In Their Own Words: Madhavi Sunder’s Final Comments on AIM Proposal

Share:

SB-Nov-07

by Madhavi Sunder

Our goal as trustees of the Davis school district is to give our children the best possible education they can receive given the financial constraints that we face–an education that prepares them to become healthy, well-balanced individuals who are ready to participate as citizens of this great state and this great country, as well as members of the world community.

I want to begin my remarks by noting that cutting the number of AIM classrooms will not save a single dime. This is not an argument about how we allocate our precious limited resources. AIM costs almost nothing, a little more than $10 a student in the program each year–so focusing on AIM is not going to do anything to redistribute resources in the district. Indeed, the proposed changes will cost more than the current program costs.

I have been distressed about many things in this process:

First, the singling out of the AIM program for intense statistical and other scrutiny–neglecting all of the other important work that this District should be doing to advance students in the district. We have classrooms at Montgomery that are 100% low income. We have a persistent achievement gap in which low-income children in Davis continue to score below proficiency. Our school administrative office at 5th and B sits on some of the most valuable property in Davis, and yet we have not spent the time we should to figure out how to tap that resource to put more funds toward addressing grave facilities needs all over the district. All of these issues and more – and the children affected by them – have been put on hold by the Board’s insistence on making the reduction of the AIM program the centerpiece of the Board’s agenda.

Second, is the fact that parents and teachers were sidelined in this process. When the district considers significant change, it should do so through a bottom-up process, with extensive parent-teacher committees open to as many people as possible. That’s what we are doing with Later Start for Secondary schools. But we conspicuously did not follow the normal practice, or best practices, here.

Third, there have been repeated falsehoods published in the town’s only print newspaper: The Davis Enterprise published an op-ed that said–without any evidence–that AIM students receive “inequitable resources. They enjoy better field trips. They get special lectures and videos. They do not have to follow the same rules.” None of this is true. I asked the Superintendent to refute this in a letter to the Enterprise, but I have not yet seen the Enterprise retract these falsehoods, nor have I seen district leaders refute them publicly.

The Enterprise itself editorialized against the program, claiming falsely that the GATE program was “initially designed only for students who had significant trouble learning in a regular classroom.” This is also not true. It is time we put to rest once and for all this false claim that the program was originally only designed for autistic savants who are “failing in the regular classroom.”

A review of GATE master plans over decades demonstrates that the program was always designed to support those who were not succeeding in school, as well as those who are already doing well, but needed to be challenged more. Renowned teacher and former Mayor of Davis, Deborah Poulos, has told us tonight: “In 1983, thirty-two years ago, when I began teaching the fourth grade class at Valley Oak in the “Special Abilities” (SA) program, it served any and all students” testing high on a cognitive test–not only those who were doing poorly in third grade.” The 1996 master plan defines categories of giftedness, including “Students who function at highly advanced levels in particular academic areas.” Our GATE master plans for decades have stated this program is for high achieving students who need more challenge AND high ability students who are not performing to their potential. These are facts.

On that score, I want to acknowledge the work of the Davis Vanguard, which has been offering consistent, high quality, research-based analysis on this issue. The Vanguard has just hired a new reporter to follow the school district more closely. Welcome to Davis, Nicholas Von Wettberg. It is very good for our community to have another, high quality news source covering the school district’s activities.

Fourth, there have been some who have made claims about students in the program–a leader of the anti-AIM movement wrote in the Enterprise this week that three quarters of the students are there because of a “seriously corrupted admission process.” This is an outrageous claim that demeans students–and it should not be tolerated. This claim is also premised on a fundamental misconception – that any students tested for admission by any alternative to the OLSAT is somehow not deserving of being in the program. This fundamentally misunderstands that the test must be appropriate for the student – non English speakers, students with learning disabilities or very poor children who did not have the same advantages as the majority of our district’s children are not fairly served by the OLSAT alone, and they deserve a test that is appropriate to their needs. As a Board we must come together to affirm that a qualifying score on any of these tests vetted and recommended by our Administration is a valid method of identifying students for this program. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Justice mandates the use of multiple measures because we can and must properly identify high ability students in all of our diverse populations.

