Advocacy Update – 6.23.23 – Waiting for the Budget with Bated Breath

HB33 – Budget Bill
After passing the Senate along party lines, the Budget Bill is currently in a conference committee with members from both the House and Senate. Members of the conference committee seem largely optimistic that consensus will be reached without needing a continuance with the June 30th deadline quickly approaching.  The conference committee consists of Reps. Edwards, LaRe, Sweeney, Sens. Dolan, Cirino, and Sykes.  There are currently 883 differences between the House and Senate budgets and deliberations in the conference committee are expected to take place up until the deadline.  During their June 22nd conference hearing, members heard from the Office of Budget and Management and the Legislative Service Commission.  Both offices testified that projected overall revenues were higher than predicted at the beginning of budget deliberations.  

HB8 – Parents’ Bill of Rights
The House officially passed HB8 also known as the Parents’ Bill of Rights with a vote of 65-29.  Public schools are now required to adopt a “parental notification policy” regarding student health and any educational materials including “sexuality” content.  Sponsors of the bill
(Swearingen and Carruthers) cite the need for an increase in transparency and parental involvement in student outcomes.  Opponents argue this bill is an attack on LGBTQ+ students.

Fordham Report on ‘Advanced Learners’
The National Working Group on Advanced Education (a workgroup convened by The Fordham Institute) released their report entitled “Building a Wider, More Diverse Pipeline of Advanced Learners [link here].”  The report shows that test scores are continuing to drop for the lowest-performing students, however high achieving students’ scores are also taking a “nosedive.” The report has 36 recommendations highlighted under three main ideas.  First, this report recommends gifted students are given a “continuum of services” that are customizable to each students’ needs.  Second, it is recommended that educators identify and include more students into advanced learning opportunities.  More students in gifted classes is a good thing, not something to gate keep.  Lastly, the report emphasizes the need for all school personnel to be involved in gifted identification – not just school counselors and parents.  Outside of these three main ideas, the workgroup also recommends shifting terminology from “gifted learners” to “advanced learners.”