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Governor Inslee has declared January 29th, 2016 Gifted Education Day. We encourage you to remind your legislators that gifted education is basic education, and share with them what highly capable services mean to your family. Use the District Finder on the Legislature’s website, or call the Legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.

proclamation 2016

We have a full program scheduled for Friday, January 29.

Program begins at 9am or as close to it as we can manage. Please help us by being on time.

Deb Merle, Governor Inslee’s chief education advisor; Jody Hess from the Highly Capable Program (HCP) office at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI); and Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn are scheduled as speakers and will be open to questions from the floor.

Supt. Dorn will be the recipient of a Certificate of Appreciation for being the only state official who has proposed substantial increases in HCP funding and accepts the findings of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group. He has a very tight schedule on Friday so please try to be on time. He is scheduled to speak at 9:15.

Reminder: parking is limited on the campus so consider parking in one of the satellite lots and using DASH.  Parking on both the campus and satellites can be expensive so come prepared. If you use DASH, there is a convenient stop right outside the door nearest the Columbia Room.

Can’t join us in Olympia on January 29th?

The Washington State Constitution states: “It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders.” It also requires that the system be uniform across the state and funded through regular and dependable sources. in 2007 The McCleary lawsuit was brought forward against the state for its failure to fulfill its paramount duty, and the State Supreme Court ruled in 2012 in favor of the plaintiffs, finding that the state was not meeting its educational obligation to the more than 1 million public school children in Washington.

A central issue in the court’s McCleary decision is the unconstitutional reliance on local levies, which are neither regular nor dependable, to fund basic education. Compensation is one of the most significant areas where local dollars are backfilling inadequate state funding. According to OSPI data, between the 1987-88 and 2012-13 school years, state allocations went from covering 99% of salaries to only 77%.

As advocates for the highly capable students of Washington, we are working for full funding of the Highly Capable Program. Currently the state’s funding covers only 15% of the actual costs of the program. Districts vary widely in their ability to raise local levy funds. Districts thus vary in their ability to provide the required HC Programs. The system is not uniform and funding is not regular and dependable.

If you can’t join us in Olympia for Gifted Education Day, contact your legislators by letter, phone — the hot line is 1.800.562.6000 — or email on or about January 29th and urge them to provide ample, equitable and stable funding.

Share your personal experience as a parent or your child’s experience. Your personal story on the impact of funding inequities is a powerful way to highlight the need for a solution.

To find and contact your Legislators, use the District Finder on the Legislature’s website.

IMPORTANT ADVOCACY OPPORTUNITY — UNITED STATES CONGRESS

After 8 year’s delay, Congress is finally ready to seriously consider a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — better known as No Child Left Behind. This is a comprehensive rewrite of the bill and contains important provisions for gifted and talented children. This is the first time that programs and services for gifted students will receive federal protection. The National Association for Gifted Children called the day the conference committee reached agreement on the bill A Good Day for Gifted Education Advocates.

We urge you to contact our two Senators and your District Representative and urge them to vote “yes” on the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2016. We do not at this time have a bill number. It will first be taken up in the House and then move to the Senate. The House is widely expected to vote on the bill as early as Thursday, with the Senate following shortly thereafter. Senator Patty Murray was chief Senate Democratic negotiator on the bill.

In your message, identify yourself as a constituent. We suggest wording similar — but not identical — to what follows:

“I urge you to vote “yes” on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015.

“This bill contains important provisions for the educational opportunities available to gifted and talented students. Washington is the only state in the USA that has made Highly Capable Programs (gifted education) a mandatory part of basic education. But we also need the provisions for professional development for teachers and principals and the expansion of the Javits Grant found in this bill in order to better serve these students of high potential.

“We have waited long enough for this reauthorization. I strongly urge you to vote “yes” on the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 when it comes up for a vote in order to give Washington students the education they deserve to reach their potential.”

You can contact our two Senators and your district representative using the following link.

http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/cgi-bin/newseek.cgi?site=congressmerge&state=wa

Thank you for your attention to this important advocacy opportunity.

Washington promises a continuum of Highly Capable Program services K-12 to identified gifted students as part of basic education. These students can be found in school districts large and small, and across all demographic groups. Our districts seek to find and serve each of these students.

Inclusion in basic education has resulted in the identification and support of increasing numbers of gifted students from all backgrounds, particularly those from previously underserved populations. Yet districts continue to struggle to identify and serve all their eligible students due to a lack of adequate and equitable state funding.

Amid growing challenges—changing demographics, increasing diversity of the student population, and limited fiscal resources—addressing the needs of gifted students is a real issue. Underserved gifted students may include students who are already the focus of reform efforts: dropouts, students from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds, and students who live in poverty. Research shows that between 18 percent and 25 percent of high school dropouts are identified as gifted. The majority of those students are from low-SES families and culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

Providing for the needs of gifted students is an important component of local school efforts. Using multiple measures to identify gifted and talented students and providing various strategies to meet their needs will go a long way toward helping these students excel academically (closing the achievement gap), stay in school (increasing the graduation rate and reducing the dropout rate), and be successful in their lives.

The direction and continuity of local gifted services and supports are heavily influenced by the strength of state policy initiatives and funding. Unfortunately, the state appropriation for the Highly Capable Program currently covers only about 15% of the actual costs to districts to provide this basic education service. We were very disappointed to see that the House budget proposal released today does nothing to remedy this.