Fifth, saying that students need more challenge than they are currently receiving in a regular classroom is not demeaning to teachers in those classrooms. National and international research shows that high-ability students need specialized instruction to fully develop that ability. And that is the very purpose of school – to develop each child’s ability to his or her full potential.

Sixth, as the Administration told us tonight, professional development in differentiated instruction for teachers is not required.

Seventh, I have heard vague references in this discussion suggesting that shrinking AIM will help close the Achievement Gap. Make no mistake: there is no evidence linking GATE to the achievement gap, and our Superintendent himself has said that nothing in the Administration’s efforts on AIM or in this proposal relate to the achievement gap. While there are perceptions that putting AIM kids back into the regular classroom will bring other students up, the research on this is clear: there is no gain to other students, yet potentially severe academic, social and emotional harm to high-ability students whose own needs as individuals with a right to learn and grow are not appropriately met.

Put simply: this does nothing to address the achievement gap, though I hope when this vote is behind us we can finally turn our attention to this and other important issues.

Eighth, I have also been disappointed that the district provided data to certain researchers without sharing that data with others in the community. We should not make decisions based on empirical analysis that literally cannot be verified by independent researchers. Furthermore, we certainly should not evaluate programs based on whether they advance STAR test scores, and it is certainly not fair to single out only one of the district’s many programs for that scrutiny.

Ninth, the Superintendent and his top level staff admitted tonight one benefit of a phase in approach to moving the cut off score from 96 to 98 over three years: it will allow us to monitor the new assessments and see how the new identification process is working. But there is another important benefit – it’s critically important not to take a scorched earth approach to change here. There is no consensus in the community on the way to go forward here. Rather than make an immediate move to 98 tonight, which could potentially cut the program in half, going slowly and keeping the score at 96 this year while we wait to assess all the other changes we are making this year shows we are listening to all sides here. It’s the responsible way forward.

Tenth, I am extremely disturbed that the Superintendent cannot identify any benefit to students either in or outside the AIM program from their proposed change in cut off score. Indeed, I fear that in his struggle to answer that question, he may in fact not believe there is a benefit. He may be offering a cut off score of 98 simply because a majority of Trustees directed him to shrink the program.

Finally, the Davis Enterprise editorial offered two arguments for shrinking the program. First, that it had grown beyond its original intent–a claim that is entirely false, as decades of Davis GATE master plans show in black and white.

What was the second reason for cutting down the size of the program that the Enterprise identified? That it simply “rubs people the wrong way.” We should not give in to those sentiments. Our job as Trustees is to make evidence-based decisions keeping as our lodestar the academic, social and emotional wellbeing of our district’s children.

To that end, Davis has long championed and offered a diversity of program to meet a diversity of student needs. One child in the household might thrive at Da Vinci while another flourishes in the AP track at the high school. Even with fully implemented practices of differentiated instruction, we need the Davis School for Independent Studies and Montessori.

We are a district of choice. We have recognized that to meet ALL students’ needs we need to address the specific needs of EACH student. As Supervisor Don Saylor used to say when he was on the School Board, the way to ALL is EACH.

Most importantly, we need a new way of talking about our school programs. This dialogue has hurt teachers and has hurt students. We can and must do better than this.

Share:

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

Related posts

39 thoughts on “In Their Own Words: Madhavi Sunder’s Final Comments on AIM Proposal”

  1. Tia Will

    Again, I will preface my comments by saying that I am neither for or against the GATE/AIM program and I have no idea what will best serve ” all” or “each” of our students best. But I do feel obliged to point out inconsistencies as they arise.

