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Archive for November, 2010

Thank you to all the advocates who have picked up our message and contacted your legislators.  The number of responses we’ve seen in the last four days has been inspiring. 

Members of the Coalition for Gifted Education have been searching for more information about the likelihood of the Governor’s proposed cuts being enacted since the news came in before Thanksgiving.  With last week’s weather and the Thanksgiving holiday, it was not easy to get a consensus of opinion until this morning.  At this point, it appears unlikely that there are enough votes to enact the cuts suggested late in the day on the 23rd.  That does not mean that gifted funding is secure in the next legislative session, only that is unlikely to be eliminated in a special session before the end of the year. 

It is still vitally important that you contact your legislators, particularly those who were recently elected, and let them know that you value gifted education and encourage them to join you in supporting our highly capable learners.  Remind them that for our gifted students, access to highly capable services is access to basic education.  Tell them your stories about the difference highly capable programs have made for your children.  If you’ll be joining us in Olympia on February 11, 2011 for Gifted Education Day, let them know you would welcome the opportunity to meet with them and discuss your concerns.    Offer to provide more information and contacts if requested (and know that the Coalition is here for you if you need us).  Ask for a response in your letters and phone calls.  Thank your legislator for his/her time and attention. 

Know that this will be an ongoing process, and we will be calling on you for your support again.

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On Tuesday, November 23rd, Governor Gregoire delivered a list of programs to either receive a reduction or complete elimination of funding to deal with the state budget crisis.  Under her proposal, all funding for highly capable would be eliminated for Fiscal Year 2011, retroactive to September 1, 2010.  Her letter to Senate Majority Leader Brown can be viewed here, and her proposed cuts can be viewed here.

If you have not yet contacted your legislator, please do so immediately!  The Governor requested legislators have any potential responses to her recommendations ready by Monday, November 29th.  If you are connected to other parents of highly capable students, please forward this message to them, and ask them to pass it along to anyone they know. 

In the past, WCGE has suggested you phone your legislators using the legislature’s HOTLINE.  Because the legislature is not in session, and because of the extreme urgency and very short timeline we face, the HOTLINE will not work in this situation.  Please e-mail your representatives or phone them directly.  You may use the legislature’s website’s e-mail forms to send messages to your legislators at any time. From the Member E-mail List page, you may click a legislator’s name to go to the e-mail form for that legislator.  The Governor will need to call a special session to enact these changes, so you need to contact your sitting representatives, and NOT newly elected members of the legislature.

We will continue to monitor this situation and keep you informed.  To get the very latest news, you can monitor our website, https://wcge.wordpress.com or become a fan of the Washington Coalition for Gifted Education on Facebook.  Thank you for your support – now let’s get writing!

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TVW has a recording of Gayle Pauley’s testimony before the Quality Education Council available for viewing. Her testimony is at the very start of the video.

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Gayle Pauley, Director in the OSPI who oversees highly capable programming, has delivered the proposal of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group to the Quality Education Council.  The full text of the HCPTWG proposal is available to view here.  TVW is broadcasting the QEC hearing live — we’ll look for a recording of the event to become available later.

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The Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group has concluded its major deliberations. Their recommendations will be presented to the QEC on Tuesday, November 16. Although the agenda has not yet been posted, we have been told that Gayle Pauley will be making the presentation at 1:00 and has an hour and a quarter to do so.  Check the QEC website for the agenda to verify the time.

This meeting of the QEC will be webcast live by TVW and will be archived for those unable to watch during the day.

The Coalition will make a short presentation in support of the recommendations.

Neither presentation is in final form as of right now but copies will be sent out when they become available.

Meantime, don’t forget to contact your legislators regarding funding. Highly Capable Programs are clearly on the “chopping block,” there is the possibility of a special session in early December to deal with the second supplemental budget, and there is the biennial budget to consider. The time to act is right now. See our last message for details on how to do this.

Thank you for your continuing support for our gifted students.

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Highly Capable Program funding is in jeopardy.

  • Highly Capable is a categorical program, and is not a part of basic education so is not protected from budget cuts.
  • We survived the proposed cut in the First Supplemental Budget for 2009-2010.
  • However, we don’t know what will be in the Second Supplemental Budget for our programs.

Therefore:

We need to communicate with the Governor now, before her Second Supplemental Budget proposal is completed.

We need to communicate with Legislators who are currently in office if there is a special session. If no special session, then contact legislators who will be in office in January.

We need to make contact now while options are open.

As a “special interest” group we will be asking Legislators to fund our particular “cause.” We are one group in a long line seeking to influence the budget.

We encourage you to talk to your Legislators as soon as possible about the Second Supplemental Budget and the 2011-2013 Biennial Budget. We encourage you to organize fellow parents and advocates to do so.

We know many of you are involved in gifted issues in local districts but we need you on state level. If the Legislature cuts funding or eliminates support for Highly Capable Programs, there may not be a program at your local school for you to support.

The state constitution calls “ample” education funding the state’s “paramount” duty and court cases have helped define this. Basic education is protected from budget cuts once education reform is implemented in September 2011, and highly capable programs will be sheltered from budget cuts.  However, the goal is not yet reality.

These articles highlight the issues:

http://www.theolympian.com/2010/11/06/1429659/all-cuts-budget-message-received.html

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2013366174_budget07m.html

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorials/2013349173_edit05education.html

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2010/nov/07/leaders-see-tighter-coffer-bipartisan-tilt/

The following is from the Legislature web site.

Getting Your Opinions to Your Legislators

Toll-Free Hotline
Do you want to send a message to your Senator or Representative? Call the HOTLINE at 1-800-562-6000 (TTY for Hearing Impaired 1-800-635-9993). Callers to the Hotline can leave a brief message for their district legislators or for the Governor or Lt. Governor on issues of concern or on questions they may have about bills or laws. These messages are forwarded electronically to the appropriate individuals. When leaving a message with the Hotline, please be prepared to give your name and street address. For non-English speaking callers we offer interpreter services for many languages.  

During the Legislative session, the Hotline is open from 8AM to 8PM Monday through Friday and from 9AM to 1PM on Saturday. 
When the Legislature is not in session the Hotline is open from 8AM to Noon and from 1PM to 4:30PM Monday through Friday.

E-mail Forms
If you prefer e-mail, you may use the website’s e-mail forms to send messages to your legislators at any time. From the Member E-mail List page, you may click a legislator’s name to go to the e-mail form for that legislator.

Newly elected Legislators will not be on the web site until sworn in January 11, 2011, and you will have to contact them through their campaign web sites or local offices before that date.

To contact the Governor, go to http://www.governor.wa.gov/contact/default.asp and complete the form you find there.

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The HCPTWG has released its proposals for Program Design, Program Evaluation, and Educator Qualifications and Certification.  Each has been attached here for your review and comment.

As before, please keep the questions below in mind as you provide feedback:

1. Any errors of commission: Have we included things that are not needed or will be “red flags?”
2. Any errors of omission: Have we left out any key on essential ideas, concepts, things?
3. Unintended consequences: Do you foresee any unintended consequences or difficulties that will emerge as a result of this?
4. Any additional advice you have for the HCP Technical Working Group?

Given the very short amount of time available before the next HCPTWG meeting on Wednesday, November 10th, please send any comments to the HCPTWG directly.

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