Archer Announces for Four Year DJUSD Board Seat; First Candidate for Appointment Emerges

Archer-BarbaraOn Wednesday, Barbara Archer, longtime community volunteer and PR professional, announced that she will seek a four-year term as a trustee for the Davis Joint Unified School District Board of Education in November’s election.

This week, the school board set forth the process for the school board appointment created on March 6 when Nancy Peterson resigned from the board over her role in the dispute over the firing of the volleyball coach.  The trustee would be appointed and then have to run in November for a two-year seat.

In the meantime, it could be a fresh slate of board members come November.  The seats of Gina Daleiden, Tim Taylor and Sheila Allen are up.  Sheila Allen has already announced she will not run, as she is running for City Council.  Tim Taylor has not formally announced but is not expected to run for reelection, and Gina Daleiden is unannounced so far.

Barbara Archer is the first announced candidate for November, and she will kick off her campaign at an event on Monday, May 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 764 Elmwood Drive at the home of Joy Klineberg.

Delaine Eastin, former state superintendent of public instruction, Archer’s honorary campaign chairperson, will speak at the event.

 “Davis Joint Unified is at a pivotal time in its history with Common Core implementation, the roll-out of a five-year strategic plan and budgeting for new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) money,” said Ms. Archer in a press release. “With my knowledge of our district’s budget, my desire to communicate effectively to all district stakeholders and my belief in prioritizing program and budget dollars according to what is best for all our students, I hope to contribute to these processes as a board member.”

Ms. Archer, 46, has lived in Davis since 2000 in addition to a stint from 1994-1996. She has a track record of 10 years of volunteer service with the school district.

Since her oldest child started school in 2004, Archer has been an active parent in DJUSD, first in the classroom as a parent volunteer and then as PTA president at Willett Elementary in 2009-10 (with a vice president term the year prior).

She followed up her term as PTA president by co-chairing the Measure C school parcel tax, which won with a 72.3% of the vote in March 2012.  She also consulted on the Measure E school parcel tax campaign.

Ms. Archer also held a two-year Site Council term at Willett from 2011-13. She edited the Willett PTA weekly newsletter for five years (2007-12), in addition to administrating the Willett PTA website and listserv with her husband for that same period. She founded “Friends of Our Willett Library” that raised money to update the non-fiction book collection at the Willett Elementary Library.

Ms. Archer recently participated in the DJUSD Strategic Planning process by working on the Technology Infrastructure and Facilities action team, which met from September 2013 to January 2014.  She currently serves on the board of the Da Vinci Charter Academy Booster Club and on the DJUSD Parcel Tax Oversight Committee.

Ms. Archer has worked in public relations her entire career in a variety of industries and has been employed for almost four years with the organic produce delivery service Farm Fresh To You as its public relations manager.

She is the parent of three children – a ninth grader and twins in sixth grade – and holds a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA. She is married to Daniel Segel, a native Davisite.

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Sunder-MadhaviIn the meantime, Madhavi Sunder has announced she will be a candidate for appointment as well as election in November.

Madhavi Sunder, a daughter of immigrants and a Professor at UC Davis, has announced that she will seek election to the Davis Board of Education in November. Declaring “Strong Schools, Strong Davis,” Sunder believes that public schools are at the heart of our community. She is a strong advocate for an excellent education for all students, one that challenges each child to be his or her best in an environment that nurtures exploration and learning.

Ms. Sunder believes that the District needs to be forward-looking, meeting the budgetary challenges but not letting them prevent us from creating innovative new programs that are fiscally responsible.

She stated, “The last few years have seen enormous growth in class sizes, teachers have been asked to do more for less, and now teachers and students must adjust to the new, dramatically different common core curriculum.”

“The School Board needs to offer strong leadership to face these challenges,” she continues.

Madhavi Sunder herself attended public schools, before entering Harvard College, from which she graduated magna cum laude. She then earned her J.D. degree at Stanford Law School, after which she
practiced law in New York City, before returning to California to work for a federal appellate judge in Los Angeles. She was the youngest professor to be hired at UC Davis School of Law. She has been teaching at UC Davis for fifteen years. Sunder says, “I am proud to teach at a public university, where many of our students are the first in their families to go to college or graduate school.”

