State Rep. Brandon Vick was recognized last week for his continued support and efforts in Olympia to ensure each student is getting the education they deserve. The Washington Association of Education of the Talented and Gifted (WAETAG) presented Vick with its 2019 WAETAG Advocacy Award. 

“I am honored and grateful to have received this award. This is an issue I am very passionate about. It was an important part of my educational development, and I understand the power of these programs to help students achieve their full potential,” Vick, R-Vancouver, said in a news release. “There are a lot of inequities in the current programs for our gifted students. I will be working on addressing those in the upcoming session with the legislation I introduced last year.”

Longtime Clark County educator and teacher of gifted children Charlotte Akin presented Vick with the award. 

“State Representative Brandon Vick went to school in Vancouver, Washington, where he was enrolled in the Challenge Program, a full time, self-contained program for gifted kids — something he felt was important in both his education and general well-being. Meeting years later with a member of the Washington Coalition for Gifted Education, he was told that Vancouver hasn’t had transportation to their program. Upon reflection, he remembers being taken to school every day by a parent,” Akin said in the release. “Representative Vick immediately understood the inequity in this practice. He understood that some children never made it to the program they qualified for because of a lack of transportation. In that same meeting, he learned of a variety of practices commonly used across the state that foster inequity, such as Saturday testing for program services and a lack of professional development at all levels in school districts.”  

In the 2019 Legislative Session, Vick introduced legislation to address inequities in gifted student programs with House Bill 1641, which would:

• Modify school district procedures related to identification, selection and placement of highly capable students;

• Direct the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to designate staff to provide technical assistance and guidance to school districts regarding the Highly Capable Program;

• Require that the state fund, and school districts provide transportation to and from programs for highly capable students; and

• Specify staff training requirements related to identifying and serving highly capable students.

The bill passed the House Education Committee, but did not make it out of the House Appropriations Committee.

“Education is not one size fits all, but all students deserve an opportunity to succeed. Successful students help build a stronger workforce and better economy,” Vick concluded in the release. 

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