Analysis: Where the Enterprise Editorial Gets It Wrong on AIM

Alan Fernandes listens to public comment at the September meeting
Alan Fernandes listens to public comment at the September meeting

From the start, most of the changes to the AIM program which focus on tweaks to the assessment criteria, most people can live with. The key question is that of the size of the program and the admitted lack of educational or research-based justification for raising the qualification criteria from the 96th percentile to the 98th percentile.

Many believe that the change is based less on the needs of either AIM-qualified students or those who are not AIM-qualified and more on the desire to reduce the size of the program.

The Davis Enterprise has come out today with an editorial backing the plan. They write, “We support a plan for all students.”

The Enterprise provocatively writes, “But wait. Aren’t all Davis students gifted and talented? Yes, indeed they are. And therein lies the rub of a program that has rubbed many the wrong way for decades.”

Leaving aside the fundamental disconnect between the notion that “all Davis students (are) gifted and talented” from the question of how best to educate all students, we have a more fundamental problem with the column and its lack of grounding in some sort of methodological basis.

The Enterprise writes, “CHANGES IN THE WAY students are qualified for self-contained AIM classes — initially designed only for students who had significant trouble learning in a regular classroom — have caused AIM’s enrollment to mushroom.”

They add, “An estimated 30 percent of Davis students qualify for AIM enrollment, many of whom are tested and re-tested privately so they’ll make the cut.

“Not all of those who qualify actually enroll, of course; there are as many reasons why as there are families involved. But school district administrators and trustees are trying to get their arms around this program and pull it back to a manageable size, serving the core students for whom AIM was originally intended.”

What I find interesting is the lack of evidentiary support for these very bold assertions. If the justification for reducing the size of the AIM program by raising the cut off from the 96th percentile to the 98th percentile was that the program has grown to an unmanageable size, I have not heard that come directly from Winfred Roberson – who neither wrote that in his report nor in his presentation, even as he was repeatedly asked for the justification for the size and qualification change.

However, we focus more closely on two statements by the Enterprise that they make without any evidentiary support. They write that the program was  “initially designed only for students who had significant trouble learning in a regular classroom” and later, similarly, should be “serving the core students for whom AIM was originally intended.”

But where is the support for this notion? During his presentation to the board in September, Superintendent Roberson acknowledged that the program that is set up does not attempt to distinguish between high achievers and gifted students. Instead, it creates a bright line for 98th percentile achievement on the OLSAT (Otis-Lennon School Ability Test). Everyone who achieves at least the 98th percentile would make the program, and those who do not might have an alternative route in through some form of retesting – where again they would have to achieve at the 98th percentile.

“There is no easy way to distinguish between high achieving students and those who are intellectually gifted,” Winfred Roberson said. And thus they create a system that does not distinguish between the two.

That statement therefore contradicts and undermines the Enterprise contention that these changes will “pull it back to a manageable size, serving the core students for whom AIM was originally intended.”

But it is actually worse than that. I see no evidence in the history of the program to back up the assertion that AIM or GATE was originally intended to serve gifted students who do not function well in the mainstream classroom as opposed to high achievers. (And, if anything, setting the line at the 98th percentile is more likely going to produce a class of high achievers than one of intellectually gifted but struggling students).

The Vanguard, in reviewing the GATE master plans dating back to 1996-97, finds no evidence to support this contention. In fact, on the contrary, this review shows that the program was designed to identify those who were academically accelerated and performing at the top of the class, as well as others who were not performing at that level.

The 1996-97 master plan shows categories of giftedness. Intellectual ability: “students who demonstrate exception (sic) intellectual development.” Specific Academic Ability: “Students who function at highly advanced levels in particular academic areas.” And High Achievement: “Students who consistency produce advanced ideas and products and/ or score exceptionally high on achievement tests.”

The 1999 master plan discusses the use of the OLSAT as the assessment for intellectual ability with the score criteria of 95 percent total or composite score or a 97 percentile verbal or nonverbal score on a test of mental reasoning.

