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Archive for November, 2012

A number of Legislative positions (in the 17th and, possibly, the 47th Legislative districts) will not be decided until recounts are concluded in early December. Otherwise the makeup of the Legislature is pretty well settled. If you want to check it out, go to www.vote.wa.gov  and click on election returns.

The Quality Education Council (QEC) and the Joint Task Force on Education Funding (JTF) are getting close to finalizing their recommendations to the Legislature. The Coalition has made presentations to both groups at their public meetings and submitted a position statement to them on Highly Capable funding.

Based on the most recent revenue forecast, it appears there will not be sufficient revenue to fund the increase in basic education funding necessary to meet the requirements of the McCleary decision. Governor Gregoire will be submitting her proposed budget in December (as required by law) and Governor-elect Inslee will submit his proposal after he takes office in January. No doubt there will be several budget proposals floated in the Legislature from both houses and both parties. All of this is going to make for a most difficult session. There are unverified rumors that some parts of basic education may be suspended for a year or two. I do not know if this is possible; the Coalition will do its best to keep you informed as to what is happening and to let you know when you need to contact your Legislators about HCP funding or other vital issues. Look for our regular messages and follow us on Facebook.  http://www.facebook.com/wagifted 

Gifted Education Day on March 19th is going to be an important piece of our advocacy efforts. Please plan to join us in Olympia. An XXL turn-out is vital to our chances to get a new, more equitable, funding formula for HCP into the budget.

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We invite you to join us at our general meeting on Friday, November 30 at the Burien Community Center, 14700 6th Avenue SW, Burien, beginning at 10 am. We will be planning our strategy for the legislative session and begin organizing for Gifted Education Day. If you live in the Puget Sound area, please join us. Everyone is welcome!

On the agenda are (1) HCP funding issues, (2) The McCleary Decision and what it means for HCP, (3) Strategy for the upcoming legislative session, (4) Reports from observers at the QEC and JTF meetings, (5) Discussion on continuing to offer the Joint Membership with WAETAG and NWGCA, (6) Planning for Gifted Education Day.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to wagifted@earthlink.net so we know how many to plan for.

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Opportunity for Training.

The League of Education Voters is holding their 3rd advocacy training session in January. For more information go to the LEV Website.

More opportunities to learn about gifted.

SENG will hold its 2013 Annual Conference in Orlando from July 19-21.  More details are on SENG’s website.

The World Council for Gifted and Talented Children will hold its biennial 2013 conference August 10 through 14, 2013 in Louisville Kentucky. For more information, go to http://www.worldgifted2013.org/

Last, and certainly not least, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  We are thankful for your support.

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Effective September 1, 2011, highly capable programming became a part of Washington State’s definition of basic education.  The changes to the Revised Code of Washington (RCWs) were passed by the legislature, and signed into law by Governor Gregoire.  To make those changes to the RCWs meaningful, there also needed to be changes to the Washington Administrative Codes (WACs).

Members of the Washington Coalition for Gifted Education, Northwest Gifted Child Association, the Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted and many other groups concerned with the education of highly capable students in Washington State were involved in the process of revising the WACs.  Working with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Washington State Gifted Advisory Committee, suggested changes to the WACs were drafted and submitted for a public hearing.  The proposed changes can be viewed on OSPI’s website.

The hearing is to take place on November 28th, and written comment is due by November 19th.  More information is available on the Highly Capable page of OSPI’s website.

The WCGE was very pleased with the changes that resulted from this process, though there was one area of concern.  Together with the Presidents of WAETAG and NWGCA, we have submitted the following letter regarding our concerns:

The leadership of WAETAG, NWGCA and the Coalition are concerned about the wording in WAC, section 392-270-012. With Highly Capable Program services an integral part of basic education, basic education funds should be spent on Highly Capable Program services. We are concerned that the proposed wording of the section (may access basic education funds*) can be misunderstood or misinterpreted.

In viewing the wording of this section, it is necessary to remember that in: Sec. 2 (2) of 2776 reads as follows:

The distribution formula under this section shall be for allocation purposes only. Except as may be required under chapter 28A.155, 28A.165, 28A.180, or 28A.185 RCW, or federal laws and regulations, nothing in this section requires school districts to use basic education instructional funds to implement a particular instructional approach or service.

The proposed revision to the WAC is misleading when it says that “districts may access basic education funds and highly capable categorical funds.” Since RCW 28A.185 is the section on Highly Capable Programs, it is exempted from this section of the law. Therefore, districts can and should be expected to use basic education funds for Highly Capable Programs.

