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"Deprived and Disadvantaged": Federal Advocacy for Gifted Youth in the United States, 1965–1975

Mon, April 12, 4:30 to 6:00pm EDT (4:30 to 6:00pm EDT), Division F, Division F Paper and Symposium Sessions


This paper investigates the U.S. federal government’s attention to gifted and talented youth in reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Higher Education Act in 1970. Utilizing primary source evidence from the National Archives, Congressional Record, and published federal reports, it argues that both Congress and the U.S. Office of Education portrayed the gifted and talented as a neglected and historically oppressed minority group in need of federal aid. At the same time, this advocacy reflected human capital concerns: that the nation’s economic growth and military security depended on the contributions of its most talented citizens. This historical episode thus reveals tensions in simultaneously pursuing equality of educational opportunity and excellence in American education.