Office For Civil Rights Opens Investigation into Whether AIM Program is Discriminatory

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OCR

One of the biggest complaints about the changes to the AIM program was the drastic reduction in the participation, particularly by black and Hispanic students, in the new program compared to the old program.

Through its Yolo Leaks site, the Vanguard was tipped off to the fact that the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) was investigating the school district.  The Vanguard through a public records request (PRA) has now received a copy of the June 16 letter to former Superintendent Winfred Roberson.

The allegations are laid out in the letter as: “The Recipient is discriminating against students on the basis of race /national origin by implementing policies and procedures that result in an underrepresentation of African American, Latino, and English Learner (EL) students in the Recipient’s gifted and talented program, known as the Alternative Instructional Model (AIM).”

Second, “The Recipient is discriminating against students on the basis of disability by implementing policies and procedures that will result in an underrepresentation of students with disabilities in the Recipient’s AIM program.”

In the letter, the OCR notes, “We have determined that the allegations stated above are appropriate for investigation under the laws enforced by OCR. OCR will proceed with resolution of the complaint.”

The Vanguard reported on Friday that the district made reference to this investigation.

John Bowes, the new Superintendent, indicated, “We routinely comply with such requests for information from regulators and we’ll certainly comply with the law and are committed to offering equitable access to all of our programs.”

Superintendent Bowes stated that, in the past year and a quarter, the district has carefully examined the program, what its qualifiers are, and adjusted accordingly, making revisions to what he called “processes and procedures.”

“We have been remaining transparent in doing this and our assessment of these programs continues and we plan to present further refinements to the board, later in 2016, and we look forward to any comments that the Department of Education has for us on that.”

As the Vanguard has reported, the final AIM number not only saw a reduction from 146 down to 72 students, but the number of black and Hispanic students fell heavily.

Back in March, Madhavi Sunder, the board president, asked her colleagues, “Are the racial demographics acceptable?” She suggested we put a pause button on the 98th percentile

Barbara Archer would explain that she was “not ready to talk about the 98th percentile” issue. She also was not prepared to argue that the numbers of blacks and Latinos were unacceptable until the district had finalized numbers.

Alan Fernandes directly stated that he “doesn’t find the demographics acceptable,” but he did hear that the district was looking into ways to change it. He said he is not married to this approach and would be willing to support a change down the road.

Susan Lovenburg expressed concerns “that the protocol put in place hasn’t matched the diversity of the district as she hoped that it would.”

This spring, Ms. Lovenburg told the Vanguard, “I believe we are making good progress with reforms to the AIM assessment protocol, and I’m pleased we’ve been able to achieve some measure of consensus on the board in doing so.”

She reiterated, “I do have a concern that the protocol is not yet identifying an AIM cohort that matches the student demographic profile of our district.  I reject the notion that some races or ethnicities have a higher incidence of giftedness than others.”

Alan Fernandes told the Vanguard that, while he is “generally pleased with the AIM reforms relating to the elimination of private testing, transparency of the identification process, and the expanded use of multiple testing measures,” he has continued concern “about underrepresentation of the Black and Latino population.”

However, he added, “I am no less concerned about the impact of the identification process and the program on this population of students than I was even before our School Board unanimously passed these reforms.”

He told the Vanguard, “I do, however, believe that it is too early to make final conclusions of the policy as it has not been fully implemented, but certainly if adjusting the cut off disproportionately and negatively impacts any student population I would consider changing the test cutoff to ensure a better outcome for all of our students.”

Tom Adams, likewise, was hopeful for the new process with regard to consistency and transparency, but he added, “As for African American and Latino/Latina students, this is an ongoing concern and we will need to have the most appropriate assessment for identifying all of our AIM students. The AIM Assessment Team ensures a variety of educators are involved in the identification of students.”

This spring, the board was not willing to pause the implementation of the 98th percentile that would potentially further reduce diversity in the program.

The question is what the OCR will conclude in their investigation.

The OCR has asked the district to provide the following:

  • A narrative response to the allegations contained in this complaint, including a written explanation of the changes to the District’s Alternative Instructional Model (AIM) program for the 2016-2017 school year.
  • The name, title, office address, email address, and telephone number (of the individuals) designated to coordinate the District’s AIM program.
  • A narrative description of AIM services provided at District schools
  • Copies of all written District policies and procedures governing the nomination, referral, testing, evaluation, rescreening, selection and assignment of students for participation in AIM for the 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17 school years. Include any forms used by the District.
  • A narrative description of each step in the screening, referral and identification process for the District’s AIM programs. Describe any committees/teams who participate in the process and the calendar of committee/team meetings.
  • What is the annual timeframe to make referrals for AIM consideration?
  • How do the committees/teams report to the District about identified students?
  • A description of each category under which students may qualify for AIM services or programs.
  • For each category under which students may qualify for AIM services or programs, include a description of each factor that is considered in making the decision and the relative weight of each factor (such as verbal and non-verbal tests, grades/report cards, standardized tests, teacher/staff recommendation, parent recommendation, portfolio assessment, IQ testing, creative ability, and any other criteria used for referral, evaluation, or qualification).

