My View: Were AIM Opponents Intimidated by Audience Applause?

Microphone

Two weeks ago, AIM parents, angry and frustrated by decisions made by the district – and perhaps with the poor communication by the administration regarding the placement of the AIM program, its removal from North Davis Elementary and its reduction to two classrooms – came to the board meeting and vented their anger and frustration.

The parents opposing the changes to policy greatly outnumbered the handful or so commenters who spoke out in support of those changes.  At times, those parents would break out in applause and at least on one occasion they heckled and interrupted an oppositional speaker.

The board, not intimidated by these numbers, stuck to their guns and voted 3-2 to keep the changes in place.

All of this is background for what took place on Thursday evening as Susan Lovenburg, following public comment, read to the board a prepared comment.

She said that she wanted to engage her colleagues and that she was doing it at this time because it related to the public comment at the previous board meeting.  “It’s specifically the issue of the applause that interrupted the proceedings multiple times at the last meeting,” she said.  “It’s really hard to address that issue at the heat of the moment, I think it just escalates the tension that was already in the room – but I really do just want to circle back and have a conversation with all of you.”

“Over the years we’ve taken different stances on applause in chambers – there have been presidents who didn’t allow it at all.  There have been those who have allowed something in between and myself I’m pretty tolerant of it,” she said.

She noted that when everyone is applauding the same thing for student performances or for honoring teachers and other district employees, it seems quite appropriate.  “I just felt like it crossed the line at our April 21 meeting where it was actually used to really bolster one perspective and suppress another perspective to the point where one of our public members was heckled when they had a different point of view than expressed by the multitude of the people in the room.”

She mentioned there is board policy for handling public comment, “I just think we as a board that supports a democratic forum where all opinions should be respected – I would just like to see if we have some interest in establishing a bit more of a protocol around applause than we really permitted at the last meeting.”

Barbara Archer said, “I did get feedback from a number of community members that they felt intimidated to make public comment because of the applause for one perspective.”  She added, “Watching meetings over the last ten years, I think it’s been more respectful when you want to show your support for someone who makes public comment to do the jazz-hands (she waived her hands in the air) as we call them.  So that’s an option.”

“I think it got a little out of control on the 21st, our goal is to have people feel  like no matter what their opinion is… this is a safe place to express it,” she said.  “We could go back to jazz-hands.”

Tom Adams said, “It was really disconcerting and this wasn’t the only meeting – it’s when people try to shout down and interrupt someone making public comment.  To me we provide this forum and I believe that … first of all, it’s always hard for people to come to a public meeting.  Second, it’s doubly hard for someone to approach the podium and actually make a comment.”

“For me, I really want them to feel safe and comfortable in making that.  The fact that someone would try to interrupt someone to me is not what we’re about as a town, as a community, and our school system,” he said.  “We want to model the behavior that our students should have and we should make sure that we have reasoned debate.  It’s okay to have different opinions but when you have been given three minutes to talk, and that’s the only shot you get, then you should feel like you won’t be interrupted or that you have to deal with applause and any other thing that might keep you from making your point.”

Alan Fernandes noted that when he was president in 2015, he managed the meetings and allowed applause.  “I’m not generally offended by applause – I think it’s okay to have it – it certainly speaks to emotion and I’m not afraid of that,” he said.

He added that “having said that, I certainly agree with the perspective that’s being articulated here.”

Mr. Fernandes said that the issue has always been the prerogative of the chair to make that call “and I support that protocol.”  Looking at the public comment protocol listed in the agenda, he thought it might be reasonable to add a sentence about applause and asking for people “to be respectful of different viewpoints.”

He noted that Madhavi Sunder, as president, actually reads the paragraph aloud to the public prior to public comment.

Alan Fernandes called it “a balancing act” and believed that if the applause means that some perspectives are not heard, they may want to reconsider the protocol.

Tom Adams reiterated, “What I have no tolerance for is someone interrupting someone while making public comment or trying to shout them down.  I think we should have no tolerance for that.”

Susan Lovenburg said, “It is the president’s prerogative to run the meeting, the board can set protocols.”

Madhavi Sunder said they can look into changing language of the protocols for public comment if there is interest on the part of the board.