However, the district used a separate assessment for high achievement and specific academic ability. Here they write that for “high achievement – primary consideration is given to performance evidence of high achievement in two or more subject areas.” They write, “Achievement test data from nationally normed tests (STAR, CTBS, etc) indicating scores at the 95% on two or more total scores: total reading, total language, total math, total battery.”

In fact, they even factored in GPA at that time: “Where grades are available a 3.6 GPA for the previous two years may be used to place a student. The qualification remains so long as the GPA is maintained.”

In 2002, the qualifying scores for “intellectual ability” were 95% on verbal or 95% nonverbal with a composite score of at least 92%. For those with risk factors, those numbers fell to 92% on either a verbal or nonverbal with at least a 90% total score.

It wasn’t until 2005 that the minimum score was raised to 96% except for students with two or more risk factors, where it was reduced to the 93rd percentile.

The current AIM Masterplan keeps those three criteria: “1) intellectually gifted – students with high potential in the areas of abstract thinking and reasoning ability as applied to school learning situations; 2) high achieving -—the student who scores two or more levels above grade level in two or more academic areas and/or maintains a 3.6 grade point average in college preparatory academic classes for a period of two consecutive years; 3) high achieving inn specific academic area – the student who scores two or more levels above grade level or who maintains a 3.6 grade point average in a single academic area for a period of two or more years.”

The bottom line is, going back 20 years, there is no evidence that GATE/AIM was meant strictly for students “who had significant trouble learning in a regular classroom.” The measures we have available are not able to discern between high achievers and intellectually gifted. And if anything, we have gotten more stringent in our identification criteria over the years – not less stringent.

Is there an educationally based reason to reduce the size of the program? As we have noted, the Superintendent in researching his report found “that the qualification score ranges from 90-99 percentile in GATE programs throughout California.”

He continued, “The current DJUSD qualification score for AIM-identification is the 96 percentile. Raising or lowering the qualification score will have a direct effect on the projected number of students who qualify.”

He added, “Analysis from relevant research as well as conversations with GATE teachers, principals and community input has led the administration to select a qualification score that is meant to best serve the DJUSD student population.”

That is the extent of the public rationale provided. There is no showing that the program has grown to unmanageable size. In fact, the data from Scott Carrell and his colleagues shows that the size of the program has remained fairly constant going back at least a decade.

To stress this point – there has been no stated educational reason to reduce the size of the program. However, the Enterprise concludes its editorial: “We’re already helping each child excel. And now, with these recommended changes that will begin the downsizing of the AIM self-contained classes, and with the teacher support offered through the envisioned professional development, we’ll be able to take even bigger strides forward.”

—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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60 Comments

  1. ryankelly

    The Vanguard has become the anti-change venue.  There are other voices being heard on other venues, such as the DJUSD Parent Group site.  I’d say that people here are not listening and don’t realize that the support for change is broad and deep.

      1. ryankelly

        Believe what you will.   Doesn’t change the fact that the Vanguard is the anti-change information site.   It shouts down alternate views.  It doesn’t search for alternate views.  It promotes discontent and angst.

        1. Don Shor

          I have repeatedly provided alternative courses of action for GATE, as have others. You and I have even agreed on some of those. Your statement is, again, unfounded.

          Interesting note: I don’t think David Greenwald has actually expressed an opinion on GATE.

        2. Davis Progressive

          the vanguard shouts down alternative views?  the vanguard itself or the commenters?

          this article questioned the foundation of the enterprise editorial – you have not addressed the actual content of this article – why is that?

          didn’t the vanguard seek out the researchers?  didn’t the vanguard print the views of the school board members verbatim and without editorial?

          has the vanguard ever-turned down an anti-gate op-ed?

