An Open Letter to the Anti-GATE Majority on the DJUSD School Board

AIM-July2015-2By Jeff Dale

To the anti-GATE majority on the Davis school board:

After engaging in this “debate” since it was thrust upon me on June 4, I have learned a few things.

I’ve learned that you have heard the diverse and voluminous research showing that the best practice, on both pedagogy and cost, for educating intellectually gifted kids is full-time ability grouping in self-contained classes. Against that, you have one study that, by its own admission, finds no statistically significant effects to support the conclusions you draw from it.

I’ve learned that your guiding principle — indeed, almost the entirety of your publicly released instructions — for rewriting the district’s GATE/AIM plan is to rewrite it according to “best practices.”

And I’ve learned that the currently established program of self-contained GATE/AIM classes is being effectively dismantled, eliminated for most of the kids who otherwise would’ve enrolled in it, and that you are not considering input on whether to reinstate it (the obvious subtext of your instructions to commenters at the start of the hastily called July 9 public comment meeting).

Thus, you’ve knowingly ruled out the very thing you claim to be pursuing (again, best practice on both pedagogy and cost). That’s either dishonest and irresponsible, or irrational. Either way, it’s bad governance.

I’ve also learned that best governance practices, followed in the cases of all of our other educational master plans — including the existing GATE/AIM master plan that you’ve summarily discarded — follow established procedures to ensure transparency, accountability and stakeholder participation.

And I’ve learned that you have heard that you’re bypassing those best governance practices in this case:

There was no notice to the public that self-contained classrooms, the defining feature of our GATE/AIM program, would be effectively eliminated near midnight on June 4. (Your claims to “support” the program are disingenuous, since you’re taking away the entire benefit of the program from most, except for an as-yet undefined small number.)

The new plan is to be drafted solely by the superintendent and a few of his top deputies, none of whom has particular expertise in the special needs (educational and emotional) of gifted kids, without the well established mechanisms for the participation of parents, GATE-trained teachers and other stakeholders, and the combined expertise they can provide.

It’s to be drafted during a single summer, when many stakeholders — many parents and GATE/AIM teachers, our GATE/AIM oversight committee, and the very capable and dedicated GATE/AIM coordinator of 23 years whom you’ve summarily dismissed — will not be available, as you well knew when you chose this hasty time frame and June 4 as the date to make your move.

And you’ve discarded the existing program without even the outline of a plan to replace it, let alone a fully drafted plan with its costs and requirements, leaving us vulnerable to the serious risk of having no effective GATE education for an indeterminate period of time, as well as the serious risk that the replacement program will cost dramatically more than the very inexpensive existing one.

This too is either dishonest and irresponsible, or irrational. Either way, it’s bad governance. It undermines trust, it’s divisive, and it risks community support for the district.

We cannot afford to lose community support on upcoming parcel tax elections, which have lately been very close. Moreover, the fine and diverse educational opportunities are a major part of Davis’ appeal as a community, so the performance and integrity of the board matter to all residents, not only to GATE/AIM parents.

Finally, I’ve learned that you will be cheered on by a certain segment of the Davis population whose kids are largely unaffected by this decision, but deems itself to be injured in some way by the existing program. I noted how conspicuously often they praised your “courage” at facing up to people who only want what parents of non-GATE kids have the privilege to take for granted: an appropriate education for their kids, which their once-far-sighted public school district has until now been effectively providing at a surprisingly low cost.

You are not exhibiting courage. Courage would be admitting that the pedagogical and financial evidence supports keeping the existing program, but you just don’t want to do it.

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46 Comments

  1. Mike Hart

    This issue is just depressing. GATE is meant to serve an underserved segment of the student population. Unfortunately some folks think that being GATE designated is some kind of honor, and either feel left out or go through elaborate efforts to get in.

    How about this? Let’s change the name of the program to “remedial special needs program?”

    This way the students who actually need it can get the help they need while the resume fluffing parents who want their kiddies to be “GATE designated” will flee?