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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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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100 thoughts on “Office For Civil Rights Opens Investigation into Whether AIM Program is Discriminatory”

  1. Misanthrop

    In other words they want to examine the entire record. Putting this together is going to be a lot of work and who knows what the outcome will be. Also I wonder what they are going to say about the district practice of destroying the tests. Of course this would have been avoided if they had filled a third section with kids at the margin as Fernandes suggested but the board majority refused to have more than two despite being asked by the diverse and lopsided majority of speakers for a third strand at North Davis the first choice of most of the parents.

    One thing I don’t know is why the principal at North Davis left. Did killing the gate program there make him consider his options? The other question is will this effect the school board election in November?

  2. Marina Kalugin

    it is  >>>>>and for anyone interested in docs going back to the early 80s, you can contact ME>…I don’t have time to look for them however, so you will also have to go through many boxes in my storage area to find them…

    you may need to search myriads of emails on several old harddrives going back to the 80s also…

    Have a good day all….  AIM  (the stupid “pc” acronym – developed by and for idiots)  was much less diverse and is FAR more discriminatory….(caps for emphasis)…

    since I am on leave before I retire, I will have more time to devote to this issue again…sighh…perhaps….maybe????

    And, everyone on the current school board has got to go….Sunder, you are hanging on by only a thread….enough said…

    The only hope for any of the idiot incumbents is to reinstate Deanne, if she wants to return, prior to the election….

    the policy of “no private” testing is a killer to non-english language speakers…. my oldest son learned a different language prior to English…..but he was completely fluent in both in a few years….

    etc….

  3. Marina Kalugin

    time for the only guy who ran LAST time  (who had a clue and it was not Poppenga)   to throw his hat in the ring  – anyone remember his name?

    the only one to stand up against Common Core  – the unproven garbage most davis students are now subjected to..

    and the one who actually had a clue about GATE…his daughter was in it.

    I do not recall his name, but those that do, please let him know he is needed to run again…

    Poppenga thought Common Core was a “good thing”…….nahhhh…wrong answer…..have you changed your tune yet?????….

    Also, John Munn,  please run…I will support you again…like I have in the past….

    Debbie Nichols-Poulos, please run….I know you have some issues, but I will help you with those also…

    If you are for GATE, against the Common Core and need financial backing, please let me know…

    back to work for now…cya all…

  4. Marina Kalugin

    ps.   I am reviving the old group PACE….    and those who are interested in joining up, please contact me by email….or ask my friends….

    we saved Deanne’s job twice before…and we got parental choice back when some idiots got “fuzzy math” put in (instead of traditional Algebra) back in the early 90s….and other such causes…

    I cannot take this on alone, though, and others will have to do much of the work…. I am stretched WAY too thin…but I cannot walk by a true opportunity to set things right again… LOL…

    PS> and stop listening to idiots who think they know something, ask the only REAL expert left in town who still gives a F…and that is Deanne….

      1. Marina Kalugin

        really, for someone who claims to understand something about education, it is all related…

        one can study “logic” and “how to think” and such at the graduate level, and see why I do what I do…it is all part of the picture…part of the total…and yet, it is all interrelated…

        students at young level can be “taught to think” but some never get it…

        different minds work differently…those who rise to higher levels of education have proven they can think and analyze at that level…usually….but not always…

        some are never going to get it…their minds simply cannot process the volume of data fast enough to be able to keep up and notice the similarities nor differences…

        thus, some become artists and others attorneys, not that there is anything wrong with either of those occupations…

         

         

  5. Tia Will

    and stop listening to idiots who think they know something”

    And on this point alone, we are in complete agreement. Although I would not use the word “idiots” to describe those who simply have a different point of view.

  6. Barack Palin

     “I do have a concern that the protocol is not yet identifying an AIM cohort that matches the student demographic profile of our district.

    Yes, it looks like blacks, Latinos and whites are all underrepresented.

    1. Misanthrop

      Of course you want to go there chiming in with underrepresented whites but it turns out you are closer to the mark than you know. It seems there is much resentment about asian-american students outcompeting white kids. When you see all these people who are against the gate program its mostly a white scene as is the school board majority that supports gutting the gate program. Yet many of these same parents have had kids in the gate program or want their kids in it if it exists. I think its because they feel compelled to have their kids compete then resent how hard it is to do so and how unhappy their kids are as a result of being in the program. There is a simple solution for those who don’t like the program don’t put your kids in it. Many people already make that choice.

      1. Marina Kalugin

        any other Lowell HS alums here?

        read and weep of the decades long struggles in SF related to this same topic…

        we have a website there…we had to stop the SF school board for mandating common core math for HS….which would mean NO AP math courses ever at a HS which outranks DHS for it’s complete existence in the numbers of AP courses taken per student, and passed, and passed with the highest marks..