        3. Matt Williams

          ryan said … “the Vanguard is the anti-change information site. It shouts down alternate views.”

          ryan, what alternative views have been shouted down? The only person who gets consistently shouted down on the Vanguard is Mike Harrington, and there is no one in Davis who is more anti-change than Mike is. That seems to be the exact opposite of your assertion. Frankly and Mark West are clearly strong advocates for change, and they each frequently challenge Tia when her arguments fall into the anti-change category. CalAg is frequently an anti-change voice, and Don Shor and I provide her with statistical evidence that challenges her political calculations.

          Thoughts?

        4. Mark West

           

          ryankelly: “Doesn’t change the fact that the Vanguard is the anti-change information site.”

          Matt:  “Frankly and Mark West are clearly strong advocates for change…”

          Matt – I am not part of the Vanguard and in no way am I responsible for the positions taken by the Vanguard Editorial Board, especially as I frequently take positions in direct opposition to what David writes.   You are in error to use me as an example of whether the Vanguard is or is not a ‘anti-change information site’ as ryankelly stated.  I believe his comment refers to the site, and the positions set forth by the Editor, not the opinions stated by unaffiliated commenters on the site.

        5. Matt Williams

          Mark, I apologize to you if I misread Ryan’s comment.  My reading of that comment was that it was directed at the site as a whole, which includes all the comments, especially since any “shouting down” that Ryan was referencing comes not in the articles but in the comments.  If that is not what he meant then please accept my apology.  I see the Vanguard holistically and inclusively.

  2. MrsW

    Another place where parental perceptions about the program are formed, is the annual Parent Information nights.  Based on this piece, apparently I miss-remember the scores required to enter the program before Universal 3rd Grade Testing in 2004-2005.  My child was in that first class of those universally tested and until today, I have believed that Universal Testing was implemented in concert with lowering the admission scores to 95%.  Also as I remember that meeting and a second meeting for my younger child a few years later, I heard the stories of children who found a home in GATE–how it changed their academic prospects, reduced their underachievement, and phenomenally improved their school experience.  I wanted that for my child.

    Another thing I remember the about the informational meetings is that the research cited was national research and the inspiring stories were anecdotal and local.  This is also how I remember information presented in the 3-4 years of GATE/AIM  meetings I attended.  I realize that not once, have I ever seen any DJUSD-specific data that validates any of the assertions of anybody about the DJUSD AIM/GATE program, be the assertion pro-, con-, up, down, left, right, or neutral.

    With respect to the Master Plan, how I remember the Master Plan is that it was never funded and hence never implemented as planned.  So I don’t know what to think about it being highly regarded by respectable people who are outside the district.  DJUSD did not follow the plan, as it was written.  There is a difference between 1) a plan and 2) a program, as implemented.  If the program were audited by the people who gave accolades to the plan, would they feel the same way about the program?

    1. ryankelly

      What parents don’t hear is the failures, instances of inappropriate placement, successful alternatives before they start their process to get   There is a waitlist for AIM, so there is no need to examine what is not working or why.  If a child is pulled out, there is another one waiting to take their place.  The blame for failure to thrive in the program, despite testing and people in authority that deem the placement is appropriate and the best chance for the student to fulfill their potential, is placed squarely on the shoulders of the child and the family, which can have long-lasting consequences for that child.   This doesn’t even account for the students who were unable to win a seat in the program and remain in the non-special regular classrooms for the rest of their elementary and Jr. High school careers.

        1. hpierce

          However, if for some reason ‘not everyone can be seated’ (and even then I have some reservations on the “qualification” metric), I FERVENTLY hope that there is a ‘second screen’ which would give higher priority to those who are not ‘thriving’ in the regular classroom.  They are as much “at risk” as those who are ESL, have dyslexic traits, etc.

        2. Davis Progressive

          there  is no reason everyone can’t be seated.  why?  it doesn’t cost anymore to have additional aim classes.  the real problem is people are so bent out of shape over “gifted” that they have a problem with a huge amount of students in the aim problem.  if half the students benefit from aim, why not put them in the aim program?  why do we have to ration effective programs?

