Archive for February, 2011

Gifted Education Day Report

Friday, February 11th, was a magnificent day for gifted. We filled the Columbia Room to capacity and beyond with enthusiastic parents and children. More than 45 legislators were contacted. The lime green scarves announced that supporters of Highly Capable Programs were out in force. Thank you, Puyallup ABC.

The crowd was addressed by Rep. Pat Sullivan and Rep. Bruce Dammeier, two of our staunchest supporters in the House, and by Gayle Pauley, Director of HCP at OSPI. Kelly Munn of the League of Education Voters spoke on effective advocacy. Also dropping in were Rep. Norm Johnson whose district is west of Yakima, Rep. Terry Nealey, whose district includes Pasco and Walla Walla, and Rep. Reuven Carlyle of Seattle, who stopped by for information and to talk with advocates.

Thank you to everyone who came to Olympia on Friday. We had delegations from Wenatchee to Stevenson down on the Columbia River, and all points in-between. Ages ranged from 2 1/2 months to grandparents.

Many of those in Olympia took home the STEM Report by the National Science Board. It is a powerful statement about the value and need for gifted programs. Be sure to read it and pass it on to local school officials.

If you took pictures of your meeting with a legislator, consider sending him/her a copy as part of an electronic thank you. And share your pictures on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/wagifted) or send us a copy so we can use them too. Thanks.

Legislative issues update:

The Supplemental Budget (which continues funding for HCP through the end of this fiscal year) is due out of conference any day now.

Substitute HB 1443, Sections 208 and 209, as voted out of committee, gives us something to build on in the future. We will keep you informed of its progress as it moves through the House and Senate.

SB 5475 is scheduled for executive session in the Senate K-12 Committee on Wednesday morning. This is the bill which would delay the inclusion of HCP into basic education until Sept. 2013. There are many amendments to be voted on but their impact on HCP is unknown.

From the K-12 Committee the bill will go to the Senate Ways & Means where it is scheduled for a public hearing on Thursday. We will testify; the message depends on what emerges on Wednesday from the K-12 Committee. This bill needs to make its way through the Senate and then repeat the process in the House.

Finally, there is the biennial budget. Experienced observers of the Legislature don’t expect it to appear until the very end of March or even early April.

Contacting Your Legislators

We are counting on your continued participation in our efforts to influence legislation and regulations for HCP.  Please focus your advocacy on behalf of education funding in general and HCP funding in particular. Our messages need to be positive and avoid comparison to other programs as each program is unique and funding sources are different. We need to make our case on our own merits, not in comparison to or competition with any other programs. Short, succinct messages are the most effective. We will post samples for your use.

Legislators continue to tell us that those who don’t make a concerted effort to contact them are not going to be heard or heeded.

According to Rep. Ross Hunter, chair of the House Ways & Means Committee, “We’re hearing from almost everyone but education about the budget cuts. It will be hard to protect even basic education dollars if we don’t start hearing about how these cuts will affect our kids’ education and how this will work at the local level.” Said another legislator, “You need to be heard, or even the staunchest education allies won’t be able to stop the cuts.”

We want to be heard!

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Last reminders before Gifted Education Day.

Attached are:

Tips for talking with Legislators

2. A contact sheet to fill out and hand in after your appointment with your legislator(s). These sheets will NOT be available on Gifted Ed Day so print  out and bring with you as many as you need for all your appointments. If a  group is meeting with a Legislator, only one form for the entire group is  needed so designate one person to write it.

You can also copy the text below if you’d rather send us your contact report through e-mail.   Send your contact reports to wagifted@earthlink.net



Name and title of person contacted:

Type of contact (personal or group visit)  (email contact)  (letter)  (phone)

Issues discussed:

Is the Coalition expected to follow up with this contact?

Describe any follow-up needed:

Notes and comments; was contact supportive or enthusiastic about HCP:

Your name:

Group, if any:

Your email address or other contact information in case we need to check with you.

DON’T FORGET TO SEND A HANDWRITTEN THANK YOU! One from each member of the group is best.


3. Agenda and final notes for Feb. 11

4. If you’ve not already drafted a letter to your legislators, please see the sample letters we have posted separately here on our blog for some ideas.

5. Some of you are interested in having your students attend a committee session or observe a floor session. Only one committee concerned with education issues is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 11. We will have information on possible floor sessions in the Columbia Room. Schedules are always subject to change at the last moment.

2/11/11 1:30 pm
House Full Committee
House Hearing Rm A
John L. O’Brien Building
Olympia, WA

Public Hearing:
HB 1168 – Concerning career and technical education.
HB 1710 – Creating a strategic plan for career and technical education.
HB 1524 – Recognizing the international baccalaureate diploma.
HB 1594 – Concerning the membership and work of the financial education public-private partnership.
HB 1600 – Concerning elementary math specialists.
HB 1669 – Regarding the educational opportunity gap.
HB 1829 – Creating a division of Indian education in the office of the superintendent of public instruction.

Possible Executive Session:
HB 1163 – Concerning harassment, intimidation, and bullying prevention.
HB 1599 – Establishing the pay for actual student success dropout prevention program.
HB 1519 – Regarding school assessments for students with cognitive disabilities.

