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spending cuts threaten Maryland Summer Centers for Gifted Students

An open letter to:

Delegate Steven J. Deboy, Sr.
Delegate James E. Malone, Jr.
Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer
Governor Martin J. O'Malley

Dear Delegates, Senator, and Governor:

For 42 years, the Maryland Summer Centers for Gifted Students have run programs that have enriched the lives of academically talented young people.

I was one of those kids. For four summers in the early 1980s, I got to attend the "Center for Advanced Studies" program held at Western Maryland College. It was at this academic summer camp that I took my first computer programming class, setting me on the road that led to a master's degree and a successful career. (Which, I might point out, has resulted in some significant tax payments to Maryland over the years!) I got to learn about philosophy and logic and psychology; a quarter-century later I still reflect on some of the things I learned those weeks.

And more importantly, it's where I first met a bunch of people my own age whom I had something in common. At home I was the class nerd, the favorite target of bullies; but suddenly I was thrown together with peers.

The programs at CAS changed my life. Without the experiences and lessons I had there, I know that I would have grown into a less successful and less happy person - one who contributed much less to the society around him.
The Summer Centers for Gifted Students provided me with something critical, and I'm sure they've done the same for many students over the years.

Now this wonderful program is threatened with elimination by Governor O'Malley's 2010 budget. The funding needed is only $413,000 - just seven cents per Maryland resident. Cutting it won't make much difference to our financial situation; continuing it will help gifted students maximize their potential to contribute to Maryland's future.

Please don't end this invaluable investment in education for the gifted.

Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Tom Swiss

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