A tireless advocate for all children, Sunder will bring to the School Board deep compassion, incredible energy, and a demonstrated ability to get the job done.

In 2005, when her daughter was a toddler and when she was still pregnant with her son, she proposed and led a campaign to name a new elementary school in East Davis after Fred Korematsu, a native Californian who stood up for justice against the Japanese Internment. At the end of that year, The New York Times recognized Davis for naming a school after the civil rights legend. Now her two children attend this school, which proudly describes itself as a “social justice school” and where the children sing “what can one little person do?”

Sunder has been an active volunteer in classrooms at Chavez Elementary, served as an AYSO soccer coach, served on the GATE advisory committee and most recently was a member of the District’s Strategic Planning Committee Action Team. Sunder promises, “Drawing on my passion for public education and my experience as an educator, a lawyer, a mother, and a social justice advocate, I will work tirelessly on behalf of all the children in this town.”

She explains, “We need to begin by making sure that teachers have the training and the support they need to implement the state’s new curriculum.” “What the top school districts in the world have in common is respect for teachers,” she notes. “Davis teachers also need to know that they have our deepest respect.”

Sunder has been touring each of the Davis schools to learn more about the challenges and successes of each school.

Sunder is also applying for the open School Board seat to be filled by appointment on May 8.

Sunder has been endorsed by former California Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, Yolo County Recorder Freddie Oakley, UC Davis Dean of Engineering Enrique Lavernia, retired teacher Deborah Nichols Poulos, and Davis parents Krista DeZerega and Dr. John Thomson, among many others.

Her campaign team includes Campaign Manager, Sarah Heringer; Treasurer, Grace Salvagno; and Deputy Campaign Manager, Mario Salvagno.

She was a member of Davis Excel.  In June 9, 2013, she wrote a letter to the editor defending the Davis GATE Program.

She wrote:

Racially charged terms have been used to attack the Davis GATE (now AIM) program, from “segregation” to “eugenics.” These charges are far removed from reality. In fact, the Davis AIM program is one of the most diverse of all of the district’s magnet programs, with demographics that closely resemble our district as a whole.

Our school district is 3 percent African-American, 17 percent Asian, 18 percent Latino and 57 percent white. Data from the last two years shows that students were identified for eligibility for the AIM program at similar percentages: 4 percent African-American, 24 percent Asian, 17 percent Latino and 51 percent white.

Questions about diversity — including not only ethnic but also socioeconomic diversity — in our district’s programs are important. But as the school board members said last month, this is an issue that affects all of our programs, not just AIM.

Indeed, DJUSD recently released data (see http://www.djusd.net/schools/schdemogr) that show striking discrepancies in various school programs. The Da Vinci Charter Academy is 2 percent African-American, 5 percent Asian, 12 percent Latino and 77 percent white. Birch Lane’s Montessori program is 2 percent African-American, 14 percent Asian, 8 percent Latino and 68 percent white. The César Chávez Spanish immersion elementary school is 2 percent African-American, 8 percent Asian, 25 percent Latino and 59 percent white.

These numbers should not condemn any of our magnet programs. These programs have successfully served students and families in the district for decades. All of them have wait lists. They are stellar parts of a stellar district. At the same time, the numbers challenge us to do better.

The Board of Education has suggested that the district’s new strategic plan include study of our magnet programs. Do some families naturally gravitate toward certain special programs, like Spanish immersion? Lower-income families may be less aware of magnet options, or less able to drive out of their neighborhoods to attend them. More information can help us correct for some inequalities.

Montessori has conducted outreach, including tabling at the Davis Farmers Market, to educate families about the program. Davis Excel has been tabling as well to educate families about AIM. In these ways we can seek to diversify our magnet programs while still preserving parental choice, a keystone of the Davis schools.

The AIM program owes its diversity to changes in district policy since 2003. Prior to that date, only children whose teachers recommended them or whose parents knew how and when to test for the program participated in it. Testing was done outside the school day.