      1. Mike Hart

        Not really.  They simply added an acronym. You will note that it is now GATE/AIM so parents can still associate it with the precious designation “gifted”…   Add it to the special Ed and completely eliminate any association with GATE.

      2. zaqzaq

        The previous board voted to change the name to AIM.  It is no longer GATE.  Individuals may still refer to it per the GATE name but the district made that change over a year ago.

        1. Don Shor

          Two problems with that. Nobody knows what AIM stands for, and Google searches about GATE (the name seemingly used by every other district still) won’t work as well. So it becomes something like “the artist formerly known as….”

    1. Davis Progressive

      I think you have that part right. It’s not a Remedial program but it certainly not a program for high achievers or shouldnt be.

       

      sorry folks trying to post this via my phone is challenging

  2. RCrevelli

    Oh . . . what a thankless job being on the school board.

    My kids went through the Davis school system in the 80’s and 90’s.  Davis parents were rabid about GATE (aka AIM) then as well.  I see nothing has changed.  Didn’t you know that 85% of Davis children are GIFTED?  Ugh.

  3. MrsW

    This issue is depressing.  And, it’s a decades old one.  I am not sure how someone with younger children would get a sense of history.  I tried a search in the Enterprise and it didn’t work for me.  But for those who are interested in history, the closing of Valley Oak Elementary and its two-strands, the reduction of Ms Quinn’s hours to 16 hours a week, and the fact that the Master Plan has never been implemented/funded are all critical points.  IDK, is the Master Plan an impractical document? Is that why it’s not implemented?  Also, back in 2008, just like this time, the community made Ms. Quinn’s employment more important than our children.  We could have been fighting for two strands at a site, as recommended in the largely ignored Master Plan, but we didn’t. So while we were all distracted by fear of loosing Ms. Quinn, we lost two strands in exchange for Ms. Quinn having a job for as long as she wants it.  A devil’s bargain, IMO.  Maybe an approach, where we keep our eye on the educational ball, so to speak, would be better for our children?  And then staff it–maybe even with Ms. Quinn?  What do we want?

  4. ryankelly

    This seems like just an angrier version of Poppenga’s letter.

    Davis had a reputation of having excellent schools and graduated students who went on to do great things when it only had one or two strands of GATE.

  5. Tia Will

    We cannot afford to lose community support on upcoming parcel tax elections, which have lately been very close”

    I wanted to point this out as just one example of the veiled threat that continues to be brought up. Either support the Gate/Aim program in a manner satisfactory to its supporters, or face the possibility of loss of support on upcoming parcel tax elections.

    A poster had suggested that no one was making this threat. I would have to disagree.

    1. Anon

      IMO, I don’t think you have that quite right.  I don’t think the threat is “support the GATE/AIM program in a manner satisfactory to its supporters, or face the possibility of loss of support on upcoming parcel tax elections”; but rather allow public input before making changes to AIM/GATE or face losing support for upcoming parcel taxes.

  6. Ingrid Salim

    As a 25 year science teacher, and teacher of GATE/AIM students for most of those years, I haven’t met one colleague or community member who denies that there is such a thing as a ‘gifted’ child or person, or that special programs for those children are necessary. At issue, for most of us, is whether the idea that testing and labeling 30% of our students as that, and offering self-contained classrooms at elementary, and for 3 courses a day through 7th and 8th grade, truly corresponds to the notion of ‘gifted’, against a national or international standard.  I’m convinced it does not, and that we unfairly labeling and isolating a large number of students, creating a program that is perceived as elitist, and segregating students from each other. If the merits of calling one third of our population ‘gifted’ is what we are debating, then let’s have that debate.  Or, if parents are saying they want there to be an Honors Track, starting in 4th grade, for their high-achieving children to engage in accelerated, enriched and deeper curriculum, then let’s have THAT debate.

