WATG Government Action Committee
The state budget passed on July 8th and with it a DOUBLING of the funding for gifted and talented education in the state! WATG poured countless hours into building relationships with two key offices to make this happen. We have a LONG way to go in our state but this is a fantastic start! All of this funding is earmarked for the existing grants program, and DPI is hard at work to determine a fair and equitable way to distribute the additional funds.
Meanwhile, WATG is already in talks with its legislative supporters to strengthen policy for gifted and talented education in the state. These talks have just started, but could result in substantive policy and accountability changes that make services for advanced learners more widespread, transparent, and equitable. As we know, just having a state mandate for identification and services does not guarantee their availability.
Reminder: there are other appropriate sources of funding for advanced programming and services, outside of the GT grants program. General school district funding for professional development, curriculum and instruction, and assessment should include appropriate services for developing students' gifts and talents. There are also long-standing federal sources, including Title I funds that support underrepresented gifted students, Title II funds that support teacher professional development in meeting the needs of advanced learners, and Title IVa "well-rounded" funds, particularly with respect to AP, IB, and early college credit options.
More recently, federal ESSER funds may be used to support gifted students, as well as other students. DPI issues guidance on how ESSER I, II, and III funds may be used. At this page
there is specific guidance for gifted and talented (emphases ours):
"Gifted and talented learners have experienced disrupted learning due to shifts in learning environments, staffing, access to technology, access to coursework, access to direct services, and being identified, potentially impacting their opportunity to make progress toward their individualized learning plans. Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations [CRRSA/ESSER II] may be used to expand summer services, purchase resources, engage in professional learning, hire additional staff, or contract with other agencies. Areas to prioritize may include the following:
Celebrate our victory and send us ideas for future policy!
News from the Government Action Committee