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Beach Bill to Strengthen Gifted and Talented Programs Passes Senate

Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator James Beach, which would strengthen schools’ gifted and talented programs, passed the Senate today.

“Participating in a gifted and talented program challenges exceptional students and nurtures the best versions of themselves,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington/Camden). “Minority students and students with disabilities are often overlooked by these programs due to biased selection methods. This legislation will set clear specifications for participation and ensure that we are selecting the best and the brightest students who meet the criteria.”

The bill, S-3258, entitled the “Strengthening Gifted and Talented Education Act,” would create guidelines and oversight for schools’ gifted and talented programs, which are currently required by the State Board of Education.

Under the bill, districts would have to develop multiple measures to identify gifted students and file reports showing the demographics of students participating, among other things.

Gifted and talented students are those who possess or demonstrate high levels of ability in one or more content areas when compared to their peers in the district. They require modification of their education program in order to reach their highest capabilities.

The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 31-0.