    The motion that directed staff to eliminate private testing, come up with a more consistent testing regime for GATE and develop a plan to ensure that differentiation is happening across the district (and no, hardly a Brown issue, since differentiation is a widely accepted pedagogical approach and should already be in place in classrooms now) will likely reduce the numbers of students identified.  I’m waiting to hear a cogent argument (with evidence!) for how our population is statistically likely to have a 30% Gifted and Talented birth rate, when the norm, stated by a number of organizations, is somewhere between 3 and 7%.

    Finally, I have taught truly Gifted children.  They DO need something different, and do not thrive in a 32:1 student/teacher ratio, regardless of how differentiated.  They tend to have a passion and developed expertise in one area, and lack competencies in most other subjects. They also tend to be diagnosed for a variety of other issues, such as Asperger Syndrome, Bipolar Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder, which often bring a set of social issues with them as well, creating anxiety for the student in a large classroom.  These students would thrive in an environment that provided them with lots of time to pursue their passion, tied all other disciplines to that passion and provided ways and means for them to be creative.  Such an environment/teacher could only serve a handle of students (my guess is between 10 and 15) and would need space.  For those students who need it, I absolutely advocate for such a program.

    For everyone else (and I mean everyone) a differentiated approach means providing voice and choice in how students get content, grapple with big ideas and synthesis and apply those ideas. In such a classroom, you rarely see every student doing the same thing, filling out worksheets, taking notes on the same lecture.  These methods are happening all over the district already, and are the backbone of Da Vinci Charter Academy.  To be further developing these methods and collaborating on ways to engage our students is the stuff of Common Core and the Next Generation Science Standards.  With the aid of technology, there is no reason why every single student, save a very few, can’t be challenged and engaged in a ‘regular’ classroom.

    1. Don Shor

      I’m waiting to hear a cogent argument (with evidence!) for how our population is statistically likely to have a 30% Gifted and Talented birth rate, when the norm, stated by a number of organizations, is somewhere between 3 and 7%.

      GATE-identification by district

      Irvine: “As a district, our GATE-identification criteria is one of the most stringent in the state, and yet we annually identify approximately 25 percent of our students as gifted.”

      Goleta: 30%, much higher than nearby districts.

      Here are the GATE-identified percentages for the two elementary schools closest to UC San Diego. In SDUSD they use “seminar” for those who test at 99% and “cluster” for those who test at 98%, apparently using the RAVEN test.

      La Jolla Elementary School: 51.1% gifted-identified, 12.8% in seminar.

      Curie School (University City): 54.1% gifted-identified, 5.9% in seminar.

      So, no, Davis schools are not unique in having a high percentage of gifted-identified students.
      It seems that having a university near your schools significantly increases the number and percentage of students who test as gifted-identified.

      1. Mark West

        It seems that having a university near your schools significantly increases the number and percentage of students who test as gifted-identified.

         

        Or perhaps it just significantly increases the number of parents whose egos demand that their child be identified as gifted.

        1. zaqzaq

          Mark,

          Are you saying that the parents can influence the outcome of the test by wanting their children to be identified as gifted?  The parents are not taking the tests for them.   It is the students that are taking the tests and achieving these scores.

          You are rather dismissive of the concept that the university attracts smart people who breed and produce smart offspring.  Is intelligence of the child impacted by the genes of the intelligent parents.  Are these children more likely to score well on IQ tests because they are smarter.  Davis is an expensive place to live.  Do smart people get advanced degrees and earn more money than the less intelligent in society.  These are all factors that could explain the higher percentage of AIM identified students.

        2. hpierce

          Well, Zaq, parents CAN influence the testing via re-testing, particularly privately (who is the “client” for those tests, and do you want to ‘serve’ your client?), enrolling their kids in special private “test prep” programs, and/or knowing other ways of ‘gaming the system’.  My parents were a bit reluctant to having me tested ~ 50 years ago, but the teacher convinced them that I should be tested.  She recognized that I was ‘top of my class’ (literally, academically) but did not seem to be ‘thriving’.

