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    Illinois Association for Gifted Children

Legislation impacting

advanced and gifted learners

This page provides an overview of current state and federal legislation impacting advanced and gifted learners in Illinois.

Illinois Legislation:

Article 14A of the Illinois School Code and SB 1223/Public Act 100-0421

These laws 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

This 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.

    Accelerated Placement Act (Public Act 100-0421)

    • Signed into law in August 25, 2017; Went into effect July 1, 2018.
    • Ensures that all Illinois school districts have fair and equitable acceleration policies allowing early entrance to kindergarten/first grade, subject acceleration, and whole-grade acceleration for eligible students.
    • For more information, please see IAGC website page: Accelerated Placement Act

    Education and Workforce Equity Act (Public Act 100-0654-signed into law by Governor on March 8, 2021)

    • Adds the following language to the School Code Gifted Education Provisions (105 ILCS 5/14-10(4)): "that inequitable access to advanced coursework and enrollment in accelerated placement programs exists between children enrolled in different school districts and even within the same school district and more must be done to eliminate the barriers to access to advanced coursework and enrollment in accelerated placement programs for all children." 
    • Amends the Accelerated Placement section of the School Code (105 ILCS 5/14A-32) to provide that no later than 2023-24 school year, for students who meet or exceed state standards, high schools must ensure their accelerated placement policy includes provisions for automatic enrollment into the “next most rigorous level of advanced coursework offered,” 
      • “Next most rigorous” may include: An Advanced Placement Course, International Baccalaureate Course, honors class, enrichment opportunity, gifted program, or any other program offered by district
      • Parents may opt out and place a student in a different program that better align with a student's goals.

    • Suggests new avenues for communication to stakeholders/traditionally underrepresented populations about accelerated placement.
    • Provides that school/district acceleration policies may include procedures to provide support and promote success for students who are newly enrolled in an accelerated placement program.
    • Provides that school/district acceleration policies may include a process for the school district to review and utilize disaggregated data on participation in an accelerated placement program to address gaps among demographic groups in accelerated placement opportunities.
    • Provides for desegregated data review process to support access to and success in advanced coursework.
    • Provides that  based upon a review of desegregated data pertaining to student participation and success in advanced coursework, schools and districts shall develop a plan for ensuring teacher capacity/expanding access to accelerated placement programs on or before November 1, 2022 
    • The new provisions do not preclude other students from enrolling in advanced coursework per the policy of a school district.

    School Report Card Act (Public Act 100-0364)

    • Requires 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, and more. 
    • Went into effect January 1, 2018.

    Dual Credit Legislation (Public Act 100-0792)

    • signed into law August 2018 effective January 1, 2019
    • IAGC supported a bipartisan bill amending the dual enrollment and dual credit section of the IL School Code
    • Law provides "A qualified student shall be allowed to enroll in an unlimited amount of dual credit courses and earn an unlimited amount of academic credits from dual credit course if the courses are taught by an Illinois instructor as provided under the Dual Credit Quality Act."

    Untapped Potential Act (Public Act 99-0706)

    • Revised the Illinois School Code to ensure alignment with best practices for identifying gifted students.

    National Legislation:

    Every Student Succeeds Act ("ESSA," 2015)

    • Revised and reauthorized the federal K-12 education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA, "No Child Left Behind").
    • Includes provisions that support gifted and talented students.
    • Provides for Title I Schools, accountability for student achievement, programs for English language learners, math-science partnerships, and Title II professional development.
    • Approximately $21 billion in federal funds under ESEA is distributed to the states and school districts each year through individual grant programs. 
    • For more information, see the National Association for Gifted Children website page: "Every Student Succeeds Act."

    Jacob Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act ("Javits," 1988)

    • First passed by Congress in 1988 as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
    • Most recently reauthorized through the ESSA
    • Only federal program dedicated specifically to gifted and talented students 
    • For more information, see the National Association for Gifted Children website page: "Jacob Javits Gifted & Talented Students Education Act."

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