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Advocating in Your State

Most of the important decisions about gifted education are formed at the state level, making your state legislature a great place to begin your advocacy efforts. In many cases, state legislative initiatives are coordinated by the state gifted education association with support from individuals and local parent groups. 

The tools below are designed for state association leaders, legislative committee leaders, or for a group of individuals assigned the responsibility to develop a state legislative agenda.

State Gifted Education Association Resources

There are statewide gifted education associations in most states that advocate on behalf of gifted students.  Many of these groups focus on legislative advocacy in their state capitals; most also offer a range of education opportunities, including statewide and regional conferences for teachers and parents.  NAGC is pleased that the state associations have chosen to affiliate with the national organization and we rely on the state groups and their members to educate Members of Congress on the needs of gifted learners.  If you haven't already joined your state group, we urge you to look into the resources they offer and the types of projects in which you might get involved. 

  • Click here for links to state association websites.
  • NAGC’s state data map provides key contacts in your state and a sampling of state statistics and policies that come from the biannual State of the States report.

Information Resources 

Assessing the Landscape for Legislative Action in Your State --  Advocacy is long-term commitment and this outline will help you plan what is needed in your state, what your priorities are, and what steps to take to get there. Download the assessment form.

A Guide to State Policies in Gifted Education --  Divided in 4 major policy areas – Identification, Program and Curriculum, Personnel Preparation, and Program Assessment/Evaluation – this guide provides state gifted and talented policy language to help advocates as they work to create effective state policy. You’ll find this CD-rom in the NAGC Bookstore.

Academic Acceleration Guidelines --  The Institute for Research and Policy on Acceleration, NAGC, and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted created guidelines for developing an academic acceleration policy at the state or local level.  Download Acceleration Guidelines.

State definitions of Gifted  -- NAGC has compiled state definitions of gifted, or often "gifted and talented" children.  The document includes links to individual state definitions.  Click here for the state definitions.

Snapshot of the Country  

In many cases, comparing how your state sizes up to neighboring states and the nation is an effective advocacy strategy.  For example, do the neighboring states fund gifted education?  And, if so, at what level?  Do they require teacher training?  How many states mandate gifted education services?  Having the data available for fact sheets to support a legislative agenda and for letters-to-the editor can help others understand your state's relative strengths (and weaknesses) in supporting gifted learners. 

  • 2008/2009 State of the States in Gifted Education  Every two years, NAGC and the Council of State Directors of Programs for the Gifted conduct a survey on the state of gifted education across the nation.  You can find the State of the States in the NAGC Bookstore.
  • State of the Nation  NAGC developed an executive summary of the State of the States report.  Download the State of the Nation (pdf)

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