          Testing was on an ‘exception basis’, not routine.

          The Board action to reduce the opportunities for parents to keep “asking”, until they get the answers they want, is ‘spot on’.  My parents never mentioned to anyone (except family members who wondered why I wasn’t going to the “normal schools”), that I was in the G&T program.

          I’ve never ‘bragged’ about our child who went thru GATE, nor the one who was GATE identified (except for things unrelated to GATE,… hey I’m normal).  We should ‘shoot down’ the “helicopter parents” and ‘cage'(or at least, leash) the “tiger” ones, IMO.

          At the end of the day, is the school system striving to meet the needs of all kids’ needs?  GATE/AIM is VERY important, but as currently structured/executed, it should be critically examined, and in my opinion, ‘reformed’.

        3. Mark West

          Are you saying that the parents can influence the outcome of the test by wanting their children to be identified as gifted?

          hpierce already answered about the impact of private testing (and retesting), but more significantly, parents can and did push the District to expand the criteria for selection to the point that their little Johnny was qualified.  The pressure was not due to a higher incidence of kids needing the special program, but of parents wanting their children to be included because they mistakenly believed that it was a high achievement program.  That is what has happened here in town, and probably in those other Cities that Don keeps referring too.

          You are rather dismissive of the concept that the university attracts smart people who breed and produce smart offspring.

          The normal distribution of kids in need of these special services is on the order of 2-5% of the population, which is about the percentage of kids who were served by the GATE program before it was expanded beyond Valley Oak. In Davis we have identified 10x as many as the normal distribution.  Even if you assume that every child of every person in town with a Ph.D. required these services, I doubt they would account for 30% of the elementary school population. I believe that smart people who breed will often produce smart, successful offspring, but that is very different than producing offspring who need these special services.

          The program has been expanded due to parental ego and misunderstanding of the program’s purpose, not the needs of the children, but what do you expect from a town where all the children are above average?

          1. Don Shor

            I think there’s a high likelihood that the kids of academics test well. We were part of a growing cohort of students entering the La Jolla school district as UCSD was built. My dad told me we were called KOPs — kids of professors, and they didn’t really know what to do with us. Split 2nd/3rd and 3rd/4th classes, separating us off into one new elementary school, then establishing the first of what they now call the seminar classes. We were the driving factor in the development of the gifted programs there. And even then there were parents pushing for their kids to be put into these ‘special’ classes. We were high-testing kids who didn’t get grades that reflected our potential, and we tended to be disruptive.
            The problem is, even if the current testing regimen isn’t selecting out the smaller percentage of kids who gifted classes were really designed for, there doesn’t seem to be any other test or combination of tests that is going to do that either.

        4. zaqzaq

          hpierce/Mark,

          I have not heard of the availability of pre-test courses in Davis or the greater Sacramento area.  The existence of these courses is disturbing.  The student only gets one retest.  There is not third or fourth test.  The problem with banning retesting is the percentage of the ethnic makeup being identified is different on the retest than the original test.  It appears as though a greater percentage of black and hispanc students are identified on the retest.  Would banning a retest subject the school district to a discrimination charge and subsequent lawsuit?  Just look at the lottery mess.  The private retesting while a cost savings for the school district also creates an incentive for the tester to get the results the parents want.  Wit the end of private testing the school district will have to pick up the cost of the second test.  If they attempt to limit the second test based on certain classes of individuals they open themselves up for a discrimination lawsuit.  During the lottery discussion the district’s lawyer referred to the then existing process as one that could possibly result in discrimination against a protected class of individuals.  Selected or limited retesting could also have the same result and thus should be avoided.  The best practice would have the school district administering the retest on all children whose parents request it.  The problem with this approach is the cost.  Where does the money come from?  Should parents be required to foot the bill for their child?  Again I see a lawsuit if the district limits retesting.

