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If you’re reading this, you are a key advocate for gifted education in Washington State. Your active advocacy is greatly needed during this upcoming campaign season. For the sake of your gifted children and the other 100,000 gifted children in Washington, please plan to undertake the activities we describe here.

Primary and General Elections are Coming Up

If you take a look at the list of candidates for state legislature, governor and superintendent of public instruction (https://wei.sos.wa.gov/agency/osos/en/Pages/CandidateFilings.aspx or this attached pdf file) you will notice there are a lot of open seats due to retirements and redistricting. As well as a new governor, there will be many new legislators in the next session so it is vital that we start the work of educating them about highly capable NOW and not wait until January.

Please attend candidate forums and presentations for both the primary and the general election and ask key questions about the candidate’s support for Highly Capable Programs. As HB 2261, Sec. 708 stated: for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education.

The following are some key points to be made when questioning candidates.

Washington is on the cutting edge in establishing a quality education for Highly Capable students. We are the first state to make it a part of basic education.

To retain the educated business community and their families, we need to provide a high quality education system for children who will be our future leaders.  Support for Highly Capable Programs is an opportunity to move forward in raising standards and promoting economic growth in Washington.

Three important pieces are now in place:

1.  Effective with the school year 2012-2013, Highly Capable Programs are part of basic education for students in K – 12.

2.  Highly Capable Program Technical Work Group was given the mission to recommend changes to standardize state-level procedures, including definition, identification, and criteria for programs. This task is completed.

3.  Special Endorsement – Washington State now offers educators a special endorsement in gifted education.

The challenge is to insure that districts have the support needed to implement highly capable programs K-12.

Tell candidates that we need them to:

Support legislation or policies that provide educators with access to appropriate training and/or professional development in identifying highly capable learners and serving their divergent educational needs.

Support data collection and out of level testing to help measure growth for these students and to assist in determining success of programs.

Summary

Advocacy for maintaining highly capable programs is about giving highly capable learners an appropriate education. As HB 2261, Sec. 708 stated: for highly capable students, access to accelerated learning and enhanced instruction is access to a basic education.

Highly Capable students are found in all populations – rural, urban, socio-economic levels, ethnic groups.  Approximately 50,000 students receive services but another 50,000 will be able to have these services with K-12 implementation.

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