New experiences are treasured adventures. That’s how Monday, April 11, 2016 felt to me when my husband and I accompanied several other Board members of the California Association for the Gifted (CAG) in meetings with senators and assembly members at the State Capitol building in Sacramento, California. This was my first experience as a Board Member/Parent Advocate for gifted and talented education at the legislative level. Prior to our meetings with legislators, I and other CAG Board members contacted our state legislators to set up times for individual meetings. I am a constituent of Senator, Ben Hueso of the 40th Senate District and Assemblywoman, Lorena Gonzalez of the 80th District. I was fortunate to secure a meeting with Senator Hueso, himself, and grateful to schedule a meeting with Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s staff member, Laurel Brodzinsky.
The purpose of our meetings was to introduce ourselves to our state legislators and offer ourselves as resources of information about gifted and talented education (GATE). We provided each legislator with a folder containing information about CAG including our mission statement and our regional educator and parent representatives. Also included were the following three CAG position papers that can be found on the CAG Website: “Characteristics of Gifted Children,” “Twice-Exceptional Gifted Students,” and “Extending and Differentiating the California Common Core Standards.”
The results of our meetings were outstanding. Senator Hueso thanked us for the information and expressed the desire to help us as we press forward to advocate for legislation that will increase and provide better services for GATE in California, especially where it concerns minority populations in his district. Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s staff member assured us that she would pass on the information to Gonzalez. Having the opportunity to present resources and create awareness for gifted education among our state legislators was our ultimate goal and made CAG Legislation Day at the California State Capitol a huge success.