Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Getting All Political

Last Thursday I attended a public hearing on the Proposed Revisions to the Regulations Governing Educational Services for Gifted Students.

I've been getting all sorts of emails about this piece of legislation from other parents of gifted children and the Center based Gifted coordinator for our county. It is a huge overhaul of the existing regulations and I am glad that I had the opportunity to look it over and comment on it myself.

From what I could glean from both the reg itself and the Economic Impact Analysis provided by the Commonwealth's Dept. of Planning and Budget, the proposed amendments are not a good idea. I object to dropping of the requirement of school divisions submitting their plan for gifted students to the Dept. Education for approval. Currently the DoE requires plans to be submitted every five years. A peer review of the submitted plans is done and feedback is garnered from both the DoE and other school coordinators.

It is a good system that allows for a free exchange of ideas and prevents the programs from being consumed by local politics and becoming isolated and outmoded.

And so with printouts in hand I sallied forth to Richmond to give my 2 cents. I could have commented on the web site, but I felt that my words would have more weight if I bothered to show up at one of the hearings in person.

It was an interesting experience. I dithered a bit on signing up to speak, but in the end I decided it was the right thing to do. I ended up being the final speaker of the hearing. I was surprised that there were only thirteen commentators and I was the only one from my county. There were gifted coordinators and parents of gifted children from the surrounding counties, but just me for where we live. Also pretty much all of the parents speaking had at least four children, so I fit right in.

I think I did a fairly good job. I was articulate, brief, respectful and not a nut.

The comment phase ended on Friday and on the Virgina Regulatory Town hall website alone there were 688 comments logged in with the vast majority against the changes.

I can't wait to see what happens next.

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