She also said, “I do want to note that at that particular meeting there were a lot of parents who probably had never been in a board meeting before, they aren’t familiar with the blue card and the typical protocols and they’re parents of young elementary school kids.  I think it’s also important to be respectful of the fact that these are new processes and that’s why it’s good policy to read this out loud.”

However, the current language has no guidelines on applause and that can be changed, Ms. Sunder stated.

In my view, the issue of applause is separate and distinct from the issue of heckling.  The fact that the people who brought up this issue were on the opposite side of the fence from the bulk of the commenters and that they raised the issue of applause concurrent with the incident of heckling should at least be noted.

In my review of the video from that meeting, the heckling incident was a single incident.  It occurred at 2:43:30 on the video from April 21 and the public commenter was speaking when someone behind her said something that was not intelligible on the video.

What the board members failed to note is that Ms. Sunder immediately stated, “Let the speaker finish, please,” and gave her extra time to speak.

So the one incident had nothing to do with applause, it was handled appropriately by the president, and none of the board members noted that at the meeting on Thursday.

On the issue of applause, I remember, during a heated exchange at one of the early school board meetings, Don Saylor lectured the audience that this was not a sporting event where the audience cheers on their team and boos the opposition.  And, while at the time it was condescending at best, I have come to largely support that position.

In fact, the school board for years encouraged during the meeting that people not applaud (because it causes the mics to cut out, as well) but rather do the jazz hands.  The city council, while not encouraging jazz hands, has largely discouraged applause except in honoring people for awards.

That said, in the last few years that has changed.  When Dan Wolk became mayor, he began allowing applause.  And, as noted, both Alan Fernandes and Madhavi Sunder have allowed applause.

Personally, I think it is better to do away with applause and, if said respectfully to audience, you can raise the issue during the meeting.  Sheila Allen in particular, was good at encouraging the audience to use jazz hands while remaining respectful.

Finally, I think that Madhavi Sunder is correct here – the board is experienced in dealing with interactions with the public.  But parents – many of whom come when something is going wrong – are often coming for the first time.

I think gentle reminders are the way to go here.  I think having formal policies prohibiting applause are a bit overkill. Rather, I would suggest a simple line encouraging people to be respectful of all opinions and refraining from auditory applause.

—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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64 Comments

    1. zaqzaq

      Yes.  It is clear that the three board members moving towards eliminating the AIM program are asserting their “white privilege” when they do not want to hear the views of those who oppose their position.  Their elitist attitude that they know better than the parents what is best for AIM identified children.  My advise to Lovenberg is to move on and get over hearing parents express their opposition to your views.

    2. Napoleon Pig IV

      Yes indeed. I agree with zaqzaq that it’s time for Lovenburg to move on – and she’s welcome to take her minions with her. As usual, Sunder is the voice of reason. And, as usual the board majority is a bunch of (. . . self-moderated. . .).

      Had the applause been from that group of Parents Against Good Education (a.k.a. PAGE), I doubt if we would have heard a peep out of Lovenburg and her ilk.

      Oink! Clap, clap, clap (sound of pig hooves bumping together in sarcastic contempt).

    1. Don Shor

      Your condescension toward parents of gifted kids is apparent in every comment you make on this issue, and yet some wonder why it’s so hard to have a reasonable discussion about this topic.

    2. The Pugilist

      Interesting that you decided to bring “privileged” into the discussion Frankly.  Because what I saw was a largely white group of defender’s of the board policy and the three white members of the school board defending it against a group of multi-ethnic parents and the two people of color on the school board.  So who is defending privilege here?

      1. wdf1

        Pugilist:  Because what I saw was a largely white group of defender’s of the board policy and the three white members of the school board defending it against a group of multi-ethnic parents and the two people of color on the school board.  So who is defending privilege here?

        In Davis specifically, I don’t find the concept of “white privilege” as convincing a phenomenon as the privilege of parent education.  A very strong social dividing line I see in Davis schools is between students who come from families with college education and those who don’t (i.e., have high school education or less).  I pointed out previously that the AIM demographics skew very heavily to students from families with graduate school level education, relative to the general school population.  Usually what I see consistently in public comment from AIM-connected parents is an introduction of their academic credentials (most commonly, “I am on the faculty at UCD”) as a way to justify their views on AIM education.