To address unequal access, the district adopted a program of “universal testing.” The district began administering during the school day a test of abstract thinking and reasoning called the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test (OLSAT) to all third-graders to identify high academic potential.

The OLSAT, a multiple-choice test, is one of the most reputable, thoroughly researched and cost-effective group-administered tests for identifying academic needs. Because the test, which contains both verbal and nonverbal reasoning, may not best reflect the abilities of all students, the district AIM coordinator administers a second, free test called the Test of Nonverbal Intelligence (TONI) in small groups to students who are English language learners or who have certain other risk factors.

The combination of the OLSAT and TONI tests produces a spectrum of AIM-identified children that reflects much of the diversity of our district. Offering a variety of tests as we do in Davis is considered a “best practice” in GATE identification and one reason the Davis program has been hailed as “exemplary” by the state. Our GATE-identification process was reviewed by an outside expert and commended in an evaluation as recently as 2009.

Opponents of the AIM program are now attacking the use of the TONI test, charging that it makes the program “too big.” It is ironic that the same critics who are denouncing the program as “segregated” are the ones seeking to remove the diversity from the program.

Children who do not qualify for a free retest using the TONI can take a single private test administered by a psychologist at their own expense. The district has strict rules about the private tests — a student must identify the psychologist and day and time of the test beforehand in writing to the district to avoid seeking out a better score. The district continues to provide for this outside option because we no longer have a psychologist on staff capable of administering the comprehensive one-on-one exam.

If identification methods are being challenged, we should discuss with teachers whether some students are being improperly identified, and are being put into curricula beyond their capacity. If more students would benefit from the AIM curricula, then we should admit all who are likely to benefit.

Many have in the past suggested adding an additional strand at Montgomery Elementary School, providing an AIM option in a school with a high percentage of low socioeconomic-status children.

Parents and school officials are invited to visit www.davisexcel.com for a more complete collection of data, facts and research.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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52 Comments

  1. Michelle Millet

    In these ways we can seek to diversify our magnet programs while still preserving parental choice, a keystone of the Davis schools.

    I’m glad this issue is on the radar. I’m not sure we should be attempting to diversify our magnet programs solely for the sake of diversification, instead I think the district should be ensuring that all parents have an understudying of the choices available to their children. I don’t think this is the responsibility of parents which who at this point seem to be doing the heavy lifting in this department.

    I’d be curious hear idea’s from candidates on what they think the district can do to increase outreach and understudying of the different options available to them and what steps they think can be taken to help ensure that every child has equal access to these programs.

    1. South of Davis

      Mr Toad wrote:

      > Two excellent working mothers. I especially like
      > that Sunder teaches at the law school.

      I especially like that Sunder comes from a culture of high achievement.

      It seems like the majority of public school leadership in California is in the “let’s just make it easier so everyone passes camp”.

      We need more people like Sunder in the “let’s push kids to excel camp”.

      Sadly I think Parrella has a better chance of getting on the city council than Sunder has of getting on the school board.

  2. Ryan Kelly

    I do not support Madhavi’s appointment. I question her motivation to get on the Board. What we do not need is another Trustee with a personal agenda – in Madhavi’s case, saving the GATE program. It would be better for her to wait until her own children are no longer enrolled as I do not think she can look beyond her personal experience or situation. Regardless of what she says, she will always be biased toward programs involving her own children.

    I would prefer a candidate that does not have children currently enrolled in Davis schools for many reasons.

    1. Davis Progressive

      look at her body of work, it’s hard to believe that she can be subsumed within the attack that you’re putting on her. shouldn’t you at least watch how she develops her candidacy? you would rather the school board appoint one of their pta buddies who helped get us into this mess in the first place?

