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 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.