        3. Napoleon Pig IV

          I agree Don. The lottery is stupid.

          Everyone who qualifies should have a seat, and the qualification process should not be manipulated to make it harder to qualify, especially for non-native English speakers, the economically disadvantaged, and those with combination learning challenges.

          The Enterprise editorial writer does not care about the overall quality of public education in Davis or is so uninformed as to be a serious public threat to that quality.

  3. Anon

    To stress this point – there has been no stated educational reason to reduce the size of the program.”

    This is the crux of the issue.  If the DJUSD had some reasonable educational justification for downsizing AIM, I would have no problem with it.  But thus far, I haven’t heard a single justifiable educational reason.

     

    “However, the Enterprise concludes its editorial: “We’re already helping each child excel. And now, with these recommended changes that will begin the downsizing of the AIM self-contained classes, and with the teacher support offered through the envisioned professional development, we’ll be able to take even bigger strides forward.””

    This sounds as if the Davis Enterprise is advocating for essentially the end of the AIM program…

    1. hpierce

      Actually, I don’t care if every student “excels”… I DO want a situation where every child is challenged to do their best, and where every child feels that “they matter”, in the eyes of their parents, their school, their community, and most importantly, in their OWN eyes.  A striving student, doing their best, with good self esteem, who gets a low C average, will still probably have successful outcomes in their lives.  Which, in my opinion (see, Tia, not using the initials) is the whole point of what we are trying to accomplish.

      This “excel” fixation is BS.

  4. iWitness

    Don Shor writes,  There should be no lottery or waiting list. Seats should be available for everyone who qualifies.   I agree with him entirely.  Going through the lottery and ending up in another classroom where their needs are not met, while on a waiting list, are the most abusive ways we can decide which qualified children get into a program that does meet their needs.

    It’s almost unimaginable in Davis.  I barely recognize the District compared to its former excellence in many ways, and this is really the most egregious, and it’s recent in terms of the administration and board support for AIM.  The size of the program is not set in stone.  It definitely could be larger, even with a split grade strand or two in the otherwise unserved neighborhood schools.

    Our children, by law, have to sit in those little desks every day by law and their presence is what triggers the State funding of this District.  They are, in a sense, working to increase the revenue for the District.  All children sitting in a classroom should be learning while there, not just waiting for others to catch up, and certainly not becoming little teachers themselves.   Their parents are paying local taxes and income taxes and if they don’t approve how their gifted and talented children are treated, they should have the same access to an appropriate program as other students in other programs.  I realize that several of these alternate programs have limits to their enrollment but those programs are not based on test scores.  Only students who need to be in AIM are subject to a process that is hostile to their right to learn in school!   

     

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      Very insightful comments, iWitness.

      Do hear the sound of a charter school calling just over the horizon? Do I hear the sounds of a parcel tax dying in agony just past the next bend in the road?

  5. ryankelly

    There is so much anger that emanates from the articles on GATE on this site.  Look at iWitness’ post.  The sky is crashing down onto the heads of our kids.  Whole generations of students have graduated from Davis schools and have gone on to lead successful lives without attending a self-contained GATE class.  It is only in the last decade or less that the identification process was corrupted to the point that students were inappropriately identified as GATE and the program mushroomed out of control.  The District finally takes action and parents of GATE students (many of whom don’t really qualify as gifted) and former teachers who contributed to the present situation are fighting tooth and nail to stop the changes.  Some are willing to take out their anger on students who have nothing to do with GATE as revenge by cutting funding for music, art, counseling, etc.  People are trying to micromanage classroom instruction now.   Students who need to be in a segregated, self-contained class will be identified and placed the the program.  Students who don’t will remain in their neighborhood program at their good school.