        5. Mark West

          Don Shor:  “The problem is, even if the current testing regimen isn’t selecting out the smaller percentage of kids who gifted classes were really designed for, there doesn’t seem to be any other test or combination of tests that is going to do that either.”

          That simply is not true.  There is a well established way of identifying these kids and the District knows that (or should) because it was the procedure that was used here many years ago.  The kids that need these special services are readily identified by their classroom teacher very early on, with confirmation by a one on one exam performed by a trained professional. We moved away from this method due to the obvious expense, and because parents who wanted their son or daughter in the program insisted that the classroom teacher was either too stupid to see how gifted their Johnny was, or obviously biased against him. The mass screening that we do now is ineffective at identifying who really needs the services, but it has the beauty of being relatively inexpensive (on a per child basis) and gives at least the perception of fairness (except of course when it doesn’t).

          1. Don Shor

            That simply is not true. There is a well established way of identifying these kids and the District knows that (or should) because it was the procedure that was used here many years ago. The kids that need these special services are readily identified by their classroom teacher very early on, with confirmation by a one on one exam performed by a trained professional.

            You’re right. If that method was part of the district’s move to a combination of differentiated instruction with smaller self-contained GATE classes, it would improve the whole thing. I’m willing to bet it isn’t even being considered, but it’s certainly worth reiterating as this process unfolds.

    2. Anon

      IS: “Finally, I have taught truly Gifted children.”

      I used to teach 8th grade students.  All my children were “gifted” in one way or another.  Just sayin’.

      I can remember having a student in our designated “slowest” class who was one of the most disciplined students I have ever met.  She did every speck of work asked of her, to the “t”, and did it to perfection.  But for some reason, she told me she was hesitant to try anything new because she was afraid she might not be able to do it perfectly.  She was a wonder at sewing, believe it or not – outshone every classmate.  And had personality plus – every student liked her.  I could honestly tell you something about each child that I taught that made them “gifted” in some way or another.

      1. iWitness

        Anon, not to criticize your thoughtful comments, perfectionism is a very common trait of some gifted students and they have to unlearn it a little to free their minds.  What did you do when she confided in you that she was afraid of trying new things she might not be able to do perfectly?  Did she leave questions on her tests blank rather than fill in a guess?  Some kids my children knew were punished by their parents if they didn’t have perfect work, and not necessarily GATE kids.  My kid is a wonder at sewing, too, and a friend’s kid worked his way through college repairing and hemming his friends’ clothes after taking Clothing 1 and 2 at DHS.

        The best piece on “all my children were ‘gifted” in one way or another’ was written in the New Yorker years ago by a well-known writer whose wonderful child, he revealed in the last sentence, has Downs Syndrome.  And yes, despite his politics (!) I agree with him that his son really is wonderful.  Of that I have no doubt.  That it’s not always the same thing as being highly gifted, as defined in education schools everywhere, except here, I am afraid, and by the government, should give all of us a moment’s thought.  I wish we could put this truism to rest.  It has nothing to do with our discussions of gifted education.

        And let the GATE, the AIM, the Special Abilities, the “remedial special needs program” kids or whatever you want to call them have a class in which they can be themselves!  Call it the RSN program and see whether parents won’t be happy with their kids in it.  They will happily carpool across town for it.   They will happily be classroom and general school site volunteers.  But the district will look stupid big time for not having a gifted program.

         

  7. Tia Will

    Anon

    All my children were “gifted” in one way or another. “

    And the failure to see each other through  this perspective is one of the great tragedies that I see in our society which chooses to reward a very few skill sets, those of the absolute top of their academic or entrepreneurial groups, top entertainers, musicians or athletes with phenomenal amounts of money, fame and unfortunately pressure while providing comfortable livings for the next tier ( such as doctors, lawyers, mid level academics, nurses…etc) and leaving those whose skills do not lie in economically competitive field to struggle to support themselves and their families.

