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Few areas of education are as controversial as gifted education. Programs for children who are gifted have been present in varying forms for many years. The first American programs for gifted children were established in the late 1800s, with such programming not uncommon in cities by the early 1900s. These often-limited efforts were greatly expanded in response to the launching of Sputnik in 1957, most notably via the National Defense Education Act in 1958.

State and Federal Actions

Gifted education, like most other aspects of American public education, was seen primarily as a state responsibility for most of the previous century. The first major federal study on gifted education, the “Marland Report,” produced in 1972, included a definition that became the basis for many state definitions: Gifted ...

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