    Ms. Sunder said

    This is not an argument about how we allocate our precious limited resources.”

    that AIM students receive “inequitable resources. They enjoy better field trips. They get special lectures and videos. They do not have to follow the same rules.” None of this is true.”

    the program was always designed to support those who were not succeeding in school, as well as those who are already doing well, but needed to be challenged more.”

    It remains unclear to me how this particular set of students, in order to be “challenged more” are not receiving any resources that would not be available to other students if these students were not receiving special “challenges”. What form do these challenges take if not more enriched materials, field trips, or specialized instruction, presumably by teachers who are sent for special training in this particular form of instruction. If these experiences are not available to all, then I am at a loss to see how this is not a diversion of resources just as DaVinci, Spanish immersion, music and sports programs….etc….are not a “diversion of resources”. This phrase says nothing at all about the relative merits of using the resources in these ways. I don’t see how anyone can deny that placing resources in one program means that they will not be available for others. Is it not at least worthy of consideration whether or not GATE/AIM is the best use of limited resources  just as it would be for any other program ?

    1. Anon

      Do you have any actual evidence to refute Ms. Sunder’s contention that AIM students do not receive extra benefits/resources, other than your “suspicions”?

      1. Tia Will

        Anon

        Do you have any actual evidence to refute Ms. Sunder’s contention that AIM students do not receive extra benefits/resources, other than your “suspicions”?”

        Please notice that I did not say “extra benefits” or resources. I said that they received resources that would otherwise be available for other programs. Just as each of those programs receives resources that do not go to AIM/GATE. I am not suspicious of anything. I am merely stating what to me seems to be obvious. If we are funding program X, then that is money that is not available for program Y. I do not know whether AIM/GATE is the best way to direct funds, or not. But I do not think it can be credibly claimed that it does not divert funding from other programs. I think that all of our programs should be subject to periodic evaluation to determine if that is the most effective way to spend admittedly limited resources.

        1. Anon

          Hmmmm… your assumption seems to be that the AIM program somehow costs the school extra in the way of resources.  The funny thing is that now the AIM program will end up costing more in the way of resources because it will take funding a full time person when a part time one used to be the norm.  So how does that make any sense?

  2. MrsW

    School climate is missing from this list and the responsibility of employers and people in power to set the tone.  Would have rather seen Ms. Sunder vote “No” on Thursday, than have her bash our Superintendent like this in a public forum.  As long as I can remember, DJUSD’s solution to conflict has been social separation and parallel play; here is a chance to build community–again.  Our schools now have a chance (as they have for >20 years) to become positive learning and working environments where AIM doesn’t divide.  Ms. Sunder, how about some of that bringing people together that you promised in your campaign?

    1. sos

      “Would rather have seen Ms Sunder vote “No” on Thursday, than have her bash our Superintendent like this in a public forum”… I couldn’t agree more. Public education is as much about developing the social IQ as it is about the intellectual IQ. Ms Sunder’s public pot stirring while occupying a leadership position demonstrates just how important this point is.

      1. Napoleon Pig IV

        Mrs W and SOS

        I think you are missing a major point. Ms. Sunder is defending the District from an attack begun at least two years ago by those I will characterize as People Against Good Education, or known to themselves and their stooges as PAGE.

        The Superintendent appears to be quite competent more broadly, but on this issue, he played right into their hands. Public criticism is not a bad thing when justified.

  3. Tia Will

    MrsW

    social separation and parallel play”

    Interesting choice of words. One of the goals of our schools correctly identified by Ms. Sunder is “an education that prepares them to become healthy, well-balanced individuals who are ready to participate as citizens of this great state and this great country, as well as members of the world community.”

    I agree completely with her statement and cannot help but wonder if segregation of those who need “additional challenges” at the age of third graders does not in fact undermine this larger goal by what is de facto a means of segregation by intellect. What effect, if any, does encapsulating students in an intellectual bubble have on their ability to integrate successfully into the larger society with its full range of intellectual capabilities once they are no longer cosseted in a protective environment ?