    How much more might we achieve as a society if we were to value the contributions of all, provide sufficient compensation for a comfortable living for all who choose to contribute, and allow those whose drive and talents push them forward to earn over and above a secure baseline ?

    1. Anon

      I would argue society does not pay according to value of service rendered.  A person who works for the gov’t and invents something that cures a disease makes a pittance compared to a rock star that makes millions or CEOs of companies that make billions.  In short, life is very unfair, but then no one promised us life would be “fair”.  I don’t have any answers on how to make sure value of service is properly rewarded, but I certainly would not ascribe to socialism or a nondemocratic form of gov’t.  Personally, I wouldn’t give a dime to rock stars for the junk they produce, but then I am an old fuddy-duddy!

      1. Tia Will

        Anon

         life is very unfair, but then no one promised us life would be “fair”.”

        I think that one of our jobs as human beings is to assess how we can make life more “fair” and more humane rather than simply throwing up our hands in despair and saying that is the way life is.  You obviously believe in this too as I have noted below. We have great wealth and resources that we have the ability to share, but choose not to. We could share within a democratic framework. Sharing does not have to be labeled “socialism” to exist. We endlessly hear parents telling their children to share, so we must value this trait on some level. Somewhere along the way, we have allowed our fear that someone will get something that they don’t deserve, by our standard, and that somehow this will lessen us, to overcome that lesson that we virtually all instill in our children but so rarely practice as adults.

        I would like to note your donation of great amounts of time as an exception. You are willing to do this because you believe it is the right thing to do and presumably obtain satisfaction from doing so. And if everyone were to follow your example, and donate time and energy in the way that you and a number of other folks in our community do, then we would not be facing nearly the problems that we now have. Unfortunately, not everyone does this. Many simply shrug their shoulders saying “life is not fair” and go their way without a second thought about how they might best help those in need.

  8. hpierce

    Am seeing a disturbing trend in this converstation, and it revolves around the difference between “nature and nurture”.

    Kids born to “academics” are not necessarily “gifted” (except perhaps economically, or exposure to the academic environment).

    Kids born to fry cooks or ironworkers may be “gifted” (except, perhaps to the love and nurture they get from their family).

    I’ve seen comments that imply “eugenics”. Or,  by implication, ‘a master race’ [and, no, not talking about ethnicity].

    This all should be about how we nurture/develop/educate children based on the child’s needs.  We’re NOT there.  We may never be.  But we should strive.  I believe we can do better than the staus quo in DJUSD, and should.

    At the end of the day, I believe we should be developing kids to succeed [no, not necessarily financially, but that’s OK] the best they possibly can, and imbue them with the pride they should have in themselves, and the humility to treat every other human with respect [miscreants excepted], and honor.

    But that’s just me.

    1. Doby Fleeman

      hpierce,

      No.  That’s not just you talking. You have more company than you know.

      The real question for the district is: “Are we delivering on that promise?

    2. Don Shor

      Kids born to “academics” are not necessarily “gifted”

      No. They probably just test better.

      I’ve seen comments that imply “eugenics”.

      That is quite a slur.

      I believe we can do better than the staus quo in DJUSD, and should.

      Nothing I have seen the board majority doing so far is going to be better for GATE students, for other students, or for the district as a whole.

        1. Don Shor

          Are you under the impression that dismantling the GATE program in DJUSD will improve the Davis schools, Doby? Please let me know exactly what you have in mind.

        2. Doby Fleeman

          Don,

          Not really clear on your conclusions from my comments.

          I don’t have a particular agenda in mind.  From the list I attached, I am suggesting there are many schools in California that appear to be doing at least as a good as job as DJUSD, and in many cases much better – serving both the needs of their high-performing learners as well as their subpopulations of students with disabilities, English learners and the socioeconomically disadvantaged.

          Maybe all these higher performing districts succeed because they all have GATE.  Point being, is there nothing we can learn from these other high-performing districts?  Would you not have the district and school board even be allowed to discuss what happens in other districts?