        You will not typically see parents with a high school education or less having the confidence or opportunity to stand up and give public comment in a school board meeting.

        1. wdf1

          TP:  I thought I saw a statistic posted here that AIM went from 50% low SES to 20 percent low SES with the change.

          Low SES is commonly defined by participation in free/reduced lunch as a proxy for low income level.  Another less common way of screening for SES is by family education level.   What free/reduced identification doesn’t really screen for are grad student families with kids in the schools; there would be a higher expectation that such students would be GATE/AIM-identified than those from families w/ high school degree or less.  Willett Elementary is notable for having an AIM strand and for serving the campus grad student housing complexes in their attendance area.  I made my comment about AIM participation and family education level here.

          I would be interested to see the source for that statistic.  I doubt that 50% of AIM students currently in the program are low SES, as identified by free/reduced lunch.  I know that one thing that has been cited as favorable demographic statistics for AIM students were those who were AIM/GATE-identified, as opposed to participating students.  In other words, there was demographic representation more like the district as a whole among AIM/GATE-identified students than among AIM/GATE-participating students, as yielded in the older standards of AIM/GATE identification.  But the demographic profile for AIM/GATE-identified students did not include family education level.

        2. Misanthrop

          Perhaps white privilege is the wrong description. Perhaps a  backlash to being outcompeted  by Asians is a better description of the social divide and resentment that is driving the anti-gate forces.

          Unfortunately, our kids aren’t only competing against each other they are competing against the entire world.

        3. wdf1

          Misanthrop:  Perhaps white privilege is the wrong description. Perhaps a  backlash to being outcompeted  by Asians is a better description of the social divide and resentment that is driving the anti-gate forces.

          When you have more highly educated African American and Latino parents advocating for self-contained AIM/GATE?

          I think what is emerging is a discomfort in seeing, justifying, even talking about separating students by family education level.  What does it mean?  Is that okay?  What are the consequences?  Instead it’s more comfortable to change the conversation to be about race.

          If you are a college educated parent, you get treated one way in the district.  If you have less than a college education, you get treated differently.

        4. sisterhood

          What I recall is parents with degrees doing their kids projects and homework.  But that seems to work itself out by middle school/ high school. I can’t believe the amazing science projects at the elementary school level. Amazing how many little children can type perfectly and even know power point.:)

  1. Tia Will

    I have never attended a school board meeting so cannot speak to the issue of applause there. I do frequent city council meetings. The biggest issue from my point of view is not intimidation of speakers but rather the amount of time that repetitive or prolonged applause adds to a meeting. City council meetings frequently are lengthy events lasting until very late hours. For me, anything, including auditory disruption, that prolongs these meetings without adding new substance is best avoided.

    1. The Pugilist

      This isn’t about clapping, this is about the board majority trying to shut down the other side – there was an implicit criticism of Madhavi that was unfounded – that she lost control and allowed people to get heckled and shutdown.  There was no mention it was a single-incident, handled appropriately in the moment.  And they are trying to discredit the parents as an unruly mob.

  2. ryankelly

    Clapping is intended to communicate to the Board that they agree with the speakers comment when it is used to punctuate a speaker during public comment.  Every person clapping is adding to the speakers comments and their time.  What if clapping were allowed, but shorten the speakers’ time by 30 seconds to accomodate the additional participation of the clapping audience?  Would the speaker agree to lending some of their time to co-speakers?  Or clappers could be noted and have their time reduced, if they also wanted to speak, as they have already used a portion of their public comment time.  Or give speakers that don’t have clapping supporters more time to communicate their point in all fairness.

  3. PhillipColeman

    Ms. Lovenburg’s comments were artfully crafted and she should be “applauded” for having the courage to bring it up for discussion after the temperature dropped.

    Presidential discretion on audience participation rules has many flaws. Presidents come and go, when a particular president is away for a meeting the immediate subordinate is given the gavel and a different discretionary pattern is exhibited. If the president is a strong advocate or opponent to the matter at hand, how does that influence the independent exercise of discretion on audience participation. Having different rules at different meetings, total audience confusion follows. “How come he was allowed to shout last week and I can’t shout this week?”