      1. ryankelly

        Actually, no.  I have misgivings about voting for the parcel tax, because we were told that this was an emergency tax to get us through the economic downturn.  Do we need to pay so much to maintain programming? But the discussions around the parcel tax should not be about a effecting revenge.

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      ryankelly

      Have you paid attention to the way the District and board majority ignore objective factual input and also misrepresent both the situation and their intentions? It’s disgusting that our schools are under the thumbs of such cretins.

      As for “cutting funding for music, art, counseling, etc.” that is not the objective. The objective is to cut funding that is being wasted by people who can’t be trusted.

      1. Tia Will

        Napoleon

        As for “cutting funding for music, art, counseling, etc.” that is not the objective. The objective is to cut funding that is being wasted by people who can’t be trusted.”

        That is fine as far as intent goes, but if the unintended consequences are the cutting of other valuable programs, and if this was foreseeable in advance, then what is the difference ?

        1. Napoleon Pig IV

          I’m not so sure it’s foreseeable in advance. If the parcel tax fails, there will be a budget problem. Beyond that, I don’t think we know what programs will suffer or how much. But, based on recent behavior, I am confident the district will mislead us and attempt to use emotion rather than facts to garner support for whatever they want to do.

    2. DavisAnon

      Ryan, in the last decade or so? The only major changes I can recall in that period are the lottery and expanding our efforts across the district to identify underrepresented minorities and other potentially disadvantaged but gifted students slong with raising the OLSAT qualifying score.

      I can’t imagine anyone thinks the lottery was a good idea but that forced upon the program by the administration. The overall numbers of children being identified has not increased in the last decade, but the ratio of Caucasian & Asian to less represented minorities has shifted. I sincerely hope your complaint is not that we are allowing more minorities in the program at the ‘expense’ of fewer Caucasians?! As for kids ‘failing’ in the program as they’ve been inappropriately identified, I have asked about and looked at the numbers of those students and they are exceedingly low with no appreciable increase under the more recent screening algorithm.

      I would be far more concerned about that going forward, as we no longer have an GATE-certified, very experienced  AIM Coordinator, and I don’t have any faith that the district knows what they’re doing anymore based on recent meetings I’ve attended. Those ‘in charge’  can’t seem to answer the most basic questions and problems that would have been quickly and effectively addressed are going unsolved.

        1. Napoleon Pig IV

          Yeah, a lawsuit the merits of which were never tested, about which the school district never solicited input on from the affected public, and about which the attorney hired by the district provided no useful guidance at all during a school board meeting in which she stated she knew nothing about education law. The district settled because the lawsuit was an excuse to do what they already wanted to do.

          The lottery was and is a lame and harmful abdication of responsibility by people we are not well served by.

        2. wdf1

          NPIV:  The lottery was and is a lame and harmful abdication of responsibility by people we are not well served by.

          And did you voice this view with the school board at the time?

        3. Napoleon Pig IV

          Of course. Their evasive response communicated their happiness with implementing the lottery and their overall disdain for truthfulness and quality education.

        4. Napoleon Pig IV

          First, I don’t know how much they spent on legal “services” for the rubber stamp job performed by that Sacramento law firm.

          But, yes, I would be okay spending at least as much to defend a very good program as they spent on the Peterson affair.

        5. wdf1

          I would expect quite a bit more money, especially if you would want to see it go to trial.

          Plus some other Napoleon Pig V waiting in the wings to rail at that waste of money, especially if the outcome not go well for the district, and threaten to oppose the next school parcel tax over irresponsible expenditures.

          1. Don Shor

            From Steve Kelleher’s comment on that Enterprise story:

            “we don’t seem to have any other options that pass legal muster.” Once again I would ask why this district is the only one in the state that uses a lottery system for this process. Did the Board or administration even research other types of admission policies? There doesn’t seem to be the same legal concerns from the 1,000 other districts in the state.

        6. wdf1

          Steve Kelleher:  …why this district is the only one in the state that uses a lottery system for this process.

