Archive for the ‘Quality Education Council’ Category

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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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!


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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“…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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The Supplemental Budget has passed both the Senate and the House but in different versions which will need to be reconciled. Since both versions provide nearly the same amount for highly capable programming (HCP) as in the original budget for the current school year, it appears that the first hurdle of this legislative session has been successfully –  well –  hurdled.

The Biennial Budget and SB 5475 lie ahead of us. The fate of SB 5475, introduced on behalf of the Governor, will be basic to the budget.

The Legislature has some important decisions as outlined below.

• Proceed with the scheduled implementation of Education Reform (ESHB 2261 and SHB 2776) and they will write one budget.

• Follow the Governor’s proposal to delay implementation of parts of Education Reform and this requires a different budget.

 – Delay implementation to 2013 and the biennial budget needs to contain approximately $18 million in categorical funding for HCP at at least maintenance level. This funding is not a sure thing.

 – The Governor’s proposals assume delayed implementation (SB 5475) and $0 in funding in her budget.

The Coalition Position

SB 5475

We request that the words “Beginning with the 2013-14 school year” be removed from Sec. 2 (3)(g), Section 3(10)(c), Sec. 5, and Section 6(1) of SB 5475 as these would delay inclusion of HCP in basic education until 2013.

Other sections of this bill move forward with the 2011 inclusion of the Learning Assistance Program (LAP), and the Transitional Bilingual Program (TBL) into basic education and implement the prototypical school funding formula, MSOC (materials, supplies, and operating costs) allocations and the new transportation formula. The Quality Education Council (QEC) has linked HCP with LAP and TBL as programs that close the opportunity gap; this bill removes that linkage.

Educational reform was designed as a whole. Delaying some parts of it will upset the design and make planning difficult. It will be disruptive to districts and students. Local districts have limited funds to continue programs in a delayed implementation. It will be more expensive to reintroduce them than it would be to implement them now.

We understand that implementation cost is high and that funding in full is not likely. Better an underfunded reform than no reform. For HCP, better an underfunded mandate than no mandate. Funding can be adjusted upward as the fiscal situation improves.

Your contacts with Legislators, until further notice, should request that implementation of the new definition of basic education not be delayed beyond the scheduled date of September 2011.

Since the bill is currently in the Senate, contact with your Senators should take place first but both Senators and Representatives will need to be contacted.

The Budget for 2012-2013

If inclusion of HCP is implemented in full in 2011 we hope that some amount of Section 708 funds will be appropriated along with MSOC but have not taken a position on how much this should be. We need to see what is in the budget proposed by the Legislature. (Information on these categories of funds is in the attachment.)

If implementation is delayed (SB 5475), it is our position that we will advocate to obtain as much funding for the current categorical program (which will still exist) as we can. Again, we will signal we are willing to accept a cut but it must be proportional. The budget proposed by the Governor provides no funds for HCP (as a categorical program based on her request to delay implementation of HCP inclusion). This is not proportional.

More Information.

If you are relatively new to gifted advocacy or you just like to dig into the details, please see the (long) attached pdf file which has all the appropriate references and citations.

For those in the Seattle School District, we have attached Dr. Robert Vaughan’s statement to the Senate Ways & Means Committee on January 31 regarding SB 5475.

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The Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group delivered its recommendations to the legislature this morning.  The full report can be viewed here.  The proposal represents the work of national and state leaders in the field of gifted education, and members of the Washington Coalition for Gifted Education were proud to have participated in the process.  Earlier this month a draft of the recommendations was presented to the Washington Quality Education Council.  It is now up to the QEC and the legislature to decide what the next steps for gifted will be.

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TVW has a recording of Gayle Pauley’s testimony before the Quality Education Council available for viewing. Her testimony is at the very start of the video.

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Gayle Pauley, Director in the OSPI who oversees highly capable programming, has delivered the proposal of the Highly Capable Program Technical Working Group to the Quality Education Council.  The full text of the HCPTWG proposal is available to view here.  TVW is broadcasting the QEC hearing live — we’ll look for a recording of the event to become available later.

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