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Javits Grant Funding – Perennial Target

July 17, 2009

Just like a turkey shoot in November, the Javits Grant attracts eager hunters seeking an “acceptable,” if not an easy, target. This year is no exception. The Javits Grant for Gifted and Talented Students Education Program, funded by Congress through the US Department of Education is the only federal money dedicated to G/T students in the US. And this year the Javits Grant for Gifted and Talented Students is again in danger of being eliminated. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education allocated $0 for the Javits in its Fiscal Year 2010 appropriations bill.

“The major emphasis of the program is on serving students traditionally underrepresented in gifted and talented programs, particularly economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient (LEP), and disabled students, to help reduce the serious gap in achievement among certain groups of students at the highest levels of achievement.

Grants are awarded under two priorities. Priority One supports initiatives to develop and scale up models serving students who are underrepresented in gifted and talented programs. Priority Two supports state and local efforts to improve services for gifted and talented students.”

The Javits Grant is under constant scrutiny and attack – someone inevitably tries to redirect the funds to some other cause – and each year Gifted and Talented advocates are called upon to plead for its funding. But this is the first time I’ve heard the rationale that it was on the chopping block because it is too small. (Hmm, pretty sure even I can come up with a solution to that problem.) At $ 7.5 million it is small in government terms – yet it has a big impact on Gifted and Talented populations.

In Ohio: “OAGC has enjoyed the reward of many Javits projects including the current project, which has allowed the state to develop online training modules for classroom teachers, parents, and administrators. While Javits funding is a drop in the bucket of the support we need at the federal level, it would be a shame to lose the only funding we have now that supports research on gifted education.” from OAGC Advocacy Alert.

In Kentucky, the Javits Grant funded The GEMS (Gifted Education in Math and Science) Project at The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU. The Center’s focus: “developing high interest and increasing achievement in mathematics and science among elementary children, especially those from backgrounds that have been underrepresented in careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

The bill now goes to the full House Appropriations Committee for final markup on Friday, July 17 (yep, today) and we can only hope that G/T advocates raise their voices in support of this program. With the elimination of some state funded Gifted and Talented initiatives with state budget cuts Javits Grant becomes even more important as a resource for identifying and serving the twice exceptional or disadvantaged G/T population. How has the Javits Grant helped establish G/T initiatives in your state or community?

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