Current Legislation - Representative Stoneback Introduces HB 5277.
As IAGC outlines in its recent policy statement, more needs to be done in Illinois to ensure equal access to an appropriate education for children with advanced learning needs from all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. If passed, HB 5277 will amend the School Code to support resource allocation to meet the needs of advanced learners, clarify data reporting requirements, and support practices to that districts can use to promote equity and access to accelerated programs.
On Friday, January 28, 2022, Representative Denyse Stoneback (D) filed HB 5277, a bill that supports resource allocation to meet the needs of advanced learners, transparency in data reporting, and district use of promising practices to support equity and access.
According to the National Association for Gifted Children 2018-2019 State of the States Report in Gifted Education, Illinois is one of twenty-three states that has no dedicated state funding for gifted education. Moreover, in Illinois, although "gifted investment" funds are a component of district adequacy target calculation, there is no requirement that districts spend money on gifted and advanced students. HB 5277 amends evidence-based funding provisions in the School Code so that districts are required to show how/to what extent they are choosing to use available funds to support gifted and advanced students.
The bill also provides guidance for district plans to expand access to accelerated placement programs. Under the Education and Workforce Equity Act enacted in March, 2021, districts are required to develop plans to expand access to accelerated placement programs. To support access as well as student success, HB 5277 provides several evidence-based measures that districts may implement, including using multiple tools to assess for placement, providing enrichment opportunities starting in the early grades, using universal screening combined with local, school-based norms for placement in accelerated and advanced learning programs, ensuring a continuum of services to identify and develop talent, and providing professional learning in gifted education for educators.
Finally, HB 5277 includes several provisions to clarify existing data collection and reporting requirements with respect to gifted advanced programming available to district leaders and policy makers.