each of the following:

(A)

An institution of higher education with expertise in gifted and talented education.

(B)

A nonprofit organization with an established national network of stakeholders, including parents and classroom educators, interested in serving the unique learning needs of gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services.

(2)

Establishment of national research and dissemination center

From the amounts appropriated under section 2502(b)(1) to carry out this subsection, the Secretary, through a competitive grant process, is authorized to award a grant to an eligible entity to enable the eligible entity to establish a National Research and Dissemination Center for the Education of the Gifted and Talented that is focused on the unique needs of gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services.

(3)

Authorized use of funds

An eligible entity that receives a grant under this subsection shall use the funds provided under the grant to carry out all of the following activities:

(A)

Conduct evidence-based research on methods and techniques for identifying and serving gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not previously been formally identified for gifted education services and, where appropriate, for using the methods and techniques to serve all students.

(B)

Develop and disseminate evidence-based resources on the unique learning needs of students who are gifted and talented, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services, in order to—

(i)

support teacher training and professional development strategies to improve the teaching skills of teachers (including general education, gifted and talented, and special education teachers); and

(ii)

assist parents in supporting their gifted and talented children’s education.

(C)
(i)

Synthesize research findings and strategies (including research produced under grants awarded under subsection (c)) on meeting the needs of gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services.

(ii)

Disseminate such research findings and strategies widely, including to—

(I)

the regional comprehensive centers authorized under section 203 of the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002 that provide technical assistance to States and local educational agencies; and

(II)

the technical assistance and dissemination centers and parent training and information centers authorized under sections 663 and 671, respectively, of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

(e)

Annual reporting

Each entity receiving a grant under this part shall submit an annual report to the Secretary that describes the number of students served and the activities supported with funds provided under this part.

(f)

Rule of construction

Nothing in this part shall be construed to prohibit a recipient of funds under this part from serving gifted and talented students simultaneously with students with similar educational needs, in the same educational settings where appropriate.

(g)

Program priorities

In carrying out this part, the Secretary shall ensure that not less than 50 percent of the applications approved under subsection (c) in a fiscal year address one or more of the following priorities:

(1)

Improving the capability of schools to plan and conduct targeted gifted and talented interventions and academic services to ensure that the rate of growth in academic achievement of subgroups of gifted and talented or high-ability students who may not be identified and served through traditional assessment methods (including economically disadvantaged individuals, individuals with limited English proficiency, and individuals with disabilities) is commensurate with their aptitude or ability.

(2)

Assisting rural schools and local educational agencies in providing services to gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not previously been formally identified for gifted education services.

(h)

General provisions

(1)

Review, dissemination, and evaluation

The Secretary shall—

(A)

use a peer review process in reviewing applications under this part;

(B)

ensure that information on the activities and results of programs and projects funded under this part is disseminated to State educational agencies, local educational agencies, institution of higher education teacher preparation programs, and other appropriate organizations, including nonprofit organizations; and

(C)

evaluate the effectiveness of programs under this part in accordance with section 9601, in terms of the impact on students traditionally served in separate gifted and talented programs and on other students, and submit the results of such evaluation to Congress not later than 2 years after the date of enactment of the To Aid Gifted and High-Ability Learners by Empowering the Nation's Teachers Act.

(2)

Program operations

The Secretary shall ensure that the programs under this part are administered within the Department by a person who has recognized professional qualifications and experience in the field of gifted and talented education. Such individual shall—

(A)

administer and coordinate the programs authorized under this part;

(B)

serve as a focal point of national leadership and information on the educational needs of gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services, and the availability of educational services and programs designed to meet such needs;

(C)

assist the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences in identifying research and data collection priorities that reflect the needs of gifted and talented students, including high-ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services, and would facilitate appropriate decisionmaking by local educational agencies;

(D)

consult with other offices within the Department of Education and in other Federal departments or agencies regarding issues involving gifted and talented education, and disseminate information on gifted and talented education to such offices and the public; and

(E)
(i)

every 2 years, prepare and submit to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate and the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives, a report on the outcomes and promising practices developed through programs or projects funded under this part, as well as the condition of gifted and talented students in the United States; and

(ii)

share such report with the Institute for Education Sciences and the National Research and Dissemination Center for the Education of the Gifted and Talented established under subsection (d), in order for the report to be disseminated nationally.

2502.

Authorization of appropriations

(a)

In general

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this part $25,000,000 for fiscal year 2013 and such sums as may be necessary for each succeeding fiscal year.

(b)

Allocation of funding

Of the amounts appropriated under subsection (a) for a fiscal year, the Secretary—

(1)

shall allocate an amount not to exceed 20 percent of the funds to carry out section 2501(d); and

(2)

shall, from the amount remaining after the allocation under paragraph (1)—

(A)

allocate 60 percent of such remaining amount to carry out grants described in section 2501(a)(1)(A); and

(B)

allocate 40 percent of the remaining amount to carry out grants described in section 2501(a)(1)(B).

.

V

General provisions

501.

Definitions

Section 9101 (20 U.S.C. 7801) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraph (43) as paragraph (44); and

(2)

by inserting after paragraph (42) the following:

(43)

Teaching skills

The term teaching skills has the meaning given the term in section 200 of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

.

502.

Repeal of the Jacob K. Javits gifted and talented program

(a)

In general

Subpart 6 of part D of title V (20 U.S.C. 7253 et seq.) is repealed.

(b)

Transition provisions

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Education shall take such steps as are necessary to provide for the orderly transition to the authority of part E of title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (as enacted by title IV of this Act), from any authority under subpart 6 of part D of title V of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7253 et seq.) (as such subpart was in effect on the day before the effective date of this Act).

503.

Technical and conforming amendments

(a)

Table of contents

The table of contents in section 2 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 is amended—

(1)

by striking the items relating to subpart 6 of part D of title V; and

(2)

by inserting after the item relating to section 2441 the following:

PART E—Aiding gifted and high-Ability learners by empowering the Nation’s teachers

Sec. 2501. Establishment of TALENT program.

Sec. 2502. Authorization of appropriations.

.

(b)

Amendments to Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002

The Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002 (20 U.S.C. 9501) is amended—

(1)

in section 133(c)(2), by adding after subsection (K) the following:

(L)

The condition of education for gifted and talented students.

; and

(2)

in section 153(a)(3), by inserting including children who are gifted and talented, after population characteristics,.

504.

Effective date

This Act, and the amendments made by this Act, shall take effect 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act.