    In a representative government society, it’s common practice for an advocacy group to “pack the room.” They will wear distinctive clothing, carry signs, concentrate their numbers in a prime viewing area, and use every available tactic to visibly display their advocacy to the ruling body–and the other members of the audience. And, yes, it is intimidating, it’s meant to be intimidating and meant to stifle opposing views.

    In all the years of observation, in all the many varied public forums recalled, the only truly effective means of allowing full public participation without fear or favor is to categorically prohibit any public displays of support or opposition by audience members. Only then does the desired goal of civility, respect, freedom from unnecessary distraction come to pass. Look to legislative hearings and court rooms as desired examples for the how to address audience participation.

     

     

    1. Barack Palin

      Agreed.  I brought this up in an earlier Vanguard discussion where the audience was clapping every time a speaker spoke at a city council meeting for their cause.  I asked if clapping was allowed and was told that under Mayor Wolk it was.  I wonder if Wolk would’ve changed the rules if the clappers were against his position on the subject?    There was no follow up by the Vanguard I think partly because the V was also fine with the position of the clappers.

    2. Napoleon Pig IV

      PhillipColeman,

      Have you ever considered the possibility that the reason advocacy groups exist is because when “representative government” is controlled by a majority of biased or dishonest “representatives,” it ceases to work fairly? If your approach had been used in the late sixties and early seventies, then the minions of Tricky Dick and LBJ would probably still be waging war in Vietnam.

      As for legislative hearings and court rooms, since when do the procedures used by either “address audience participation?

      Rudeness is justified when justice is at stake.

       

  4. Marina Kalugin

    Dear Friends, Don Saylor’s extremely GIFTED daughter was in a GATE class with one of MY Two brilliant sons.

    The fact that He was being a TRUE leader and asking people to not applaud although HE KNOWS the value of GATE shows a TRUE leader.

    Please vote for Don Saylor…. for the Assembly seat which Bill Dodd got when Mariko Yamada timed OUT>>>>and within months since Mariko did NOT have anyone who would go against HER>…DODD decided to throw HIS millions and HIS REPUBLICAN CRONY friends like EdVoice into the fray..

    The gifted GIRLS managed to make there way to become doctors, world renowned musicians and artists of VARIOUS kinds, Professors and so forth..

    Some of the boys did also….mostly the boys how were NOT from broken families.   THIS was the days of ONE 30 person GATE classes and the MOST brilliant of the top fraction of 1 % in DAVIS>>>

    Many gifted boys were LEFT behind…

    If NOT for the GATE program, many would NOT be as far as THEY are today…

    Those who do NOT have gifted children will NEVER understand the challenges of the GIFTED>…

    Those who do have gifted children, or were gifted themselves, often struggle to keep THEM happy and challenged and feeling like THEY fit in …in this world of HORRIFIC injustice to those who are DIFFERENT>>>>

    Yes, there ARE many problems in the Davis schools these days….it has NOTHING to do with closing the DOORS on GATE…..it has to do with the common core and the MANY new children brought in to fill the Affordable housing units which sprung up in recent decades….

    GATE for those in the know is CLASSIFIED on the same spectrum as Aspergers and Autism….many have hidden disabilities and challenges….

    It was a travesty that THIS superintendent and THIS school board majority did NOT understand the service that DEANNE QUINNE provided..

    Over the last two decades, my friends and I saved HER job…  I was too busy to even read the paper last year….

    She was FIRED without even an thank you NOR a party…..  THAT, my friends happens when people who THINK they know what they are doing BECOME the majority…

     

    1. Misanthrop

      “She was FIRED without even an thank you NOR a party….. ”

      After more than 20 years of service to the community she was unceremoniously not renewed. I found her treatment appalling. They could have at least offered her another position in case she needed the work. To add insult to injury I recall they did it during teacher appreciation week or some such empty time of recognition.

    2. sisterhood

      Wow. Children living in affordable housing all lumped into the category of problem. I’d love to introduce you to my two grown children, supporting themselves in unaffordable San Francisco. Both spent 8 years in an affordable housing neighborhood in south Davis.

      And your use of the term “broken home” is also offensive.

      1. Marina Kalugin

        I am sorry to push some BUTTONS again..  I grew up in SF and I was NOT priveleged nor wealthy and marched with the many students who were minorities as THEY were discriminated against back in the 60s …friends from Lincoln HS>>>.while I attended Lowell.

