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    Illinois Association for Gifted Children

General Advocacy Information 

Resources and Research

Overview of Illinois Law and Policy Impacting Gifted and High-Ability Students:

  • Article 14A of the Illinois School Code and SB 1223/Public Act 100-0421 govern gifted and talented students and students eligible for accelerated placement:
    • Schools are required to have fair and equitable acceleration policies allowing early entrance to kindergarten/first grade, subject acceleration, and grade acceleration for eligible students
    • Illinois does not mandate identifying and serving gifted students 
    • The best practice requirements surrounding identification and services for gifted students detailed in Article 14A of the School Code are conditioned on funding
    • 2003 is the last year that schools received state funds ($19 million) for gifted programming
  • Illinois' ESSA State Plan, developed in accordance with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015, is also relevant for high-ability students:
    • Schools will be held accountable for the growth of all students, across the entire achievement spectrum, not merely those below the proficiency bar as was the case under NCLB.
    • A school quality accountability indicator under development may include "access to enrichment and acceleration opportunities."
    • Title I resources may be used for identifying and serving gifted students.
    • Schools receiving Title II funds must train their school leaders and teachers to the needs of gifted students.

Why Policy Support for Gifted and High-Ability Students Matters:


  • The No Child Left Behind Act created strong incentives for schools to focus on students below the minimum proficiency bar and inadvertently neglect the growth of advanced students
  • Opportunity gaps: Most Illinois elementary/middle school districts do not offer gifted programming
    • Over 80% had gifted programming in 2003, prior to NCLB and end of state funding (ISBE)
    • Only 27% currently offer gifted programming. Districts serving predominantly low-income students were least likely to provide programing. (Dwyer & Welch, 2016)
    • Lack of access to gifted programming during the school day is most detrimental to economically disadvantaged students whose families lack resources for supplementation
  • Excellence Gaps: Illinois currently has among the largest academic excellence gaps in the country. 15% of 4th graders and 12% of 8th graders who did not qualify for free or reduced price lunch in Illinois scored at the advanced levels on the 2013 NAEP math test, while only 2% of students who qualified for free or reduced price lunch scored at advanced levels (Plucker, 2016)

Resources on How to Advocate Effectively in Your School:

Most decisions that affect the availability of and funding for programs and services for gifted and advanced learners are made at the local level. Therefore, in addition to supporting strong policy and funding for talent development at the state and federal levels, it is critical that parents and concerned educators engage with local school leaders to ensure that addressing the needs of advanced learners is a high priority.

Additional Useful Resources:


Contact Us:

Illinois Association for Gifted Children

1500 Sullivan Road
Aurora, IL 60506

Ph: 630-907-5047
Fax: 630-907-5976

email us:

The Illinois Association for Gifted Children is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

© Illinois Association for Gifted Children

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Julie Luck Jensen  

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