    2. DavisAnon

      If you prefer a candidate with an anti-GATE bias, it looks like Archer may be your candidate. After seeing the letters to the editor, etc. listed on Vanguard for the other candidates but nothing from her, I did a search. She signed the petition from the anti-GATE PAGE group over a year ago. And she was quite clear in her comments to a letter in the Davis Enterprise (almost a year ago) that she does not support the existence of GATE program except for the very few kids who cannot pass in the regular classroom:

      http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/letters/schools-need-to-adjust-aim/

      http://www.change.org/petitions/djusd-davis-joint-unified-school-district-evaluate-the-current-gate-program-and-investigate-alternatives-2

      I cannot support a candidate who has already shown such a clear bias against one of our district’s programs. The only possible exception would be that she publicly promises to recuse herself (and does) from any vote that could have a potential negative effect on that program (what Nancy should have done). I’m even more concerned that she touts her knowledge of the GATE program and budget issues, when her facts appear wrong. I want a candidate who has the moral character to investigate the truth about issues and make decisions based on facts, not someone who will pass along false (or only partially accurate) information for the sake of supporting a personal bias and damaging one of our educational programs. Pitting the different programs against each other is not helpful – I suspect the costs of the athletics programs per student are far higher than those of GATE but that doesn’t mean we should eliminate sports! Regardless, this makes me fear that Barbara Archer will be a candidate who will make the rancor in our town worse, not one who will build cooperation and encourage respect for the differences of others.

  3. Cecilia Escamilla-Greenwald

    Ryan,

    Both candidates Madhavi Sunder and Barbara Archer have children in the DJUSD. I think having school board members who currently have or have had children in the school district may provide for a board member who is more knowledgeable and involved in seeing that the DJUSD succeeds in providing the best possible education for all students.

    I understand that is not always the case, but I would not exclude considering a candidate for school board simply because they currently have children in school.

    1. Ryan Kelly

      Madhavi has waged a campaign specifically against the examination of a District program, because this is the program that her own children are enrolled in. That is the difference. Being a School Board Trustee involves a lot of mundane budget issues and making sure we have the best educational system for our money. This includes making sure special programs do not affect adversely regular neighborhood programs. I don’t believe that she can do that at this time while she has children enrolled. Some people are able to do this, but I don’t believe that she has demonstrated that she can.

      1. Mr. Toad

        Have you ever met her? I have. I have discussed the gate program with her at length and found her to be willing to listen to my perspective and seek a common understanding of what should be done. She even read the book I suggested she look at, “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell.

        She will be a fabulous addition to the school board. We should be grateful that she is willing to serve even though she already has a full time job as a Law Professor.

        Take a look at this excerpt from the Enterprise:

        “Drawing on my passion for public education and my experience as an educator, a lawyer, a mother and a social justice advocate, I will work tirelessly on behalf of all the children in this town,” Sunder said.

        “We need to begin by making sure that teachers have the training and the support they need” to implement the state’s new academic standards. “What the top school districts in the world have in common is respect for teachers. Davis teachers need to know that they have our deepest respect.”

        Ryan, if your assertion that she is a Trojan Horse akin to Nancy Peterson is true then she is an excellent one because she is 100% on target with articulating exactly what the district needs for new leadership to move us forward at this very moment. Perhaps instead of a Trojan horse she is just the real deal.

        This is a woman that Harvard, Stanford and the U.C. Davis Law School have wanted and she is willing to serve our community. We are lucky to have her.

  4. Davis Progressive

    barbara archer seems like a nice lady and well-meaning, but i have real concerns that she is from the same clique that all of the other people on the school board come form. whereas madhavi looks like fresh blood and frankly if cruz reynoso and freddie oakley think she’s good enough, i think we should consider her as well.

    1. GregBrucker

      DP:

      It sounds like you are almost immediately dismissing Barbara simply because you think something might be true. Didn’t you also post this two minutes later in response to someone else doing basically the same thing? (10:03 am)

      “look at her body of work, it’s hard to believe that she can be subsumed within the attack that you’re putting on her. shouldn’t you at least watch how she develops her candidacy? ”

      On your 10:03 post, I agree with you, and hope that everyone, in fairness, gives all candidates time to present themselves, and gives voters enough time to learn about people’s backgrounds and qualifications before making pre-judgments not based in known fact or through potential association. We have 4 board members to elect out of 5. This is a huge deal for our town, and I think the best thing for our children and students (that’s what this is all about), and ultimately, our community as a whole, is for us as citizens to do our due diligence in creating for ourselves a true and honest education of each candidate as they start and develop their campaigns.