We suggest that the second sentence of the new section be changed to read:

“School districts may access highly capable categorical funds in addition to basic education funds to provide appropriate highly capable student programs and services”.

This will clarify for districts that they are to use basic ed funds for HCP services.

We find all the other proposed revisions to be in line with the RCW 28A.185.

Irene Greve, President
Washington Coalition For Gifted Education

Charlotte Akin, President
Washington Association of Educators of the Talented and Gifted

Marcia Holland, President
Northwest Gifted Child Association

* WAC 392-170-012 Funds. For highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is
access to a basic education. School districts may access basic education funds and highly capable categorical funds
to provide appropriate highly capable student programs and services.

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“…for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning
and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education.”
ESHB 2261, Sec. 708

Helping students learn and grow is a goal of every school. Implicit in that goal is an understanding of how to work with special populations of children. Gifted and talented education (known as Highly Capable Programs in Washington State) encompasses the expertise needed to properly identify and serve not only the students who demonstrate high achievement, but also those who have the ability to achieve at high levels. The term also  covers the specific services and programs offered as well as the teacher training necessary to provide the academic guidance gifted students need in order to thrive. Gifted and talented education, then, is the system by which districts recognize and serve this special population of children. (National Association for Gifted Children).

In our state, basic education for Highly Capable students is a program that allows these students to continue to show measurable growth. A portion of the students any district serves are Highly Capable. Some of them are identified and programs provided; some are not identified and have no services available. Our intention with this statement is to provide information to assist you as you develop a proposal for a reliable and dependable funding mechanism to support basic education programs, including Highly Capable Programs.

The basic costs of educating a student are a classroom, a teacher, curriculum materials, and maintenance, supplies, and operating costs (MSOC). These basic education costs apply to all students. Since Highly Capable  Programs are an integral part of basic education, these funds should be used to provide HCP program services for these students.

There are additional costs for educating a highly capable child including identification and curriculum materials. The Legislature provided funding for these additional costs based on 2.314% of FTE. The current biennial budget provides $8,745,000 for FY 2012 and $8,788,000 for FY 2013.

Districts may, and many do, expend additional funds to reach more students. Based on the most recent annual report, for the year 2008-2009, the Highly Capable Program grant of $8,938,800 funded services for 24,428 students. Districts used local funds of $34,532,205 to serve an additional 21,762 students. In total, districts spent $43,471,005 in state and local dollars combined to provide highly capable program services to 46,190 students. Thus for each $1 the state spent, districts spent up to $5 of their own funds. State and local dollars combined to provide highly capable program services to 46,190 students. With an estimated one million students in Washingtonʼs K-12 schools, this equals 4.62% of FTEs rather than the 2.314% in the formula.

With the passage of HB 2261, the Legislature authorized the Funding Formula Technical Working Group to study the costs of basic education and supplemental allocations.

Based on information provided to it, the FFTWG determined that the 2.314% funding basis was too low and recommended that a research-driven study be commissioned to determine the appropriate percentage. The recommended study has not been authorized.

The FFTWG also recognized that the new formula might create allocations for small districts that are too little to provide any meaningful Highly Capable Program; thus a floor may need to be developed.

Subsequent legislation established the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group which was composed of experts from higher education, classroom teachers, parents, and representatives from state commissions for cultural, linguistic and racial minority groups, persons with disabilities and state Tribes. The HCPTWG submitted the report and recommendations to the Legislature In studying the question of funding and identification, the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group:

  • Determined that the current enrollment limit of 2.314% is a constraint based more on funding than comprehensive identification of eligible students.
  • Found that HCPSs comprise at least 5 % of total enrollment.
  • Recommended that the “enrollment assumption be revised from 2.314% to 5% to mitigate the number of identified but unserved highly capable students” (HCPTWG Recommendations, page 24) and that the hours in the formula be increased to 5.

Current state funds alone do not provide an appropriate educational opportunity for all highly capable students in Washington state. The Quality Education Council reviewed the FFTWG and HCPTWG reports and has recommended to the Legislature that it base funding for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 on a minimum of 5% of FTE using the class size and hour recommendations of the QEC from the August 13, 2012 review of Prior Recommendations.

We support this recommendation and also request that:

  • The Legislature provide funding equivalent to the total of state and local funds currently spent.
  • A study be authorized to determine the appropriate percentage of FTE to be included in the funding formula.

If Washington is to continue to be a global leader in creativity and innovation, it is essential that we give our best and brightest young people the finest education we can.

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