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Archive for March, 2013

Gifted Education Advocates,

We must convince legislators to increase funding for Highly Capable Education, and need your immediate action. Thank you in advance for your advocacy.

Please do the following TODAY or TOMORROW. Please have students leave messages as well!

1. If you do not already know, find your legislators here http://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/

2. Call the Toll-Free Legislative Hotline, 8AM to 8PM at 1-800-562-6000 and leave this message for your State Representatives:

“I want you to tell Representative Hunter that it is time for Washington State to ensure equity for all students. I want you to increase Highly Capable Education funding to 5%, the level recommended by the Quality Education Council.”

3. Call the Toll-Free Legislative Hotline, 8AM to 8PM at 1-800-562-6000 and leave this message for your State Senator:

“I want you to tell Senators Tom and Hill that it is time for Washington State to ensure equity for all students. I want you to increase Highly Capable Education funding to 5%, the level recommended by the Quality Education Council.”

4. Follow up with short emails to your State Representatives and Senator. Email addresses use this format: Firstname.Lastname@leg.wa.gov or find them at https://dlr.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/Default.aspx

5. Send additional emails to Ross.Hunter@leg.wa.gov, Rodney.Tom@leg.wa.gov, and Andy.Hill@leg.wa.gov

You may wish to provide them with more information in your email. Feel free to add your personal experience, or use the information below.

With 5% funding the state’s Highly Capable Programs plan will:

  • Ensure equity for all students by supporting early identification, a continuum of services K-12, along with appropriate professional development.
  • Provide equitable screening that eliminates bias
  • Establish a deliberate, systematic effort to look at traditionally underserved populations.
  • Widen opportunity for young children (K-3) who show potential in comparison to their classmates, and to develop that potential to see where it may lead.
  • Provide programming appropriate to the student’s strength.

We are counting on you to take action immediately. There are tens of thousands of Highly Capable children in Washington state who need your help!

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BUDGET PROPOSALS

Of interest to all Highly Capable advocates is what the budget proposals will provide for HCP funding. As part of basic education, costs of a classroom, utilities, teachers, administration, transportation, etc are covered under basic education funding. The considerable costs of identification, professional development, special curriculum and textbooks are covered by the supplemental HCP funding provided by the funding formula.

Everything on the budget is happening AFTER Gifted Education Day. The Revenue Forecast Council releases its quarterly revenue forecast on March 20th. This lets the Governor and Legislators know how much revenue the state expects to have this fiscal year.

It is the Senate’s turn to put out a budget first this year and the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus plans to present their budget proposal the week of the 25th and the House Democratic Caucus shortly thereafter. At some point Governor Inslee is expected to propose either a budget or an outline of spending priorities – which is not clear from news reports.

The current biennial budget provides $8,759,000 for FY 2012 and $8,842,000 for FY 2013 for HCP, a total of $17,601,000. The last budget prior to inclusion in basic education provided $17,993,000 for the biennium.

Governor Gregoire’s last budget proposal called for $9,472,000 for FY 2012 and $9,594,000, a total of $19,268,000; approximately a 9% increase. Since the HCPTWG and QEC Recommendations (see next paragraph) call for a new funding formula which we estimate as yielding about $45,000,000 per fiscal year, it is clear that no “real and measurable progress toward achieving full compliance” has been made toward full and ample funding as part of basic education.

McCleary calls for compliance by 2018, so the Legislature has a long way to go to reach this goal for Highly Capable Programs. We strongly suggest that it begin with this budget, enacting a new formula based on 5% of students, in a class size of 15, 6.5 hours for grades K-6 and 3.1 hours for grades 7-12.

Legislators are talking about an additional $900 billion to $1.6 billion for basic education. Surely they can find an extra $45 million for HCP!

GIFTED EDUCATION DAY – AND AFTER

We have been attempting to get HB 1560 amended to provide for a new formula, with little visible progress to date.

Last week we sent you a draft of a proposed resolution in the Legislature. This week we are pleased to send you a copy of the actual resolution, co-sponsored by 47 of 49 Senators. It is a very strong statement of support for gifted education but we should take it cautiously – many may have co-sponsored as a professional courtesy without reading it carefully and becoming aware of its implications. Different versions of this Resolution are circulating in the House and as a Proclamation from the Governor.