    Please note, this is a question, not an oppositional statement. Is there any data on how GATE/AIM students do in a full range of what we would consider a successful life ? How do they do compared with others in terms of not only economics but other parameters such as happiness, life satisfaction, marital stability, community contribution ? How about depression, substance abuse, white collar crime …… add your own parameter. I see not only a lack of statistical evidence on academic performance since I am in full agreement that measurement by standardized test is inadequate.

    I see a lack of evidence on virtually any measurable parameter to either support or oppose this program. What I see is a lot of people who are passionate and defensive about their own position and unwilling to consider that there might be another reasonable point of view on both sides.

     

     

    1. hpierce

      Well, Tia, I have no evidence, but experience from one individual… me.  I was “the geek” in elementary school, was in G&T for Jr H, and discovered a ‘cohort’ that helped me realize I “wasn’t alone”.  Did much better in HS, but was still heavily introverted.  College got me to hit my stride when I was again surrounded with a lot of serious/talented, yet fun-loving peers.

      Looking back, think my life has been economically successful, rewarding spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  But I’m just a data point.  Other’s results may vary.

  4. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Thanks for the smile.

    We now have two data points.

    I also feel that my life has also been “economically successful, rewarding spiritually, mentally and emotionally.”  And I am a product of the public school system who never received any special placement, or even knew that there might be a special program available. I have always felt, whether accurately or not, a sense of “aloneness”. That did not stop me from building a meaningful life for myself.  So much for the power of anecdotal evidence. 

    Seriously though, does anyone know of any evidence for the superiority of AIM/GATE in the establishment of any life parameter other than academic/financial success ? Has looking at the bigger picture even be considered ?
    Ms. Sunder, if you are reading, are you aware of any studies or information addressing this issue ?

     

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      The “Journal for the Education of the Gifted” has been published by SAGE Journals for a number of years. Also, “Gifted and Talented International” is a journal published by the World Council for Gifted & Talented Children. There is not (that I’ve seen at least) much research focused on long-term, multi-decade follow-up, but there has been a substantial body of quality research on psychological and social impacts of various approaches to the education of the intellectually gifted.

      1. Anon

        It will be interesting to see if the AIM debacle has any effect on the upcoming school board elections/parcel tax.  I know it will most definitely come into play at the ballot box for me.

        1. MrsW

          In the next election, I will be looking for Leaders, who will influence our district to be positive place to learn and live.  I will also be looking for mathematical and statistical ability and understanding.

  5. Tia Will

    Anon

    It will be interesting to see if the AIM debacle has any effect on the upcoming school board elections/parcel tax”

    It will indeed be interesting. It will definitely be one factor for me in the school board elections. I remain of the opinion that the parcel tax should not be where voters take out their political frustrations. The only losers that I care about with the failure of a parcel tax are the students. The adults can all fend for themselves. The students are captive to the follies of the adults and their education should not be held hostage to individual preferences.

  6. wdf1

    Sunder:  Tenth, I am extremely disturbed that the Superintendent cannot identify any benefit to students either in or outside the AIM program from their proposed change in cut off score. Indeed, I fear that in his struggle to answer that question, he may in fact not believe there is a benefit. He may be offering a cut off score of 98 simply because a majority of Trustees directed him to shrink the program.

    It is unclear to me that there is any justification for any cutoff score.  If there is, I haven’t seen it.  Or maybe I don’t remember if one was presented.  As far as I can tell, any cutoff score is arbitrary.

    Sunder’s position would be stronger if she could point to research or something that says why 96% is the way to go, or any other alternative cutoff score.  Hypothetically, the board could shift views about 98% (perhaps through future election or change of heart), and Sunder’s comment here could be used verbatim to criticize any future change.  I think this is why her position didn’t gain any more traction than it did.  And this is the specific point where there is so much acrimony.

    The stronger position might be to abolish standardized testing as the main identifying criteria for AIM/GATE identification.  But it looks like it would take a while to get to that point.  We would have to go through dissatisfaction with various iterations of cutoff scores before the futility is recognized.