          Some instances in which a lottery is used to determine GATE participation in other schools in California.

          Phoebe Hearst Elementary, Sac Unified:

          Phoebe Hearst is one of five GATE Centers in Sacramento City Unified School District. The GATE program begins in 2nd Grade. Students across the district are tested in the first grade for eligibility through multiple measures including the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test (NNAT), District Benchmark score data, and teacher and parent survey information. Once students are identified, their families may choose to enter the lottery for a seat in our 2nd grade cohort.

          Rocklin Elementary, Rocklin Unified:

          GATE-identified students are given the opportunity to attend self-contained GATE classrooms at Rocklin Elementary School in grades 2 – 6. There are currently five self contained classes, made up entirely of GATE-identified students. Acceptance is on a space-available basis and may be determined by a lottery.

          Tustin Memorial Academy, Tustin Unified:

          TMA will be accepting new students for the 2014-15 school year via the lottery to be held on March 10, 2014.

          The lottery for all grades, Fundamental and GATE/APL, will be held in the TMA multi-purpose room at 3:00 p.m. on March 10, 2014.

        7. VoiceOfReasonInDavis

          But putting in the lottery was based on “dubious legal advice”–according to Prof. Larsen at UCDavis law:

          this advice is almost certainly wrong. I approach this issue not as a GATE parent (I have no children in the Davis school system), but as a professor at the UC Davis School of Law, where I teach and write about, among other things, equal access to public education.
          It is inconceivable to me why any school system would exclude its most precocious students from its most challenging curriculum. It is not just educational malpractice; it is, quite simply, cruel.
           

          http://www.davisenterprise.com/forum/opinion-columns/dubious-legal-advice-drove-gate-lottery-decision/

        8. wdf1

          VOR: But putting in the lottery was based on “dubious legal advice”–according to Prof. Larsen at UCDavis law

          Have you seen the documentary Waiting for Superman?  One of the running plots of the documentary is that not everyone makes it through the lottery to go to the charter school that they wanted to.  If I remember correctly, one of those schools was in the Silicon Valley, another in East LA.  I have no love for a lottery system, but it is a common enough device in determining school/program admission that DJUSD deciding to go with it was not that unusual as has been portrayed, as in Steve Kelleher’s comment above (quoted by Don Shor) for instance.

          In my view, the admissions process to more highly sought after colleges often has the appearance of being a lottery.

      1. MrsW

        As for kids ‘failing’ in the program as they’ve been inappropriately identified, I have asked about and looked at the numbers of those students and they are exceedingly low with no appreciable increase under the more recent screening algorithm.

        If you get a chance, please share these data.

      2. MrsW

        The only major changes I can recall in [the last 10 years] are the lottery and expanding our efforts across the district to identify underrepresented minorities and other potentially disadvantaged but gifted students slong with raising the OLSAT qualifying score

        Just off the top of my head, major changes I have seen in the last 7 years are 1) closure of Valley Oak Elementary and the original two-strand program; 2) relocation of the two strands to two different schools; 3) a commensurate increase in the number of people who needed coordinating by the GATE coordinator; 4) elimination of a full time GATE-psychologist to a part-time psychologist, preserving the GATE testing task only; 5) elimination of a part-time psychologist position entirely, transferring the GATE testing task to the full time Coordinator, who already had a full plate; 6) reduction of the full-time coordinator position (that now had the psychologist’s testing responsibilities) to 16 hours a week; and 7) as retirements occurred, replacement of retired GATE teachers by teachers who do not have GATE certification.

  6. ryankelly

    nPigIV –

    It’s disgusting that our schools are under the thumbs of such cretins.

    Just to be clear – you’re saying that our elected Board members and the School Superintendent and his staff are this:  “Definition of cretin: a stupid, vulgar, or insensitive person. ”

    It may not be your objective, but cutting funding for music, art, counseling, etc., might be the result.