        Yes, one takes things OUT of context and it is such an issue… In the selfcontained GATE of eons ago, it was a true mix of colors and priveledge and poverty….

        Now, those who don’t think children have any gifts, and ESPECIALLY that there are TOO many gifted in THIS town….think that the doors should be closed….

        If  you do YOUR research, you will find that NOTHING I state is anything but simple facts….

        As a woman who grew up in an intact home of refugees, albeit highly educated refugees, I was highly aware of the challenges of single mothers AND fathers….

        As a single mother later, and dealing with 2 brilliant sons, who had a father living within a few miles, and yet NEVER had time for HIS children….  I became acutely aware of why various things happened and to whom….

        When the 25% affordable was misconstrued to mean build HUGE complexes like tenements and since there are NOT that many who need the low-income in town…as students, I believe, were excluded……  It is a FACT that those lovely buildings actively advertised and bused in people from real tenements…

        All of a sudden, the local schools where those children arrived had WAY more than the usual share of whatever title that is …of poor students needing free and subsidized lunches, MORE teacher aide time, etc…

        THAT is a fact of life and that could be a great thesis for someone inclined to try to refute that observation.  I had a close friend who was first a teaching aid at Pioneer and then went to Montgomery….  Montgomery is where the children from the low income structures were directed to…

        And, yes, some of those families brought some gang members with them also…

        Anything you are trying to insinuate into my statements of historical fact is because you have NO clue who I am, what I do and for whom….  since you do not use YOUR real name, I will not know…
        Marina Kalugin (Rumiansev)

         

         

         

         

  5. Marina Kalugin

    PPS>   EVERYONE here KNOwS , right that Dodd WAS a republican for MOST Of his history….

    not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that….

    It is just that HE hides it…when HE was not able to take over CA positions as a REPUBLICAN< he switched parties to take on the Democrats.

    I even kinda liked the guy when he was running against others who cancelled each other out…

    Of course, I didn’t know as much THEN as I know now…

    He is a master of disguise and deceit…and that, my friends IS the truth…

     

  6. Marina Kalugin

    PS>   WOLK did NOT allow clapping when it was against HIS causes….  He is kinda TWO faced THAT way…

    I was there and I WOULD swear by this statement…

  7. Misanthrop

    There is an obvious double standard here. The school board wastes all sorts of time with ceremonial presentations where even the board members engage in hand clapping. Its only when the hand clapping accentuates the negatives that it is opposed. So free expression is okay as long as its in support of the majority’s goals. Of course its always the free speech we object to that must be protected. Don’t the Trustees take an oath that includes something about defending the constitution?  I think hand clapping is protected speech. Perhaps it wastes a little time. Yawn.

    As for interrupting or heckling speakers I think everyone agrees that your right to free speech can’t interfere with someone else’s. The one person who did so was admonished by the chair and the speaker was given extra time. So it appears the board members are exploiting one relatively minor incident to voice their distress at pursuing a policy that is unpopular in its scope and implementation with a segment of the community. I think this board should be immune to people expressing their displeasure with gate policy by now they have been railroading these people for over a year now. As President of the board Sunder has discretion on how to run the meeting so, for the rest of this year I would simply say, get used to it. As for the distress of the board members who have 20-30 people show up and vote against them I would add, If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen.

     

    1. mendel

       

      This is the problem with Lovenburg, Archer, and Adams; they were surprised that many parents showed up and rallied against their voice. They thought it will be a cake walk that they will change the AIM rule and move forward without any resistance.

       

      If these three members stay on DJUSD board for few more years; our schools will not only lag behind, our kids will not be able to compete with rest of the country let alone the world. Hope Davis community wake up and defeat Lovenburg in November election.

       

      Based on the last board meeting discussion; it seems three white board members are telling the president (happened to be Asian origin) you are not doing the job. They seem to have forgotten, Sundar received most votes during last election cycle.