    I think there is some qualitative criteria (as opposed to quantitative test scores) that might be more effective at identifying students.

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      I think STAR tests were mentioned because they were a feature in that ludicrous commissioned study by those UC professors, that study that would probably not fail peer review, that study that cannot be replicated because the professors were given private access to data that will not be released by the district to other researchers (unless, of course, the right lawyer gets involved).

  7. Frankly

    A review of GATE master plans over decades demonstrates that the program was always designed to support those who were not succeeding in school, as well as those who are already doing well, but needed to be challenged more.

    News to me.

    Now I absolutely oppose any self contained GATE/AIM.  It is now clearly a sneaky mechanism for the well-heeled genetically-gifted academic families to carve out scarce public education resources for their exclusive family benefit.

    The additional resources are the energy and attention that would otherwise go into differentiation.

    there is no evidence linking GATE to the achievement gap

    This is a baseless argument because of the lack of real substantive action to close the achievement gap… including the growing gap between female and male academic achievement.

    It isn’t being analyzed nearly enough, so it is baseless to defend something saying there is no connection.  We simply don’t know at this point what all of the causes are.  The education establishment is holding the growing problem in reserve to leverage it in a future campaign opportunity to make yet another case that the source is funding… give those unions and their members more money and the problems will be fixed!

    Other than for those with absolute learning disabilities, GATE/AIM should be seen as an attempt by some in this community to carve out what is really a private school inside of the public school using all public school funding.  The better and more-experienced teachers would teach in the self-contained GATE/AIM classrooms… and therefore would not be available to the general student population.  Those kids and their parents in the GATE/AIM self-contained programs would set up a two-tier school system… those special kids and all the rest.

    How do those parents feel about school vouchers where they could opt out of the general school and send their gifted kids to a special private school?   What are the arguments against that?  Interesting that the same or similar arguments don’t apply here with self-contained GATE/AIM… they do.

    In light of this information, self-contained GATE/AIM is really just academic segregation… and it is as ugly as is all other forms of institutionalized public school segregation.    The School Board and the Enterprise are both absolutely correct.

    1. Don Shor

      GATE is simply another form of differentiation or ability-grouping. Just like Special Ed. Hence my advocacy of cluster-grouping for those gifted-identified kids who want to remain in their neighborhood schools, with self-contained GATE available for those who would benefit from it.
      There’s nothing ugly about it. But there is a lot that is ugly about your rhetoric and that of those others who disdain the GATE model.

      1. Frankly

        GATE is simply another form of differentiation or ability-grouping.

        One is not the other.  One is completely different than the other.

        You and others have pushed your case as these kids being special needs… kids that cannot learn in the standard classroom.  Now I learn that it is also supposed to cover the kids that do fine in the standard classroom but can just handle more and want more.  This throws a wrench into the entire support arguments from you and others, and now I can see why the school board did what it did.

        There are a lot of students that want more and can handle more; but the things they want more of and can handle have been diminished or eliminated over the years.

        It would be interesting to do a survey of all the families upset about this decision and also track their stated opinions on making Davis less exclusive… bringing in more low income students.  I wonder if those opinions have been supported by the expectation that they could pay to tutor their already wired strong-academic kids to be safely placed in those classes lacking the distractions of the regulars.

        1. Don Shor

          High-achieving gifted-identified students could probably do well with cluster-grouping in a regular classroom with a teacher trained for differentiated instruction for gifted students. Lower-achieving gifted-identified students would probably be the ones who would continue to need self-contained GATE. Nothing in what the district is doing leads in the direction of sorting for those criteria and seeking the best placement for them.
          With respect to your comment:

          You and others have pushed your case as these kids being special needs… kids that cannot learn in the standard classroom. Now I learn that it is also supposed to cover the kids that do fine in the standard classroom but can just handle more and want more. This throws a wrench into the entire support arguments from you and others

          Here is what I said to you several weeks ago:

