Question of the Day

question_mark1This is a new feature.  Each afternoon we will have a question that we pose the Vanguard community.  Sometimes it will be a local issue, sometimes a national issue, and sometimes a deeper and more philosophic question.

Today’s question: Should DJUSD School change the current configuration of GATE which uses self-contrained, some what say segregated classes?

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. wesley506

    As a parent who had a child in the GATE program I can unequivocally state that the kids could care less who is or is not in the GATE program. The parents however very often interpret their own child’s non-membership in the program as a reflection of their own perceived inadequacies. Many parents who have a child in a GATE program will also never miss an opportunity to bring up this fact in conversations with other parents, thereby implying that their little child is a rocket scientist and your is not. This is the core cause of the problem that many have with the GATE program. If you stopped calling it Gifted and Talented, and instead just called it another special ed program, parents would pull their kids out of the program in droves.

  2. Rifkin

    No. We need more tracking K-8, not less. Children who are slow learners need to be with others who learn at their pace. Average learners are best served going at an average rate.

    Although I was in what is now called GATE as a child*, it was only a single, before-school program back then. So I was stuck in classes from 8am to 3 pm which moved at a snail’s pace, boring me and other bright kids to tears.

    Ideally, schools should operate on a goal-line basis. If a kid is a slow learner, he needs to be given adequate time to meet each goal. That might mean a slightly longer day in the classroom with instruction; and it might also mean a longer school year for kids who need more time to reach the goal.

    The point is that if there is a specific goal–say reading at the fourth grade level in the fourth grade–it’s important that every student** gets there before he is advanced to the next grade.

    The only serious problem I have with GATE is its name (which is part of the state’s categorical). All kids have gifts and talents. All kids have some deficiencies. It’s wrong in my opinion to equate high IQ alone with being gifted and talented. I certainly know that I never had any real talent in music, penmanship or art. In sports, I was never better than average, and in some respects below that.

    Were it up to me, the name GATE would be dropped. We should have Track 1 for kids whose IQs place them in the highest quintile; Track 3 for the lowest quintile; and Track 2 for everyone else. If a child in a certain track is too fast or too slow, he should be moved up or down as needed.
    *They called it Mentally Gifted Minors (MGM) back then.
    **Every student might not count a child with mental retardation, of course. But for kids with solvable challenges, like dyslexia, or kids whose home lives are bad and cannot keep up for that reason, we should not just pass them along. We need programs to help every child reach sensible goals all along the way.

  3. Edgar Wai

    I agree that the name itself is a problem.

    I also think that specific goals (education objectives) should be identified, and school should operate on an achievement basis.

    I think public education could be organized like this:
    Each student is allowed to study in public school for 12 years (or up to a lifetime). In each school, a variety of [b]Tests[/b] are defined based on the various levels of education objectives. The school itself, is simply a facility for learning, and for the students to form study groups. The school system provides classes by various teachers with various teaching methods that the kids can attend in any order they want, although a sample sequence of courses is provided.

    The point is not to be in class, but to use the facility to learn and gets various credentials by passing the tests. Tests are not curved, and the students are not in competitions. Homework and exercises are not mandatory, but the school provides grading/evaluation as a service to the students. The benefit of doing homework is the feedbacks. Students would [b]LOVE[/b] homework graders, because they are not there to judge them, they are there to help them learn.

    In such a system, when you look at a student, there is no official word to label the students by their paces. To tell what a student had done, you would have to look at their transcripts. The items on that transcript should be meaningful to employers and university admission.

  4. Hmmmm...

    Yes. Two kids went through program. It’s lost its way and has been hijacked by race-to-nowhere values. But the whole District has, so changing GATE is probably not enough.

  5. Don Shor

    Should DJUSD School change the current configuration of Spanish Immersion which uses self-contained, some would say segregated classes?
    How about Independent Study?
    Isn’t DaVinci self-contained, and might not some say segregated?

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