  5. Ryan Kelly

    I voice a concern about a school board candidate and I am told that this is an “attack.” I see how this campaign season will go.

    I am very distrustful of candidates and their supporters who have waged public and private campaigns over programs where their children are enrolled. How many of Nancy Peterson’s campaign volunteers knew about her obsession with the volleyball program – even cautioning her about her continued pursuit of removing coaches, yet publicly supported her bid for School Board Trustee? I believe that the AIM program is educational tracking and has developed into a program that does not serve the students it is mandated to serve. Ms. Sunder clearly has no intention of allowing that to happen. She is not what we need right now.

    I would prefer someone different, that is all, that doesn’t have an agenda around the educational program of their own children.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i consider it an attack in that it is based on a very small amount of information? so now we eliminate people who might bring in a different perspective from the current clique because they are deemed single-minded based on a single letter.

      1. Ryan Kelly

        There were more than one letter and I think at least one Op-Ed, public comments, etc. It was an all out campaign to stop the examination of the GATE program and how it was functioning and its impact on the rest of the educational community. I am not basing it on one letter.

        1. Davis Progressive

          this was from february 2011:

          Professors Chander, Sunder Discuss Korematsu on KXJZ Insight

          Professors Anupam Chander and Madhavi Sunder discussed the legacy of Fred Korematsu and the comic book they co-authored to teach children about Korematsu and the Internment of Japanese Americans during World War II on Insight, a news talk program of local National Public Radio affiliate KXJZ. The program aired January 27 and is available for listening at the KXJZ website via the link below.

          Professor Anupam Chander is a leading scholar in the law of globalization and digitization, and has written widely on international law, cyber law, and corporate law.

          Madhavi Sunder is a Professor of Law at King Hall whose special interests include intellectual property, law and culture studies, and women’s international human rights.

          Insight segment

          i would say she gives us a very different perspective and you are eliminating someone with a lot of great strengths based on a single issue.

      2. Davis Progressive

        i’m just very concerned that you’re completely writing someone off who offers a very different perspective based on a single issue that quite frankly isn’t all that important in the scheme other things.

  6. Ryan Kelly

    Which scheme of other things, if one program that tracks 30% of our students into honors classes starting at 3rd grade is off the table?

    Davis schools are mediocre for a substantial number of students. We have created low-performing schools within schools that are hidden by making sure that elitist magnet programs exist at all schools. But the achievement gap that exists in Davis schools and the suspension rates for minority students tell a different story. Teachers are burdened by a higher number of at risk students in the non-GATE classes. The GATE program has changed from a special education program for exceptional students to a honors track for elementary students.

    1. Davis Progressive

      But the irony is that a candidate who may speak for a substantial number of students who are mediocre/ low performing, is the one you’re dismissing.

    2. Mr. Toad

      Who said it was off the table? I have never heard her say any such thing. What I have heard her say is that we should be able to have the discussion without hiring a high priced mediator to facilitate the discussion. Sounds prudent to me.

    3. Don Shor

      Given your comments about GATE on previous discussions, it is clear that you will oppose any candidate who supports the program. Too bad you are so quick to judge a candidate based on that sole criterion. When my kid was in GATE, we called the ongoing and blatant hostility to the program “GATE-hate.” People would say the most amazing things about GATE students and families. And I see that hasn’t changed, even if the name of the program has.

      1. Ryan Kelly

        I don’t oppose a GATE program. I support it where it serves the population it is intended to serve. What I do oppose is the idea that the GATE program is an elite educational opportunity for students who are willing to work hard to gain entrance. I oppose the program being overrun by students who would be successful in regular neighborhood programs and the push out of extraordinary students with high intelligence, but are not successful in the regular classroom. What the district needs is a true GATE program and call the existing AIM program what it is – an accelerated honors program for elementary students. What I oppose is to immediately classify any opinion voiced that is critical of what the program has become as based on hatred or hostility. This is the first time I’ve heard of the term “GATE-hate.”