          Students who are academically gifted also can have difficulty functioning in the regular classroom, for a variety of reasons. If you have a significant disparity between test scores and academic performance, for example, there may be a specific disability that limits the ability to learn in a regular classroom. Students who are far ahead of their peers often become isolated, develop self-efficacy problems, and may seek to underperform, appear bored, or develop behavioral issues. When they are learning among their peers, they don’t have those problems.
          There is nothing new about ability grouping. Students who test high and achieve well can do well when grouped with their peers and taught in well-run differentiated classrooms. Students who test high and don’t achieve well don’t do well in those situations. They need self-contained GATE. It would take a really well-trained teacher to manage a class that ranges from special ed to highly gifted. It would take a very strong district commitment to differentiated instruction, smaller class sizes, and a lot of mandated training. They aren’t proposing that.

  8. Misanthrop

    “genetically-gifted academic families”

    Can you point to any genetic evidence that supports this?

    “GATE is simply another form of differentiation or ability-grouping. Just like Special Ed.”

    But GATE is not like Special Ed. Kids in Special Ed are guaranteed a free and appropriate placement under law. Kids in GATE are not.

    1. Don Shor

      Yes, once they are identified for Special Ed, they have a number of guarantees. In the sense that it is a form of differentiation and ability-grouping based on a specific set of criteria, I have always considered them comparable — particularly because my kid was identified for both, and they were of equal importance to that child’s educational progress and outcomes.
      If the district has a set of criteria that have identified a particular placement (important ed jargon term) as being most appropriate for a child, the district IMO has an obligation to provide that placement within the limits of its resources. GATE does not cost more than regular programs. There should be no limit as to the number of seats or students in GATE. There should be no lottery, or need for a lottery.

      What the district has done is establish a different assessment protocol for self-contained GATE. If the numbers in the program fall with the use of this program, that outcome deserves careful and critical scrutiny.

      If the goal was to reduce the size of the self-contained program, this was not actually a valid or reasonable way to do that. Unless the assessment committee is very effective, there will be students who fall through the cracks now. Gifted-identified students should be with their peers, one way or another — whether in groups in differentiated classrooms, or in self-contained GATE.

      When I was in elementary school, an early method of dealing with this was via split classrooms: I was in a 2nd/3rd grade class, then a 3rd/4th grade class. That meant that, basically by default, the teacher would be teaching us most of the time at the higher grade level, and would take us off in our own group at times for specialized instruction. You don’t want to be the only 2nd grader in a 3rd grade classroom. You don’t want a kid who tests at 97% and has some learning issues to feel that he or she is without peers in his or her classroom. That child will not be in an appropriate placement, and if his or her parents see the problem (if they’re paying attention), they will not have any recourse except indirectly through a teacher or counselor.

      The failure to engage parents in this process has been one of the glaring weaknesses. The failure to establish a process of appeal or method of parent input is one of the chief weaknesses going forward. This exchange exemplifies that problem:

      “Have you surveyed parents?”
      “We always want to hear from our parents.”

      In case district officials don’t know this: parents will not give input unless you establish a process for listening to them, and they feel something will come of it.

    2. gentlereader

      Every child is entitled to FAPE–a Free and Appropriate Public Education. That’s CA law. The law is clear: an appropriate education. Not the best possible education.

       

       

       

      1. Misanthrop

        I’m not sure what CA law you are referring to? The term free and appropriate education or FAPE has a certain definition as it applies to special ed students and GATE is not considered a classification that qualifies under special ed.

  9. Misanthrop

    “I have always considered them comparable”

    You may consider them comparable but that does not make it so. The fact that you know a person who was both may be clouding your view. They are distinct classifications although on occasion both may apply to a particular student. However for all gate students that are not identified for special ed your lumping them together does not apply.

  10. Tia Will

    Don

     I have always considered them comparable — particularly because my kid was identified for both, and they were of equal importance to that child’s educational progress and outcomes.”

