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Archive for March, 2012

THE BUDGET

The legislature is going into special session beginning Monday since they have been unable to agree on a second supplemental budget during the regular session. While we all hope they will limit themselves to the budget, any bills may be considered so who can guess what will happen.

All the various budget proposals with even a breath of life in them treat Highly Capable Program funding similarly. The small differences in the total amount to be allocated result from different case load counts and pension adjustments and do not reflect an intent to decrease funding to the districts.

Last minute actions kept levy equalization funding at the current level while prior versions of the budget made a big cut. It is hard to know what the compromise that eventually emerges will do so, if you have strong feelings about LEA, contact your legislators now.

More information may be posted but as of right now, the most recent budget proposal is in amendment 1344 on the ESB 5967 page at http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5967&year=2011

EDUCATION BILLS

Several bills which would have enacted some of the recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group, including a new definition of a highly capable student and guidelines for identification, got caught in an intramural squabble and failed to get out of committee in both houses. The Coalition had serious concerns about these bills, so this is not entirely a bad thing – better no bill than an unsatisfactory one – and we will be back to work on the issue in the next regular session. Meanwhile, we will continue our work with OSPI to get as many of the recommendations as possible included in the necessary rewrite of the Washington Administrative Code (WACs) and to get the rewrite done as soon as possible. Your strong showing on Gifted Education Day makes our work easier.

With all the various educational issues that came before the legislature, you may wonder why the Coalition did not call your attention to any of them. This is because the Coalition is a single issue political advocacy organization: appropriate educational opportunities for highly capable students. We advocate with legislators and administrators for these students and usually do not become involved in other issues, thus leaving our supporters free to take individual stands as they see fit.

GIFTED EDUCATION DAY 2013

We have been successful in obtaining a permit to use the Columbia Room for Gifted Education Day 2013 on February 8. The date is early enough in session to avoid conflicts with cut off dates which make it difficult to get appointments with legislators and, so far as we know, does not conflict with school holidays. Please mark your 2013 calendars now!

FEDERAL LEGISLATION

The following comes from the National Association For Gifted Children, our national organization which lobbies with the Congress.

No Federal Funding For Gifted Ed In 2012 – Congress Directs Department To Continue Research

In mid December, 2011 the Congress approved a package of appropriations bills to fund federal agencies and programs through September 2012.  The “omnibus” bill does not include funding for the Javits program, which was de-funded in 2011, but the report that accompanies the omnibus appropriations bill includes some supportive language for gifted education.

The “report language” urges the Institute for Education Sciences (IES), the U.S. Department of Education’s research arm, to continue research into the learning needs of gifted and talented students, to retain a national research center on the gifted, and to include gifted and talented children in the key data collection efforts and reports developed by IES.  NAGC and CEC will discuss with Department officials several ways in which IES can meet Congress’s intent to continue this critical research.

Gifted students have been fortunate to have long-time friends in the Congress who lead the effort to secure support for funding for the Javits program each year. Gifted education supporters have done a great job in developing bipartisan support in both the House and Senate for the needs of gifted students.  It’s imperative that we keep up the education and advocacy efforts with every Members of Congress so that there is increased understanding and support that can be translated into federal initiatives.

The annual federal budget process is now underway in Congress. To find what you can do regarding funding for Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Act, please go to

http://www.multibriefs.com/briefs/nagc/members.pdf

We need you to take action by March 16th.

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The Robinson Center will be offering both mathematics and writing courses for young students in grades K-11 this Spring. These classes are intended to provide intellectually ambitious students with challenge, inspiration, and fun, in a collaborative, supportive learning environment. The math classes are not intended to move students ahead in the standard curriculum but rather to explore areas of math not usually covered in the K-12 classroom. The writing classes focus on expanding students’ writing and editing skills but also on creative expression across genres.  For more information, see their flyer.

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