Important Chance to Help Frame Wisconsin Gifted Education Long-Term (update on State Advocacy for Gifted Education, June 29,2017), Pam Clinkenbeard, Advocacy Chair
The state's draft ESSA plan will be available for public comment through June 30 (and “public” means you!). ESSA stands for the Every Student Succeeds Act (it’s the “nickname” for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, formerly known as No Child Left Behind). The final plan will be roughly as important as No Child Left Behind was in setting priorities and incentives for districts, so this is a major chance to speak up for gifted students.
The federal language of ESSA includes a few mentions of gifted students, but it will be up to the states to say how they will implement support for them in their federal ESSA plans. Wisconsin has drafted their plan with some mention of gifted education; please look over some of the information below and let WATG know if you see any implications, complications or barriers for gifted students in your school district.
The comment site will be open through June 30 and, if you are in the Madison area, there is one feedback session left (Tuesday June 27, 1-3pm, Lussier Community Education Center, 55 South Gammon Road, Community Room). Given news reports on the emphasis of the plan on reducing achievement gaps, "reducing excellence gaps" is one example of good language for you to use in comments. DPI will be submitting their final plan to the U.S. Department of Education in September.
(The state budget process is, of course, still highly important as a current advocacy item. Please see other advocacy articles on the WATG website for how to contact your state legislators and to see a model message to give them.)
Main site for draft plan - see pdfs of brief & full versions, template, etc.
Actual comment site
State Budget. As you probably know, Wisconsin does not yet have a state budget for the 2017-19 biennium. At this writing (8/15/17) the state legislature is wrapped up in the Foxconn proposal. Please write your state Assembly representative and your state Senator asking them to support gifted education funding! You can find WATG’s request and a sample letter under our website’s Advocacy tab. If you’re not sure who your state legislators are, you can find out here: https://legis.wisconsin.gov/ - enter your HOME address or use the map!
ESSA. The WI Department of Public Instruction has revised their ESSA proposal (for the federal Department of Education) after holding hearings throughout the state this summer. We are pleased to report that they have increased the language related to gifted students and gifted education, reinforcing the provision that gifted programming is an essential part of RtI. You can see the current version of the plan here: https://dpi.wi.gov/esea/wisconsin-draft-consolidated-state-plan. This draft will go to the Senate and Assembly Education Committees and then a revision will go to the governor’s office. The final version should be submitted to Washington by Sep. 18.
Acceleration Policy. WATG is developing an initiative to collect district policies on student acceleration and to propose model acceleration policies. Stay tuned!
Thank you for advocating on behalf of gifted students and gifted education!
News from the Government Action Committee