       

      1. Marina Kalugin

        yes mendel…..when I mentioned this “action” in the Davis community against AIM…I got comments like “now THAT is ODD in a college town”  “how could THAT happen”…by friends who share my dismay and live on the Stanford faculty housing and in Los Altos hills….others in the Menlo Park/Atherton area were aghast also…

         

         

  8. Michelle Millet

    Speaking from personal experience I can say that people rarely make good decisions when acting out of strong emotions, especially negative ones. I imagine that tensions and emotions were running high during this meeting. Applauding escalates this. It is like adding fuel to a fire. For this reason I agree with Susan Lovenburgs stance. Clapping/applause/jeering intensifies an already tense situation and this rarely leads to better behavior, better decisions, or better outcomes.

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      Sometimes fire can be quite cleansing.

      There is nothing that I know of likely to help Lovenburg, Archer, and Adams make better decisions.

    1. Michelle Millet

      I’m speaking very generally,  not specifically about the board decision in this circumstance. What good comes from allowing a behavior that gets angry and upset people more angry and upset? As someone who tends to get caught up in strong emotions I appreciate when those in charge foster an atmosphere where calmness is cultivated.

  9. Marina Kalugin

    I believe it was water fluoridation…or coulda been the water project itself….in the most recent decade I attended few meetings….but THOSE were crucial to protect the health of my family, friends and loved ones…

    I mean AGAINST fluoridation….Dan was openly PRO…and he was also FOR the surface water project…

    We have some family issues which result in a LOT of water useage in our 2 person median Davis house….and our bill last month was $180…..I believe that is ONLY the tip of the iceberg…..

    We are moving to the countryside outside of Davis…but not selling the Davis house…  where we will have our OWN well and our own off grid everything…..back to the days of the sustainable farmers….

    As a UCD retiree – hopefully soon….we will NOT be able to afford the bills of MANY things in Davis… on my pension, though I am Truly fortunate to still have one…

     

  10. nameless

    Call me cynical, but I feel Lovenberg is trying to mollify the opposition by noting they were disrespected as a way to distract them from the Board’s 3-2 vote to keep the AIM changes in place.  Sunder took care of the heckling and the school board has no policy on clapping and has allowed it in the past.  So where’s the issue other than to obfuscate the real issue – the Board is intractable on the changes to AIM?

  11. Marina Kalugin

    I am confused here  – when someone says OPPOSITION>..  is the OPPOSITION against GATE or are they the ones that CRASHED GATE?

    When the bills or the whatever are done in a way to CONFUSE ….ie when YeS means Against and NO means FOR>>>….was THAT the case on this topic….

  12. Misanthrop

    WDF1: “I think what is emerging is a discomfort in seeing, justifying, even talking about separating students by family education level.  What does it mean?  Is that okay?  What are the consequences?  Instead it’s more comfortable to change the conversation to be about race.”

    I think there are both things going on. There are people who believe their kids are ready and want more rigor for their children and there are other people who fear the stress more rigor puts on their kids. Some of the group that fears the stress also feel compelled to place kids in gate even if the kids aren’t happy or successful in the program. I have often wondered why all these critics of the program have had kids in it. Why didn’t they simply not put them in or take them out? It seems some of the resentment stems from parents feeling compelled to have their kids compete at the most rigorous level. I know of some whose kids had a terrible time in the program but wouldn’t take the kids out. Instead they felt that the program shouldn’t exist. One even railed about “Tiger Moms.” Yet on the other hand the program has more people who want to be in it than placements available.

    At the bottom of it is the community has never decided who the program is for. Is it for those who want rigor or the subset that don’t function well in the classroom environment? Until we decide that we will struggle with the remaining questions of identification, number of sections and where the program will be housed. Right now the board majority seems to be leaning toward the subset who struggle in the classroom but they haven’t figured out how to differentiate those students from high test scorers so you end up with a muddled program. Also they haven’t ever made their case to a divided community where a large group of parents believe their kids need or want them to have more rigor.

    Maybe the divide is racial and maybe it is educational level of the parents. Maybe it is both. It matters little. Until the district does what it needs to do and has continuously failed to do, reach a consensus on how to proceed, this program will continue to generate more heat than light and consume this school board’s time and energy dominating its agenda and reducing its ability to deal with many other pressing needs.

