E. Jean Gubbins
University of Connecticut
The Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act has been reauthorized. The Javits Act of 1994 is part of Title X, Part B, and the act was supported because the Congress finds and declares that:
- All students can learn to high standards and must develop their talents.
- Gifted and talented students are a national resource.
- Too often schools fail to challenge students to do their best work and to meet high content and performance standards.
- Unless the special abilities of the gifted and talented students are recognized and developed, their potential for contributing to the national interest is likely to be lost.
- Gifted and talented students from economically disadvantaged families and areas, and students of limited English proficiency, are at great risk of going unrecognized.
- State and local education agencies and non-profit schools often lack the necessary resources to plan and implement effective programs.
- The Federal government can best carry out a limited but essential role of stimulating research and development in personnel training.
- The experience gained in developing and implementing programs for the gifted and talented can and should be used as a basis to develop a rich and challenging curriculum for all students to provide all students with important and challenging subject matter to study, and to encourage the habits of hard work. (Section 10202(b), Findings and Purposes)
With these findings as a basis for the Javits Act, there will be another opportunity for school districts, educational agencies, and non-profit organizations to plan and implement model projects. Those of you in our network who are interested in competing for funding that will allow you to implement programs that meet the goals and objectives of the Javits Act should monitor the Federal Register for the announcement of the competition by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, United States Department of Education, or send for the Request for Proposal as soon as it is available:
Contact: Pat O’Connell Ross
Gifted & Talented Education Program
Office of Research & Improvement, Room 504
555 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20208
There are two absolute priorities for the model programs:
- Priority one encourages the establishment and operation of model programs for serving gifted and talented students-schools in which at least 50% of the students enrolled are from low income families. Projects must include students who may not be served by traditional gifted and talented programs, including economically disadvantaged students, individuals of limited English proficiency, and individuals with disabilities. Projects must also emphasize high level content performance standards as well as innovative teaching strategies.
- Priority two focuses on technical assistance and information dissemination throughout a state or region. These projects should be designed to provide technical assistance and disseminate information as widely as possible. The technical assistance should include information on how programs and methods can be adopted to various school environments. Projects should involve cooperative efforts among state and local education agencies, institutions of higher education, and/or other public and private agencies and organizations.
The Javits Act will also establish a National Center for Research and Development in the Education of Gifted and Talented Children and Youth through grants or contracts to higher education or state educational agencies. We will be submitting a new proposal for such a center. What we have learned over the past five years of conducting our research studies will become the basis for designing a new proposal. We will seek more information on new questions that have emerged from the quantitative and qualitative research studies, and we will also chart new directions for the field.
As a result of the Javits Act of 1988, The National Research Center has implemented theory-driven research studies that have practical significance for the education of children and youth. What we have learned from the NRC/GT studies conducted from 1990 to 1995 will be shared at our conference entitled Building a Bridge Between Research and Classroom Practices in Gifted Education. The conference will be held in Connecticut on March 31 and April 1, 1995. We have also invited presentations by our collaborative researchers who have prepared a number of documents that focus on key issues in the field.
Throughout the conference presentations, we will emphasize the translation of “theory into practice.” Those of you in our network should have already received your copy of the conference brochure. We are pleased to announce that James Kulik has also agreed to join us for a keynote presentation focusing on grouping practices.
During the conference we will also be conducting interviews with various presenters about their involvement with the Research Center’s work. These interviews will become the basis for our next videotape. We would like to document the lessons that we have learned from the NRC/GT research by looking at the major questions and the emergent themes within and across studies. This videotape should prove to be a very informative summary of the work done by our researchers across the country, and we plan to have copies available for our Collaborative School Districts by the end of May.
I would like to thank you once again for all your efforts in supporting the new Javits legislation and the projects implemented by the Research Center. Your role has been critical to the field, and it will continue to be so throughout the next funding cycle of the Javits Act of 1994.