          1. Don Shor

            Certainly. Put all the programs on the table. Montessori, immersion, all the sports programs, AP, special ed, everything. Subject them all to an equally rigorous review, with lots of public hearings and input from across the community. Make a balance sheet that shows the costs and benefits of each. Assess how changes would affect district costs, get expert advice as to the consequences of changing them. Get public buy-in, and be fully transparent about the whole thing.
            In other words: treat everything equally, and do pretty much the opposite of what the board is doing right now.
            When you signed the PAGE petition, was that what you had in mind?

      1. hpierce

        There were comments posted that implied that (“eugenics”/’master race’), Don (IMO)… yours were not one of them.  Also on other threads…

        I did not “slur” any individual… I have just seen a continuing trend to “classify” folk beyond what is justified.  They are the ones who say/imply “slurs”, not I.  Look up the definition of the word, and I believe you’ll see what I mean.

        And, if you truly thought my intent was a ‘slur’, whay didn’t you/moderator edit me?  Had I done that/intended that, I should be edited.  There are many in Davis (and the world) who think ‘their fecal matter is not odorous] (trying to be politically correct).

        I thought your point that ‘academically raised’ kids do better in testing is valid.  Duh.  Yet, those from ‘blue collar’ families can be “gifted”, and those who “test well” may not be.  There is another expression about the fine line between ‘genius and madness’.  A lot of truly gifted folk, who need ‘special programs’, end up being diagnosed as ‘bi-polar’, suffer from depression, etc.  The GATE/AIM program should be ‘looking out’ for those kids, too.

    3. Tia Will

      hpierce

      I believe we should be developing kids to succeed [no, not necessarily financially, but that’s OK] the best they possibly can, and imbue them with the pride they should have in themselves, and the humility to treat every other human with respect [miscreants excepted], and honor.”

      Well spoken. The only exception I would make  is that I would not exclude miscreants from the list of those who we should treat with respect. Treating others with respect does not mean that we honor their actions. It means that we recognize their status as human beings which is about our own honor and value, not the merit of their actions. Those who are dangerous should be isolated form those they may harm. They should not be treated in inhumane ways as “punishment” since this debases us and our society.  If you doubt this, I would reference the 1971 Stanford prison experiment which can be Googled.

  9. iWitness

    Several comments have come in higher up that have no reply to hit, so I have to refer back.  Thanks, zaqzaq, for telling the truth about the testing process.  I wish it would stop the rumors and misstatements about how many times a kid can be tested.  It’s not over and over and  over until the “desired” ethnic mix comes out.  Would kids and parents consent to that kind of abuse?  A principled test giver would never want to include a child in a class in which s/he would not do well!  I’ve said before, an experienced test giver would recognize if the problem the student had in the group test was still a stumbling block in the NON-private, small group TONI and conceivably might put a child who is having trouble concentrating into another test group.  ADHD is a matter of chemicals, not ability.

    Mark West, yes, sometimes teachers can predict which children should be tested from their classroom acquaintance with them, but some teachers can’t.  And the whites and Asians pass the teacher referral criterion more easily than do other minority groups.  I’d never say that was intentional.  I just don’t think that anyone would say that we in this society, even in this city, are THERE YET.

    One of mine was privately tested by a school psychologist at the teacher’s request and when tested with the others three years later, tested 20 points higher.  Whom did I believe?   Those tests are normed against age, so that a score that much higher doesn’t usually happen.  The testor quit when the kid was “tired” and later indications, scores on SAT’s and PSAT, APs, RIC, and college and graduate admissions, scholarships and fellowships showed. Another way to get at this:  If you test at 650 on the SAT (old V or M) as a twelve-year-old, and some do, without these mythical prep courses, you’re going to be off the charts when you are 17.  The scores go up but the astonishment factor doesn’t because at 12, 650 is the equivalent at that age of the 800 at the later age.   If you don’t understand what I say here, please someone else fill it in.   These are the ABC’s of gifted education tests.

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