    I think that you have neatly encapsulated one specific point that I find troublesome with the AIM/GATE supporters. That is the issue of diversion of resources. So I am going to provide my example ( only one case) so take it for what it is worth. My daughter was musically very talented. She played several instruments in which instruction was offered by the public schools. However, the instrument for which she had particular affinity for was the piano. Piano instruction was not offered in the public schools. I felt strongly enough about my daughters ability to develop this particular talent, and was fortunate enough to be able to afford private lessons. So our district was able to meet the special educational needs of some students in language, in group learning, in specialized instruction for GATE, but not for my daughter’s particular strength and interest. It is clear to me that resources are involved and should not just be written off as negligible as Ms. Sunder has done. It is clear to me that this is a matter of deciding where to place our limited resources and that there are winners and losers in which talents, interests, and capabilities we choose to support.

    Now that is just one example concerning one affluent and, yes, privileged student. But what if we were to say that we should use some of those resources to fund specialized instruction for those not planning on going on to college ? Perhaps those wanting to start learning a specialized skill or trade while still in high school and that we were going to instead of hiring AIM/GATE specialized teachers, were going to hire teachers with expertise in those areas ?

    1. gentlereader

      This is a perfect example of FAPE. She still got an appropriate education without the piano lessons.

      It’s unfortunate that less privileged students won’t get piano lessons and develop their talents to the fullest, but hopefully more privileged parents can share some of their affluence.

      What makes me angry about GATE? I taught in Special Ed in Greengate school in Woodland several years ago–a contained SE school. I walked into the classroom as a new teacher and had tables, chairs, a desk, computer and $400 to spend for the year.   There was no: curriculum, principal, support, money, food for hungry kids, supplies (no paper, no tools, no crayons, no pencils,—no NOTHING.) I had to start from scratch. So does every new teacher at Greengate and there has been a complete teacher turnnover in the last 4 years. Some Davis kids aren’t going to college–sad yes (I’m being sarcastic) but some kids in Yolo County are sitting in wheelchairs all day doing practically nothing because the teacher literally has nothing for them.

      Why? Because no one cares about special ed kids.

      1. Biddlin

        “but some kids in Yolo County are sitting in wheelchairs all day doing practically nothing because the teacher literally has nothing for them.

        Why? Because no one cares about special ed kids.”

        I agree. The only time special needs are given consideration are if a celebrity is involved or when the public relations folks cobble up a feel good media event.

        ;>)/

  11. Tia Will

    gentlereader

    I do not know whether you missed that this was my point, or whether you merely wanted to emphasize it. I was not complaining that there were no piano lessons available. I was attempting to point out that the schools are not capable of, nor should they be attempting to meet  all the specialized needs of every single child . We have limited resources and must be cognizant of that when deciding how to allocate those resources.  This is true whether the program is individualized piano lessons, or AIM/GATE, or DaVinci from which my son benefitted or any other program. It makes far more sense to me to provide a basic education for all before we start providing special programs for those who already are advantaged. My daughter did not need additional help, she had a parent who was more than able to provide supplemental education. This is probably also true for many who utilize the AIM/GATE program. It is certainly not true for the students and learning situation that you have described.

    Just a note of perspective. My daughter is now running a reading program for disadvantaged children in South Sac. Essentially no money in it, but a satisfaction in being able to help those who have less resources to achieve their full potential. Yes, a little bit of maternal pride showing here.

  12. Tia Will

    Don

    In re reading my post, I can certainly see why.  I totally muddled it. So for clarity.

    Every time there is a separate program devised for any purpose, it is a diversion of resources from the mainstream education. I did not say more, or extra resources. I said diversion. Mainstream education and each of those diversions should be subjected to initial close inspection and periodic updates to see if they are truly meeting the desired need, or whether they have taken on a life of their own beyond their initial goal.I do not believe that AIM/GATE should be outside of this process. That is all.

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

Enter the maximum amount you want to pay each month
$ USD
Sign up for