If the sponsors really believe what the resolution states, then they should immediately vote to implement the recommendations of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group as endorsed by the Quality Education Council. They should vote a more adequate and equitable funding formula to enable these programs to reach more students and help close the opportunity gap. They should substantially increase Highly Capable Program funding in the upcoming biennial budget and reach full and ample funding by 2018.

So come down to Olympia on March 19th and talk to your Legislators about the need for and value of Highly Capable Programs to both the student and the state; the requirements of the McCleary Decision for full and ample funding; and the recommendations of the HCPTWG and the QEC.

Before you do so, take a close look at the Power Point from NEWS, the plaintiffs in McCleary, presented March 10. The Coalition is a member of NEWS.

Be ready to push harder on the budget if the various budget proposals don’t “do right” for Highly Capable Programs when they come out. We will let you know if such action is necessary.

To end the State’s violation of Washington children’s constitutional rights by 2018, each State budget must:
(1) “demonstrate steady progress” implementing education funding reforms under ESHB 2261, and
(2) “show real and measurable progress toward achieving full compliance with article IX, section 1 by 2018.”
July 18, 2012 Supreme Court Order at ¶4

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You haven’t heard from us recently as everything we have been doing in advocating for Highly Capable Programs has been pretty much “behind the scenes.” We are conferring and negotiating with key legislators regarding HB 1560, which purports to enact the recommendations of the Quality Education Council for the HC program. And the QEC recommendations pretty much are those of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group. Unfortunately, only a small part of the two sets of recommendations is contained in this bill and we are working as hard as we can to get the full recommendations for identification, services and funding as an amendment to the pending bill. If we are successful in getting a sponsor for our proposed amendment, we may be contacting you asking that you get in touch with your representatives and ask them to vote for the amendment. It all depends on how these touchy negotiations go….

Attached is the fact sheet we are using in our conversations with legislators. It attempts to distill pages and pages of material into a single page fact sheet. Because key Legislators seem to be fixated on issues of equity and the opportunity gap and not on the needs of our gifted students, we have focused our efforts on things which interest them.

GIFTED EDUCATION DAY, MARCH 19

Preparations for Gifted Education Day continue. We are looking forward to large student contingents from Edmonds and Puyallup as well as smaller groups from other districts. We have a full line-up of speakers. Please be in the Columbia Room no later than 9:10 so we can start our program and finish on time for you to meet with your legislators, with whom you have already made appointments – we trust you have made appointments. If not, do so immediately, please.

We have a Proclamation of Gifted Education Day from the Governor and expect passage of Resolutions in both houses for both Gifted Education Day, March 19, and Gifted Education Week, March 17-23. The exact wording of these three documents may vary slightly, but attached is the text of the Senate resolution. The Resolutions are being sponsored by new “friends” of gifted education – we have had a core group of faithful Legislator friends for several years now and the group is expanding with these new members: Rep. Marcie Maxwell in the House and Senator Ann Rivers in the Senate. We welcome their support!

We need as large a turn out on March 19th as we can muster to support our efforts with Legislators to get HB 1560 amended as we suggest. Please come to Olympia and support us. If you can’t come to Olympia, contact your Legislators during the week of the 18th and express your support for Highly Capable Programs and tell your Legislators about how important they are for both students and the state. Information on contacting your Legislators is in the Gifted Education Day Handbook.

In Olympia, we will provide name tags, note paper and envelopes, note cards, and cards with contact information on them for you. Regulations on handing out materials in the Columbia Room keep us from providing printed materials there so print out whatever you need and bring it with you.

If you need more information, contact us at wagifted@earthlink.net.

GIFTED EDUCATION DAY 2014

Gifted Education Day 2014 is scheduled for February 28th. Every other date in February 2014 was taken when we made our request and since it is the short session, we took what we could get. Mark your 2014 calendar (if you have one already) now.

P.S.

We need more followers on our Facebook Page. Legislators look at these things when judging their response our requests. Help us reach 700.

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