The Illinois Association for Gifted Children has been working with The Untapped Potential Project to advocate for legislation that will meet the needs of gifted children throughout Illinois. In a recent collaboration effort, the Illinois School Code was changed to ensure alignment with best practices for identifying gifted students. The UP Act was passed unanimously by the House and Senate last spring and signed into law by Governor Rauner over the summer.
Our joint advocacy is now focused on acceleration as a strategy to accommodate gifted learners. The following facts were compiled from responses to FOIA requests to Illinois’ 862 school districts asking if they had policies regarding early entrance to K and 1st grade, subject-based acceleration, grade-skipping, and early graduation:
- 77 percent of districts do not have a gifted program
- A majority of Illinois students live in a district where acceleration isn’t an option
- 72 percent live in a district without an early entrance to Kindergarten policy
- 68 percent live in a district without an early entrance to first grade policy
- 22 percent live in a district without a subject-based acceleration policy
- 89 percent live in a district without a grade-based acceleration policy
- 56 percent live in a district without an early graduation policy
This is amazing given the breadth and depth of research on acceleration’s impact on academic performance, lifelong productivity, and social and emotional outcomes. Senate Bill 1223 proposes to address acceleration by establishing a statewide acceleration policy and standardizing an evaluation process to reflect best practices. This bill will be heard in the Senate Education Committee March 7.
What you can do:
Please call, write, or email Senators on the Education Committee (see below) asking them to support SB1223 over the next two or three weeks.
- Include Senator Name, District, District Phone Number, and Email in IAGC email*
- If you are a public school employee, call, write, or email a Senator if you work at a school in their district or if they are your Senator
- If you live in Senator Lightford or Senator Weaver’s districts, please thank them for championing the legislation
- If you are interested in doing more advocacy - such a testifying in a front of the Committee - let IAGC* know
- Let IAGC* know if you contacted a Senator and via what means
*Contact IAGC at email@example.com
Coming Soon: IAGC is sponsoring another bill, the Illinois Report Card Bill, HB2461, that would require the ISBE to collect and report for each school/district the percentage and demographics of students receiving gifted and accelerated services, the percentage of teachers with gifted education endorsements, disaggregated achievement and growth data for advanced students, etc. We’ll soon be asking for your support on this important bill!
Thank you for your support!
IAGC Executive Committee