    I believe a solution exists but that neither side has been willing to seek it. The dismantling of the gate advisory committee might have been needed as they had been unable, over a long period of time, to reach that consensus. However, the board failed to replace it with anything. Now the only place to discuss these differences became board meetings where this issue has now consumed countless hours. The big failure was not creating a subcommittee as Fernandes suggested preferably, in my opinion, with Sunder and Lovenburg to try to figure out a path forward. The board majority instead chose the path of majority rule, as is their prerogative, but, they then shouldn’t be complaining about the push back they are receiving, in all its forms, from people who feel they aren’t being listened to or their concerns aren’t being addressed.

    1. DavisAnon

      The Advisory committee is only dysfunctional because the superintendents have made it so. The committee members have been outright forbidden from giving any “advice” to the Board or administration by Matt Best and Clark Bryant. Votes (even counts of split votes) have been prohibited  for the past couple years since Roberson hijacked the committee and prohibited the AIM coordinator from having any significant input.

      The parents and teachers continue to attend but are extremely frustrated at the total disdain the superintendents show for their dedication. At the last meeting, committee members again pleaded with Best and Bryant  to be allowed to at least be allowed to vote and/or give cursory some input  as to how to implement the Board’s rulings, but the superintendents once again said they’d get back to the committee with an answer next time (which will be the last meeting until fall).

      There is absolutely no respect of parent or teacher voice or representation under this so-called leadership – Board or administration. It is time for much-needed change.

    2. Marina Kalugin

      Good point.  REHIRE Deanne and then LISTEN to THE expert…

      All of these dodos who have NO clue are acting like THEY know something..

      Says a mother who took time away from HER MBA to take EARLY childhood education when faced with brilliant children…took MANY units on the gifted and talented to make sure her children were not disadvantaged…

      Who continued to learn and understand as the years and now decades went along – it is NOT easy….and STILL is not easy for some of the MOST brilliant.

      Listen to Deanne..  LISTEN to Debbie Nichols-Poulos….do NOT listen to idiots who think Common Core is a good idea…

      Listen to PARENTS who have lived and STILL live it.

      LOOK AROUND and see the children suicides….and WAKE up..

      Get THESE idiots OFF the board…  THANK GOD that the most idiotic superintendent of ALL times is GONE>>>

      That MAY be an exaggeration but it is the TRUTH since I came to Davis as a 17 yo UCD student….and was ALWAYS involved….

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

      1. wdf1

        MK:  REHIRE Deanne and then LISTEN to THE expert…

        Deanne Quinn’s AIM/GATE identification gave us, this year, 2% of students from families with high school diploma or less, and 82% of students from families with graduate/professional degrees.  She seemed to be more careful about yielding more balance among AIM-identified students from among the free/reduced lunch program, by race/ethnicity, and ELL status.  Do you think that kind of demographic profile is acceptable?  If so, why?

         

        1. Don Shor

          Deanne Quinn’s AIM/GATE identification gave us, this year

          She was not responsible for this year’s selection.
          The district responded to a lawsuit by developing a different testing method that yielded a broader demographic mix. They had no choice.

          Do you think that kind of demographic profile is acceptable? If so, why?

          Maybe you could answer your own question.
          The current trajectory will probably lead to another lawsuit, further diminishing of the program numbers, and eventually elimination of self-contained GATE. Do you think that is acceptable? If so, why?

        2. wdf1

          Don Shor:  She was not responsible for this year’s selection.

          I cite the demographic profile of the AIM students currently enrolled (2015-16) in an AIM class, grades 4-9.  Deanne Quinn was coordinator for most or all of the years that identified those classes of students. I apologize that I wasn’t clearer.

          1. Don Shor

            What demographic profile would you find acceptable, and how would you propose to go about achieving it? What is the basis for your concern, if any, about who the parents are of the children identified for GATE?

        3. wdf1

          Don Shor:  What is the basis for your concern, if any, about who the parents are of the children identified for GATE?

          College education in Davis is a social privilege and advantage.  By separating students in this way by parent education level, when parents and their kids quit interacting with residents of the community who are less socially advantaged, then they are likely to care less about their welfare and success.

          In the same way that you are likelier to be more tolerant of homosexuals if you personally know someone who is gay, you (or your kids) would be more understanding of what it’s like to live as a family without the privilege of education if you personally knew a family in that situation.

          That’s my concern.