For other committee meetings go to http://www.leg.wa.gov/legislature/pages/showagendas.aspx?start=2/11/2011

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Parents and Friends of Highly Capable Children – We now need your help to save your child’s highly capable education for the next two school years, 2011-13.
Two proposals from the Governor would eliminate all Highly Capable Program (HCP) funding for this period. Meanwhile, the Governor has proposed increasing funds for other education programs during 2011-13. We’re asking the Legislature for equal treatment: Education programs must be funded equitably and proportionally. These are basic education dollars for highly capable students and programs.  The mistaken perception that gifted kids are all upper-class, white, hardship-free, and disability-free has created an image hurdle for us in the Legislature. If your family’s story can balance any piece of that image, please include it! 
We urge you to contact your legislators by Friday, February 11 – Gifted Education Day in Olympia. Two sample letters are below.
Remember to address emails, sign your name, and add your child’s story.

Please contact:

  1. Your own legislators. Find them here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx
  2. Senator Ed Murray, Chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee: murray.edward@leg.wa.gov
  3. Senator Rosemary McAuliffe, chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Committee. mcauliffe.rosemary@leg.wa.gov
  4. Jill Satran, the Governor’s deputy chief of staff. We need to push back on the Governor!jill.satran@gov.wa.gov

Thank you! Your efforts to save HCP funding for the current school year have been working – now let’s do the same for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years!

Sample letters:

Brief sample letter (Perfect for calling the Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000.)

Dear ___________,
The Legislature must now honor its own mandate to make the highly capable program (HCP) a part of Basic Education beginning in September 2011. Currently, SB 5475 and the Governor’s proposed 2011-13 budget target HCP students for funding elimination, while protecting and increasing funding for other education programs. The Legislature must fund all students’ education programs equitably and proportionally.

Longer sample letter:

Dear ___________,
The Legislature must now honor its own mandate to make the highly capable program (HCP) a part of Basic Education beginning in September 2011. Currently, SB 5475 and the Governor’s proposed 2011-13 budget target highly capable students for funding elimination, while protecting and increasing funding for other education programs. The Legislature must fund all education programs equitably and proportionally. Specifically:
1. SB 5475 must be amended to make HCP part of Basic Education as scheduled: beginning in September 2011. As currently written, SB 5475 would postpone the inclusion of HCP in basic education for two school years – until 2013. However, SB 5475 would advance other reforms from last session on schedule, making other unprotected education programs part of basic education beginning in 2011.
2. The Governor’s 2011-13 budget must be amended to fund HCP students. Currently, the Governor’s proposed budget eliminates all funding for HCP students. However, the Governor’s proposed budget would increase funding for students of other unprotected education programs.
Highly capable students come from all cultures and socio-economic backgrounds, and from special education classrooms. Targeting highly capable students for funding elimination is inappropriate. It is neither equitable nor proportional. It hurts school districts that are already fiscally weak. It denies these children their right to a free and appropriate public education, and its impact is most severe on highly capable children who are middle-class, lower-middle-class, and low-income. Targeting highly capable students for funding elimination is the opposite of how our competitor states are handling their own budget crises. It does not put our state on a path to economic recovery – it knocks Washington further off course.
Washington must press forward with its mandated educational reforms, and must do so equitably and proportionately. This is crucial for creating a future for all our children and building economic vitality in our state.


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The Supplemental Budget has passed both the Senate and the House but in different versions which will need to be reconciled. Since both versions provide nearly the same amount for highly capable programming (HCP) as in the original budget for the current school year, it appears that the first hurdle of this legislative session has been successfully –  well –  hurdled.

The Biennial Budget and SB 5475 lie ahead of us. The fate of SB 5475, introduced on behalf of the Governor, will be basic to the budget.

The Legislature has some important decisions as outlined below.

• Proceed with the scheduled implementation of Education Reform (ESHB 2261 and SHB 2776) and they will write one budget.

• Follow the Governor’s proposal to delay implementation of parts of Education Reform and this requires a different budget.

 – Delay implementation to 2013 and the biennial budget needs to contain approximately $18 million in categorical funding for HCP at at least maintenance level. This funding is not a sure thing.

 – The Governor’s proposals assume delayed implementation (SB 5475) and $0 in funding in her budget.

The Coalition Position

SB 5475

We request that the words “Beginning with the 2013-14 school year” be removed from Sec. 2 (3)(g), Section 3(10)(c), Sec. 5, and Section 6(1) of SB 5475 as these would delay inclusion of HCP in basic education until 2013.

Other sections of this bill move forward with the 2011 inclusion of the Learning Assistance Program (LAP), and the Transitional Bilingual Program (TBL) into basic education and implement the prototypical school funding formula, MSOC (materials, supplies, and operating costs) allocations and the new transportation formula. The Quality Education Council (QEC) has linked HCP with LAP and TBL as programs that close the opportunity gap; this bill removes that linkage.