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      ryankelly,

      I can’t rule out “vulgar” because the definition also includes “lacking sophistication or good taste; unrefined.”

      As for “insensitive,” that one is clearly applicable in that they are definitely not “sensitive” to the needs of ALL Davis school children; therefore, they are “insensitive.”

      As for “stupid,” well that’s a rather subjectively defined adjective that might be used on a comparative basis in this case, but that also means “lacking common sense” and “ignorant, foolish, and obtuse.” So, yes. It applies.

      Also, please note that I did not refer to the entire board as cretins.

      Regarding your observation on my objective, you are confusing cause with effect. If the voters say “no” to the parcel tax, it will be effect caused by the administration and board majority.

  7. Don Shor

    Davis Enterprise:

    …and the hiring of a full-time “differentiation specialist” to provide such coaching to all teachers and to participate on the AIM assessment team and provide AIM program support.

    Staff recommendation:

    2. DJUSD will hire a .4 FTE AIM Differentiation Specialist (See Appendix L for job description) and eliminate the position of .4FTE AIM Coordinator. 

  8. Grant Acosta

    He added, “Analysis from relevant research as well as conversations with GATE teachers, principals and community input has led the administration to select a qualification score that is meant to best serve the DJUSD student population.”

    David – you seem hung up on the educational research behind the OLSAT cutoff score.  Clearly there isn’t any solid research on this or school districts across the state would probably be using the same cutoff. Maybe you should pay more attention to the Superintendent’s other rationale behind changing the score, i.e., GATE teachers and principals.  Could it be that the unspoken impetus for raising the bar is coming from the GATE teachers and principals themselves in an effort to weed out the truly gifted from the ‘wannabe’ gifted?  It makes sense.   I have certainly heard stories about AIM students who don’t really cut the mustard and become behavior issues.  I could see how even some AIM parents would want the riff raff cut off from the program.  Just sayin’

     

    1. DavisAnon

      I have spoken with several AIM teachers. They were completely opposed to the district’s proposal but felt constrained in speaking out for fear of their jobs. They were also very disappointed that the district never even asked their input, but instead simply informed them of the administration’s proposal. Between the timing and the approach, the administration is making it very clear they are not interested in stakeholder input.

      I would hate to think any student should be considered ‘riff raff’. Children have no choice in going to school and they deserve to be treated respectfully and to receive appropriate education.

      1. MrsW

        “….but felt constrained in speaking out for fear of their jobs…”
        This is an honest question.  If I were to use the words “fear for my job”, it would mean that I feared I would be fired and therefore income for my family.  What does the term mean, when someone has tenure?

  9. Tia Will

    Napoleon

    ’m not so sure it’s foreseeable in advance. If the parcel tax fails, there will be a budget problem. Beyond that, I don’t think we know what programs will suffer or how much. But, based on recent behavior, I am confident the district will mislead us and attempt to use emotion rather than facts to garner support for whatever they want to do.”

    Are we at least in agreement that not passing a parcel tax will result in less revenue for the schools ? And if we agree to that, does that not mean that some programs will have less funding ( aka”suffer” ) although of course we don’t know by how much ?

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      Tia

      We are in agreement that failing to pass a parcel tax will result in less revenue for the schools.

      However, more revenue for the schools, under the control of a malignant board and administration, will not necessarily improve or even continue quality educational programs. As you know, sometimes removing a tumor causes serious harm to the patient, but can increase the odds that the patient will ultimately thrive.

      1. Tia Will

        Napoleon

        under the control of a malignant board and administration, will not necessarily improve or even continue quality educational programs”

        Where you see malignancy, I see a board whose members I do not always agree with, but who were put in place by an elective process in which the children most affected did not have a vote. It is their education that we are affecting by voting down a parcel tax. If we don’t like the board, we can remove them next time around by voting them out. I just think that we should leave the education of the kids out of our political calculations.  And, yes, I know, I probably hold the minority opinion…what else is new ?

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