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.
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.
Sec. 48.109. GIFTED AND TALENTED STUDENT ALLOTMENT. (a) For each identified student a school district serves in a program for gifted and talented students that the district certifies to the commissioner as complying with Subchapter D, Chapter 29, a district is entitled to an annual allotment equal to the basic allotment multiplied by 0.07 for each school year or a greater amount provided by appropriation.
(b) Funds allocated under this section, other than the amount that represents the program's share of general administrative costs, must be used in providing programs for gifted and talented students under Subchapter D, Chapter 29, including programs sanctioned by International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement, or in developing programs for gifted and talented students. Each district must account for the expenditure of state funds as provided by rule of the State Board of Education. If by the end of the 12th month after receiving an allotment for developing a program a district has failed to implement a program, the district must refund the amount of the allotment to the agency within 30 days.
(c) Not more than five percent of a district's students in average daily attendance are eligible for funding under this section.
(d) If the amount of state funds for which school districts are eligible under this section exceeds the amount of state funds appropriated in any year for the programs, the commissioner shall reduce each district's tier one allotments in the same manner described for a reduction in allotments under Section 48.266.
(e) If the total amount of funds allotted under this section before a date set by rule of the State Board of Education is less than the total amount appropriated for a school year, the commissioner shall transfer the remainder to any program for which an allotment under Section 48.104 may be used.
(f) After each district has received allotted funds for this program, the State Board of Education may use up to $500,000 of the funds allocated under this section for programs such as MATHCOUNTS, Future Problem Solving, Odyssey of the Mind, and Academic Decathlon, as long as these funds are used to train personnel and provide program services. To be eligible for funding under this subsection, a program must be determined by the State Board of Education to provide services that are effective and consistent with the state plan for gifted and talented education.