In 1977, the Texas Legislature passed its first legislation concerning the education of gifted/talented (G/T) students. In 1979, state funds for providing services to G/T children were made available, but providing such services was optional for school districts. In 1987, the Texas Legislature mandated that all school districts must identify and serve G/T students at all grade levels. In 1990, the Texas State Plan for the Education of Gifted/Talented Students (State Plan) was adopted by the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) that included a commitment to high-level learning opportunities for G/T learners expressed in the following goal:
In 1999, the 76th Texas Legislature introduced Rider 69 which spurred the initial development and ongoing refinement of the Texas Performance Standards Project for Gifted/Talented Students (TPSP) as a vehicle through which districts might address the stated goal. With the TPSP and ongoing research to inform and improve practice, Texas educators are committed to meeting the unique needs of G/T students and to expanding the ways to do so. To learn more about programs and resources for G/T education in Texas visit the Texas Education Agency (TEA) Gifted/Talented website, contact a local Texas public school district or regional education service center (ESC), or email TEA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pursuant to Section 29.123 of the Texas Education Code (TEC), the State Plan forms the basis of G/T standards of services into accountability and exemplary. The revised plan offers an outline for services without prohibitive regulation. Districts are accountable for services as described in the State Plan where performance measures are included for six aspects of G/T service design. These accountability standards reflect actions required in state law and/or SBOE rule. Many districts, in collaboration with their communities, will provide more comprehensive services incorporating research-based best practices for G/T learners.
To offer some guidance to those districts and campuses, standards for “exemplary” performance are included in the plan and provide viable targets that local district educators seeking excellence, both for their district and for their students, may strive to attain.