Laws and Guidance for Gifted Education in Texas
Texas Education Code
The Texas Education Code, all laws and rules passed by the state legislature, addresses the definition of gifted and talented students, their identification, and establishes the Texas State Plan for Gifted/Talented Students, which guides school districts in establishing and improving services for identified students.
Definition of Gifted and Talented
- According to the Texas Education Code (TEC), "gifted and talented student" means a child or youth who performs at or shows the potential for performing at a remarkably high level of accomplishment when compared to others of the same age, experience, or environment and who:
(1) exhibits high performance capability in an intellectual, creative, or artistic area;
(2) possesses an unusual capacity for leadership; or
(3) excels in a specific academic field. (TEC Sec. 29.121)
- Additionally, each school district shall adopt a process for identifying and serving gifted and talented students in the district and shall establish a program for those students in each grade level. A district may establish a shared services arrangement program with one or more other districts. (TEC Sec. 29.12)
- Identification is further defined in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC), which notes that school districts shall develop written policies on student identification that are approved by the local board of trustees and disseminated to parents. Read more about the requirements for identification policies in 19 TAC 89.1.
- To guide districts in establishing and improving plans for identified students, the State Board of Education shall develop and periodically update a state plan for the education of gifted and talented students. The plan shall be used for accountability purposes to measure the performance of districts in providing services to students identified as gifted and talented. (TEC Sec. 29.123)
- School districts shall provide an array of learning opportunities for gifted/talented students in kindergarten through Grade 12 and shall inform parents of the opportunities, which must include the required practices listed in 19 TAC Sec. 89.3.
- Each school district shall annually certify to the commissioner that the district has established a program for gifted and talented students as required by this subchapter and that the program is consistent with the state plan developed under Section 29.123.
- If the commissioner determines that a school district has failed to comply with Subsection (a) for a school year, the commissioner shall reduce the total amount of funding to which the district is entitled by an amount equal to the basic allotment multiplied by the product of: 0.12 and an amount equal to five percent of the students in average daily attendance in the district. The commissioner may restore to a school district all or part of the funding withheld from the district's entitlement if during the school year the district complies.
- The district shall report to the commissioner regarding the use of funds on the district's program for gifted and talented students as provided by State Board of Education rule.
- Nothing in this section may be construed as limiting the number of students that a school district may identify as gifted and talented or serve under the district's program for gifted and talented students.
Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students
The new Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students is available on the Texas Education Agency Gifted/Talented Education webpage (download PDF here). The plan was revised by the Commissioner Advisory Council for Gifted/Talented and input from Education Service Centers and Gifted/Talented stakeholders in 2019.
House Bill 3
The G/T program requirements for school districts under HB3 are:
- Each district shall adopt a policy regarding the use of funds to support the district’s program for G/T students.
- Each district shall annually certify to the commissioner that the district has established a program for G/T students as required by rule and it is consistent with the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students (State Plan) under Texas Education Code Section 29.123.
- Each district shall report to the commissioner regarding the use of the funds on the district’s program for G/T as provided by the State Board of Education rule.
- There is no limit to the number of students who may be identified as G/T.