Educational reform was designed as a whole. Delaying some parts of it will upset the design and make planning difficult. It will be disruptive to districts and students. Local districts have limited funds to continue programs in a delayed implementation. It will be more expensive to reintroduce them than it would be to implement them now.

We understand that implementation cost is high and that funding in full is not likely. Better an underfunded reform than no reform. For HCP, better an underfunded mandate than no mandate. Funding can be adjusted upward as the fiscal situation improves.

Your contacts with Legislators, until further notice, should request that implementation of the new definition of basic education not be delayed beyond the scheduled date of September 2011.

Since the bill is currently in the Senate, contact with your Senators should take place first but both Senators and Representatives will need to be contacted.

The Budget for 2012-2013

If inclusion of HCP is implemented in full in 2011 we hope that some amount of Section 708 funds will be appropriated along with MSOC but have not taken a position on how much this should be. We need to see what is in the budget proposed by the Legislature. (Information on these categories of funds is in the attachment.)

If implementation is delayed (SB 5475), it is our position that we will advocate to obtain as much funding for the current categorical program (which will still exist) as we can. Again, we will signal we are willing to accept a cut but it must be proportional. The budget proposed by the Governor provides no funds for HCP (as a categorical program based on her request to delay implementation of HCP inclusion). This is not proportional.

More Information.

If you are relatively new to gifted advocacy or you just like to dig into the details, please see the (long) attached pdf file which has all the appropriate references and citations.

For those in the Seattle School District, we have attached Dr. Robert Vaughan’s statement to the Senate Ways & Means Committee on January 31 regarding SB 5475.

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Kent parent Brooke Valentine has launched a great project to show our representatives in Olympia the many faces of highly capable children.  We hope that you’ll join in and share what highly capable looks like in your house.  From Brooke:

I have a project that I am hoping all of you will embrace. I think you will because you’ve all been amazing at calling and emailing your Representatives with great creative messages!
I would like to show our elected officials the bright shining faces of Hi-Cap kids (teachers, family members!).
So what I am asking is for you to make a sign with a message from you or your child (see attached photo for my daughters!) and also include somewhere on the sign “Support Hi-Cap” so that we will have a consistent message. Please make sure that you can read the sign.

Also many parents have asked about having their child write hand written notes.  If you or your child would like to do this you can fax them to me at 1-866-276-1565 and I will create a PDF with them and add them to the photos. (NO LAST NAMES PLEASE)  The fax number is an efax – the faxes goes right into my email.
Upload your pictures to our Flickr group — http://www.flickr.com/groups/hicap.   You can upload high quality photos to this site which will be good if I need to print them! You can share them through the Washington Coalition for Gifted Education’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/wagifted).  Or e-mail them to me with the email title “Hi-Cap Picture” I am hoping to get at the very least 100 pictures! Can’t wait to see how creative you are!
Help spread the word and forward this email to other parents/teachers or students involved  with Highly Capable or gifted programs in Washington State!
Please get your pictures to me by February 14th!  It is my hope to print out the final product in a book form that I can give to the Governor.
Brooke Valentine
Parent of 3rd and 4th Grade Hi-Cap Students in the Kent School District.

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A number of bills are in public hearings this week and we are keeping track of them. We have advocates down in Olympia to testify.

SB 5475, which would delay implementation of inclusion of HCP into basic education for two more years. There was a public hearing on Monday in the Senate K-12 committee and everyone who testified on this bill, including seven HCP advocates, thought it was seriously flawed. The chairman indicated it will be revised. We testified against it and wrote offering to work with the committee on the necessary changes. We’re waiting for a response…

HB 1443, which states it is incorporating the recommendations of the QEC. We will testify at the public hearing on Friday. The section on HCP definition and identification are not in agreement with either the QEC Report to the Legislature or the HCPTWG Recommendations. We are working with the committee to amend this bill but may not be successful.

Supplemental Budget, ESHB 1086. The House passed its version of the supplemental budget last week. Senate W&M public hearing 3:30 on Wednesday on its version of the budget which has just been released.

 Funding in House version  Section 508   $9,171,000
 Funding in Senate version  Section 507   $9,162,000

Now we need to survive executive session, floor vote, and conference committee since the two versions are different. We will let you know when action is needed.

If you want details of the budget, it is not on the bill page yet but can be found at http://leap.leg.wa.gov/leap/default.asp  Click on Legislative Proposals New. On the next page top line, click on Operating Senate. Next page, click on Amendment.


Biennial budget

If implementation is delayed to 2013, the biennial should contain at least $18 million in categorical funding under the present system for a maintenance level. We understand there may have to be cuts to funding.

The Governor’s proposals (SB 5475 and SB 5094/HB 1087) call for delayed implementation and $0 (zero dollars) in funding.

If implementation occurs in 2011, the biennial needs to contain

 Section 708 supplemental funds using either the
 current formula of 2.314%, or the proposed formula of 5%.

[When implemented, the basic ed portion of HCP is covered under the basic ed allocation with no specific $ amount for HCP stated.]

Attached is a Gifted Education Day reminder and information on how you can participate even if you can’t get down to Olympia on February 11.

We look forward to seeing you in Olympia on February 11. We still have a lot of persuading to do!

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