        1. Ryan Kelly

          I have stated on earlier threads regarding the volleyball issue that I would consider very carefully whether I feel that future candidates who have children enrolled in the District may have an agenda – a uniquely personal reason for running for the Board. It could be sports, music, special programs or anything to do with the running of the District.

          Not only did Madhavi oppose changes to the GATE program, she was instrumental in forming an organization – Excel – that actively lobbied the Board to resist pressure to take a look at the program and consider possibly making changes. She became the spokesperson for that effort – appearing at Board meetings, writing letters to the editor, etc.

          Is she running with a personal agenda of protecting her own children’s educational program? I believe that this is a valid question.

          1. Mr. Toad

            I think you should ask her. I think you would be surprised by her answer. I think you are not as far apart as you believe. I also have concerns about gate, just as you do and just as Madhavi does. Yet unless active gate parents feel they are adequately represented its going to be politically impossible to bring the community together to reach consensus. With Madhavi on the board there is a chance for a Nixon goes to China moment.

        2. Don Shor

          Here is our previous discussion of GATE: http://www.davisvanguard.org/debate-over-gate-continues-to-heat-up/
          You consider GATE an “antiquated system.” GATE parents, you say, consider the regular programs “as a substandard, chaotic, unimaginative, and repetitive learning environment, for students who are the same. The GATE parents arguments state this over and over in letters to the editor, blogs and comments on petitions – some more blatant than others.”
          You believe high-achieving students should be mixed with low-achieving students.
          You believe that “the large majority of GATE students” would be fine in regular classes. You believe that GATE really only applies to a very small percentage of students.
          In short: you think it should be a tiny program for a tiny group of students, and you will oppose candidates who seek to preserve the existing program.

          Not only did Madhavi oppose changes to the GATE program, she was instrumental in forming an organization – Excel – that actively lobbied the Board to resist pressure to take a look at the program and consider possibly making changes.

          That is, perhaps, because a group formed to push hard for reduction in GATE. And one of the columns linked by wdf, as you will see, specifically refers to the charges that GATE students and parents have been subjected to over the years.

          1. Ryan Kelly

            I’m not running for office. She is. From this discussion, I suspect that Madhavi will work ensure that there will be no changes to the AIM program and with 30% of students in this program and every parent voting for her she has the votes. I’m shocked that you view my concerns about the tracking of elementary students starting at third grade as motivated by hatred towards these families. It’s a discussion killer.

          2. Don Shor

            Let’s see. You basically want to dismantle the program in its current form. You disparage the parents. No? Try this from your previous comments:

            I had a parent in Jr. High (where there was no GATE at the time) that it was important for her child to get into at least one advanced/accelerated class, because then he would be grouped schedule-wise with other nice (rich, white) kids throughout the rest of his day.

            So you think this parent’s motivations are classist and racist.
            And then you immediately oppose a candidate for school board because she has advocated on behalf of the program.
            Definitely you have animosity for GATE, now AIM. And that animosity is something that has been expressed by quite a few parents over the years.
            If you actually want to have a discussion about AIM, perhaps a good starting point would be to acknowledge the value of the program and to accept the motivation of parents who prefer it. Your previous comments have not suggested you would work toward a better AIM program.

          3. Ryan Kelly

            The description of the regular program above was a direct quote by a parent with a child in the program in a letter to the editor as the reason for her child doing better in GATE. The incident of the Jr High parent’s reasoning for getting their child into an advanced course was absolutely true. What am I supposed to believe when people state their reasons such as these? I do see the value of the program, but don’t see why 1/3 of our students are chosen for such a learning environment. Parents see the inequities, so go searching for other special programs – Montessori, Spanish Immersion, DaVinci, Independent Study, private school.

          4. Don Shor

            You chose to use it as an example of parent motivations, in a school district with thousands of parents with differing motivations. You chose that one. You added the “rich, white,” which I take to be your presumption about that parent. It is your selection of that example that makes me assess your analysis of GATE/AIM parents as being derogatory.
            You say you “do see the value of the program” but I see no evidence of that. I also fail to see the connection between AIM and parents seeking “other special programs.” Parents look for the best placement for their children. Are you really now saying, on top of all the other stuff you have said, that AIM “inequities” cause parents to seek enrollment in those other programs?
            My, how much you impute upon parents.