In 2010, the Legislature created the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group. Comprised of national and state experts on gifted education, the HCPTWG recommended the state increase funding to 5% of total student enrollment, and increase the number of hours of highly capable services funded to 6.5 hours per week in a class size of 15 for grades K-6 and 3.1 hours per week in a class size of 15 for grades 7-12. Funding the recommendations of the HCPTWG would be an important step towards ensuring equitable access to the state’s Highly Capable Program. Continuing to stand by an obsolete and inequitable formula and claiming to have met their obligation, as the House budget proposal did today, is not acceptable.

Equity in education is an empty concept without excellence.

Washington State has too often left to chance the fate of those with exceptional academic talent rather than ensuring widespread, systematic, and appropriate opportunities to flourish.

Our state needs a commitment to both equity and excellence for all students, so that potential is never squandered.

The possibility of reaching oneʼs potential should not be met with ambivalence, indifference or depend on the ZIP code in which you reside.

• We cannot assume that our stateʼs most talented students will succeed on their own.
• We need proactive identification and development of talented youth from all demographics.
• We need to encourage intellectual ambition with an anticipation of excellence rather than simply exceeding standard.

The Legislature needs to fully fund the actual costs to districts to provide the Highly Capable Program opportunities required by the Washington Administrative Code implementing ESHB 2261, and the McCleary decision.

Join us in the Columbia Room in the Legislative Building at 9 am on March 11 to advocate with Legislators for the needs of our Highly Capable students. All Washington students are entitled to the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

OPPORTUNITY IS NOT OPTIONAL. MINDS MATTER.

We want to move forward, so it’s ‘win or go home’ time for Highly Capable.

Yes, we know this at least the third time in about a week that we are asking you to step up and take action. But that is the way things go in advocacy — long periods of no action followed by periods of intense activity. When (not if, since you will flood the committee with messages) we get through this committee, there will be other committees and then a debate on the floor so we will be asking a lot of you in a short period of time. If we want to move forward in the legislative process, we need everyone involved now.

SB 5922, the Highly Capable Program funding bill, is scheduled for a public hearing before the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Committee on Thursday, February 19 at 8 am.

The Coalition, Northwest Gifted Child Association (NWGCA) and Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted (WAETAG) as well as others will be testifying before the committee.

We want to flood committee members with messages in favor of this much needed bill in order to influence them to pass it in executive session, which may occur as early as Thursday afternoon.

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Our last message asked you to contact committee members. If you haven’t done it before, do it now! If you already have, do it again. Do it today!

Contact the Senators listed below (all of them) and tell them “It is time for the entire Legislature to have a serious conversation about Highly Capable Program funding. Please pass SB 5922 out of committee so the conversation can continue.” If you are resident in the district of a member, tell them that too. Contact them through their e-mails, their office numbers of by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000.

Legislators tend to ignore identical messages, so please paraphrase our suggestion in order to get your message heard.

Tell your friends to take action. Time is short so prompt action is vital.

Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee

Senator Phone E-Mail
Litzow, Steve (R) (360) 786-7641 Steve.Litzow@leg.wa.gov
Chair
Dammeier, Bruce (R) (360) 786-7648 Bruce.Dammeier@leg.wa.gov
Vice Chair
McAuliffe, Rosemary (D) (360) 786-7600 Rosemary.McAuliffe@leg.wa.gov
Ranking Member
Billig, Andy (D) (360) 786-7604 Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov
Fain, Joe (R) (360) 786-7692 Joe.Fain@leg.wa.gov
Hill, Andy (R) (360) 786-7672 Andy.Hill@leg.wa.gov
Mullet, Mark (D) (360) 786-7608 Mark.Mullet@leg.wa.gov
Rivers, Ann (R) (360) 786-7634 Ann.Rivers@leg.wa.gov
Rolfes, Christine (D) (360) 786-7644 Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov

Who is speaking for you?

We expect SB 5922 to receive a hearing before the end of this week. Members of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee will then vote to decide if the bill will advance for further consideration. Have you made sure that they know how you want them to vote?

 

 

Help us in our journey to make this bill a law.

Below we’ve listed the members of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee. We need you to contact them and urge them to vote the bill out of committee.  Your message can be brief, but it is vital that the members of the committee hear from you. If one of the Senators represents you, your involvement in the process is even more important.

Time for you to act is running out. Someone’s voice will be heard. Will it be yours?

“It is time for the entire Legislature to have a serious conversation about Highly Capable Program funding. Please pass this bill out of committee so the conversation can continue.”

Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee

Senator Phone E-Mail
Litzow, Steve (R) (360) 786-7641 Steve.Litzow@leg.wa.gov
Chair
Dammeier, Bruce (R) (360) 786-7648 Bruce.Dammeier@leg.wa.gov
Vice Chair
McAuliffe, Rosemary (D) (360) 786-7600 Rosemary.McAuliffe@leg.wa.gov
Ranking Member
Billig, Andy (D) (360) 786-7604 Andy.Billig@leg.wa.gov
Fain, Joe (R) (360) 786-7692 Joe.Fain@leg.wa.gov
Hill, Andy (R) (360) 786-7672 Andy.Hill@leg.wa.gov
Mullet, Mark (D) (360) 786-7608 Mark.Mullet@leg.wa.gov
Rivers, Ann (R) (360) 786-7634 Ann.Rivers@leg.wa.gov
Rolfes, Christine (D) (360) 786-7644 Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov
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