GIFTED EDUCATION DAY IN WASHINGTON
JANUARY 23, 2012
The special session is working on a supplemental budget. In her proposal, the Governor maintained HCP funding at the level in the biennial budget while the House and Senate proposals contain small (technical) increases. We remain reasonably confident that HCP state funding is not currently at risk. What may be at risk is levy equalization, as both proposals cut this funding by about $11 million due to technical adjustments compared to the Governor’s cut of $163 million.
The latest word is that the education portions of the supplemental will not be considered until the regular session in January. As we get closer to Gifted Education Day, we should know more about whether or not education funding will be an issue we need to address and we will pass this information on to you.
Why should advocates plan to be in Olympia talking to Legislators on January 23?
(1) We’re not asking for anything this session. The past several years we have been focused on passage of the ed reform legislation and with funding issues. This year we are returning to our basic function of educating Legislators. This focus will change if funding is in jeopardy come January 2012.
(2) Legislators are not hearing too many Thank You’s this year. We’re going to be different. We need to let Legislators know we are thankful for HB 2261 which placed Highly Capable Programs within the protections of Basic Education as we appear to be benefiting from that placement during the current budget crisis.
(3) Then, too, in time, state finances will get better, even if slowly, and the day is going to come when we will be in a position to ask for an increase in funding and even for additional legislation about HCP. We need to educate Legislators now about the importance of and need for Highly Capable Programs.
We are asking as many advocates and students as possible to come to Olympia and talk to their Legislators:
(1) To say thank you for including Highly Capable Programs in basic education. As HB 2261 says so clearly, “access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education” for Highly Capable students.
(2) To say thank you for maintaining funding in the current biennial budget.
(3) To give Legislators an idea of how being in a Highly Capable Program has improved students educational experiences or helped them to plan their future. There is a special emphasis on STEM these days (science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects) and if being a participant in a Highly Capable Program has led the student into these fields, we need to let Legislators know.
Students are the best people to talk with Legislators about Highly Capable Programs. Each student who attends should bring a personal letter expressing one or both of these ideas or their own individual ideas, in their own words, to give to the Legislator(s). Legislators prefer handwritten letters so if you have a computer program that allows you to produce personalized stationery with your picture on it, please make some and use it for your handwritten letter. You can’t get more personalized than that…
If you can’t come to Olympia on January 23rd, please write this letter anyway and send it to your Legislators. Mail address can be found on the web site of the state Legislature. http://www.leg.wa.gov/pages/home.aspx
Use the Legislator information tab.
This message is just a “head’s up” about Gifted Education Day. We will be following up with more detailed information after the first of the year. Meantime, please refer to the Gifted Education Day Handbook.
NWGCA is holding its Connections Conference on February 4 at Edmonds Woodway High School in Edmonds. For more information see NWGCA Connections 2012.
Centrum at Fort Worden in Port Townsend is a member of the Coalition. Using funding from the HCP appropriation in the state budget, they present the Young Artists Workshops. Explorations for grades 7-9 on March 4-9; Water World for grades 5-6 on April 22-27; and two Advanced High School Studios, July 8-15. For more information, http://www.centrum.org/youth/educators.html
Last, but not least, is the League of Education Voters Education Activist Training on January 7th. There is a fee for this training. For more information and to register, see the LEV website.
We’ll be back to you with more information on Gifted Education Day. Don’t forget, it’s Monday, January 23, 2012. In the meantime, Happy Holidays to you and yours. We thank you for your continuing support of appropriate educational opportunities for gifted students.
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