          5. Ryan Kelly

            It will be up to the candidate to convince voters that she is more than an advocate for the existing configuration of the AIM program. Perhaps, if and when she wins a spot, she will have to pay attention to the achievement gap, suspension rates and other evidence of systemic bias. She will need to stop being only a parent to be able to deal with these issues. I question whether she will be able to do this, as is my right and obligation as a voter and tax payer. The only response I get is 1) I don’t know her or 2) I am evil.

          6. Don Shor

            Evil? No. Just incredibly biased against AIM, to the point that you jumped in practically before the ink was dry this morning — both here and at the Enterprise — to argue against her.

      2. Mark West

        I disagree with Ryan on his assessment of the suitability of Madhavi Sunder as a candidate for the School Board. I believe she brings a wealth of knowledge that the could be very valuable to the District. At this point I neither support and oppose her, but I welcome her as a candidate.

        With regards to Ryan’s comments about what the GATE/AIM program has become in Davis, in general I agree with his concerns. The GATE program was intended to address the needs of a very small subset of children who learn differently from the general population. The intended target population is roughly 2% of the total population of children in the State. With 30% of the Davis students currently enrolled in the AIM program, it is crystal clear that this program has evolved in a way that it no longer meets the needs of the intended ‘special needs’ population.

        AIM, as it currently operates, is a ‘high achievement’ program, and in my opinion totally fails both the general population and the 2% of students who truly need the differentiated training. From that perspective, AIM is a failure and should be terminated immediately.

        My opinion is not ‘GATE Hate’ as Don labeled it, but rather the opinion of a member of that 2% population who benefited from the differentiated training, and who now is saddened by the District’s decision to ignore the needs of that population in order to satisfy the demands of parents who misunderstand the intent of the original program.

        GATE was never designed to be a ‘high achievement’ program. It was intended as a differentiated learning model for the small subset of students who’s minds work in a unique way. GATE was never intended to be ‘high achievement,’ but unfortunately was (and still is obviously) perceived to be that by uninformed parents.

        1. Don Shor

          My reference to “GATE hate” is to the denigration of the parents and students and the debasing of their motives, both of which occur quite regularly in these discussions. You haven’t done either of those things.

          1. Ryan Kelly

            I think that you have a bias against me, Don. I haven’t said anything that is much different than Mark, except that I wonder about the candidates motivation for running with her strong advocacy for AIM as it is currently configured. I hope she explains more thoroughly why she is running – hopefully it is not to protect AIM – and how she expects to manage this conflict if the program appears on the Board’s agenda.

          2. Don Shor

            You’ve called the program elitist and questioned the motives of the parents. Mark hasn’t done that. With respect to policy proposals, you are very close in your extreme views if you agree with his statement:

            AIM is a failure and should be terminated immediately.

          3. Ryan Kelly

            No, I have stated that the District should develop a true GATE program and call the current program what it has developed into – an accelerated honors program for elementary students. That’s what I think parents want – not the special education program for students who do not fit into or succeed in a common classroom educational environment. I don’t think you can refute that.

  7. David Greenwald

    Former School Board Member BJ Kline has moved back to Davis and confirmed he is putting his hat in the ring for an appointment.

    He told me, “My plan is to go for the appointment, I have no interest in a campaign.”

      1. Mr. Toad

        You can’t be serious. B.J. Kline ran and lost his re-election bid and now you think he should be appointed to the school board even though he was rejected by the voters in an election where you only had to finish in the top three to win.

          1. Mr. Toad

            David, you have written extensively about the failures that occurred on his watch. I didn’t know there was a statute of limitations on history.

          2. David Greenwald

            I’m not taking sides on him, only rejecting the notion that his electoral defeat a decade ago precludes a six month appointment.

  8. Ryan Kelly

    I would appoint BJ, who is familiar with the District and being a Trustee, and let the other candidates run to give the community time to vet and vote for them. Why give one “incumbent” status going into the election?

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