  13. Marina Kalugin

    I do NOT believe the divide is racial…  Back when I was accepted to Lowell HS in the early 60s, the GIRLS were required to have an A- in Junior High plus test scores, and the boys a B+ in Junior High plus lower scores…    LOLLLLllll

    Some decades later, all of a sudden the school was almost ALL asian…and EVERYONE was A+ and brilliant….then the laws were being changed to only allow “some students” from EACH neighborhood school  and people were lying which neighborhood THEY lived in and then at some point it got to RACE…as MOST neighborhoods  in SF  became asian…

    There were lawsuits and reverse discrimination law suits..

    That was before the TECH boom showed up in SF…. for MANY years the south bay was WAY more expensive than SF>….and that created the boom in SF as living in the south bay was now way more expensive…and then the HOUSING boom in SF>…

    Anyone recall the BAKKE case involving UCDMC ?   I believe that was 60s or 70s…?

    Kinda the SAME thing…but really, it is always the same thing….HISTORY< my friends repeats and many never learn a single lesson…

  14. vanguardfan

    wdf1:  “If you are a college educated parent, you get treated one way in the district.  If you have less than a college education, you get treated differently.”

    I must disagree here.  I believe that all parents in this district get treated equally–like crap.

    1. wdf1

      vanguardfan:  I must disagree here.  I believe that all parents in this district get treated equally–like crap.

      If you are a college-educated parent and the district treats you like crap, then you have a better chance to step in and intervene or supplement what your child isn’t getting from the district.  You are also likelier to figure out how to get the most from the district for your child, whatever the district has to offer.  If you aren’t college-educated and the district treats you like crap, your ability to help your child is much more limited and maybe non-existent.

      That said, I think the district has generally treated my family well, but I concede that I have seen examples where this wasn’t the case, and it was for families lacking college education.

      The reason that the issue of how families with lower education fare in the district matters is that post high school education (for most, college) is a hallmark of social mobility.  If a kid with parents who don’t have more than a high school education has an increasingly difficult or impossible chance of making it to college, or an equivalent path, then our society loses social mobility, which has been a part of the American narrative.

  15. Marina Kalugin

    That is increasingly accurate, wdf1.

    As a young woman, I ALWAYS did MY own research even back then…..and I figured out what exams to take when and how to get into UCD back when I was applying in the late 60s…

    My parents, both brilliant engineers, with decent English skills did NOT have a clue how to maneuver the much simpler application process even back in those days…

    Fast forward a few decades, and when my parents had to take in my nephew after my brother and his mother divorced, they struggled to give HIM proper advice….

    Now HE is in HIS thirties, still dependent on grandma….never got past JC>…..a brilliant guy and yet totally stifled without people in HIS life who knew the ropes, kept up and could advise…..

    I didn’t even realize the extent of That until LAST year when I was spending MUCH more time with him due to other family issues and crises….

    His sister, who was raised by her mother, got scholarships to Cal Poly AND graduated in 4….  she was adopted by the man who married the mother….

    I was truly shocked by what I found out….and I tried to help HIM get his act together, get a job and go back to school.

    Even that turned out not to be easy… and he is now turning 34  this year….and still with no real skills and no real job opportunities in the bedroom community where he lives now…

    He, like the others in my family, was also a GATE qualified child….he spent his years in a regular classroom and was ALWAYS bored…..

    Those who do NOT get GATE when they are still young and curious and still WANTING to learn, become like the many bright and aimless 30 something boys who are increasingly still living at home and do NOT have any future planned…..

    All of THESE things are VERY personal to ME…and that is WHY I speak out so much…and share these stories….

    Those who think I am NOT on students side, know NOTHING about the lengths I have and will go to for ANYONE I see struggling….at UCD< or elsewhere….

    Asperger’s was NOT even diagnosed years ago…and now it is a REALLY  big thing….

    Those who think the gifted do NOT need support of GATE will only be seeing WAY more of those who cannot find THEIR way…

     

     

     

     

     

     

  16. Marina Kalugin

    that is why I continue to FIGHT for GATE for all, get rid of COMMON core and INCREASE student support for those who are disadvantaged…..

    That includes REAL food for meals and none of the garbage the government subsidizes….for ALL children…

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