To the Editor:
Securing America’s position as an international superpower has never been at a more critical juncture. Yet politicians in Washington have once again ignored America’s most valuable resource: our students. In fact, our elected officials are proposing to slash the only federal program dedicated to identifying and educating students with gifts and talents.
At a time when the country is confronting numerous global challenges, we need to provide our most advanced learners with the essential resources they need to excel in the global marketplace.
Since 1989, the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program—a small program by federal standards—has been providing these resources for the education our nation’s most advanced learners. Countless numbers of students and educators have benefited from the practical resources the Javits program has provided, including help for teachers in developing gifted-education strategies, supporting research, and initiating projects that reach out to children from disadvantaged backgrounds who have been plagued by low expectations.
Despite the nationwide gains that have been made by the Javits program, both President Bush and the U.S. House of Representatives have recommended its elimination. Only marginally better, the U.S. Senate has proposed that the program be slashed by nearly 50 percent. (“Contract Renewal?,” March 15, 2006.)
Fostering the education of our most-advanced learners must be a national priority that our elected officials support financially by funding the Javits program.
Funding this program is an investment in our future; without it, we put the nation at risk.
A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2006 edition of Education Week as Funding Gifted Programs Must Be National Priority