        PS>   I am WHITE and yet, because of where I was born, I am lumped in with Asians….LOL>….hello….

         

      2. Barack Palin

        Of course you want to go there chiming in with underrepresented whites but it turns out you are closer to the mark than you know.

        I’m on the mark, not just closer than you think I think.  How can the school board chime in about underrepresented students just pointing out blacks and Latinos and also not include whites which are also in that category?

        1. Misanthrop

          Whites are driving the changes in the program and they are well represented on the school board. That is why they don’t need to bring it up they already control the agenda.

      3. MrsW

        When you see all these people who are against the gate program its mostly a white scene as is the school board majority that supports gutting the gate program. 

        Liberal white people have been advocates for integrated classrooms, the only statistically proven method for schools to close the achievement gap.  Liberal white people then become  flummoxed, when the historically unrepresented groups they have integrated don’t want to stay integrated.  Individuals from historically unrepresented groups become flummoxed when they “make it” into the exclusive group, their presence engenders scrutiny, exposes the exclusive group’s shenanigans, and now no one gets to participate in the shenanigans.

        1. Marina Kalugin

          good points MrsW…..thank you…..

          often it is the liberal white kids parents who cry out on the behalf of those who don’t give a damn…

          then, you are correct, when their kid doesn’t even get in to UCD  – they are aghast….

          until some years ago, nearly every DHS grad who had grades and scores and wanted in to UCD got in……

          then in 2004 it was a slam in the face for a couple of white boys who were floored they didn’t “get in”…

          never mind that the many others who did “get in”

          because of being the first in the family to attend college and other such “criteria”….

          were barely competitive to these Davis white boys….

          well…talk about flummoxing…

          Bakke all over again,  kinda similar but different….now it is done openly and knowingly and even has lotsa pages of documents and wordage to “explain” to the common folk why that is all needed and wanted and such a good thing to “create” diversity…

          no matter, that white girls, and girls of color have long ago bypassed the white boys on just about any scoring mechanism, from the % admitted, to those graduating….to those having decent jobs upon graduation to just about any other statistic one could rustle up….

           

        2. wdf1

          MK:  Bakke all over again,  kinda similar but different….now it is done openly and knowingly and even has lotsa pages of documents and wordage to “explain” to the common folk why that is all needed and wanted and such a good thing to “create” diversity…

          What UC’s do now that they didn’t used to do very much/at all was admit based on income level situation of the family, and whether the applicant is a first-generation college student or not.

          For instance, last July in the Enterprise, this was reported for UCD:

          Students who would be the first in their families to graduate from college made up 42.1 percent of admitted applicants, and those from low-income households were 36.4 percent. For UCD, first-generation college student admission offers equaled 35.3 percent, and low-family-income admission offers made up 31.5 percent.  source

          An easier pathway for students who don’t fall in those categories, don’t have super-high admissions credentials (GPA, standardized test scores, etc.), but still want a UC diploma is to go to a California community college and transfer in to a UC campus.  It’s still a UC diploma, and the diploma doesn’t say how the student got into a UC campus.

        3. wdf1

          I meant to add that identifying students as “first generation” (parents don’t have college education) is something that is done more often at the college/university level in the U.S.  In California, it’s a designation that isn’t made so frequently at the K-12 level.

        4. MrsW

          I was trying to say that white people are advocating for integration.

          Integration is has proven to reduce the achievement gap. Proven.

          Therefore, pulling students out into a self-contained curriculum should not be a decision made lightly.  There are cases, however, where it is very helpful and families are grateful that the opportunity was there.

          That said, many of us have had experiences where we regret pulling our kids out of the regular program.  Don’t be surprised, if you also find it isn’t so great for your kid.  Hope you all can learn from us, too.

  7. Marina Kalugin

    of course, Tia, once again, you have a differing view…and of course, you will go to great lengths to prove how right you are..

    in this matter, the truth will out, and those who continue to make such poor decisions will be under the bus…

    back when GATE was properly identified as “special needs”….full statistics had to be kept and reported..

    at the time there was extra funding for all of the extra workload ..

    of course, I have no idea when that all stopped….

    Aspergers, and other autism spectrum, is now rampant in this country….  many Aspergers identified are in the GATE classes…

    I am using that term, as that is the standard term throughout this country….and AIM is only a “local” term which fails to adequately describe the challenges of those who are off the charts in some ways, and have more than the typical amount of challenges in other regards….

     

  8. Marina Kalugin

    I have high hopes for this new superintendent…hopefully he will ensure that the first order of business will be to reinstate Deanne,

    correctly identify discussions related to GATE by using proper terminology…

    get rid of common core, or at minimum allow parental choice for “traditional” classes instead of that unproven garbage

    (now it is proven…at least anecdotally in Davis…. that bright students who loved math, now need tutors to be paid to force them to do the homework)…

    lesse….does he have veto rights for when the board does stupid stuff?   he should….

    that is a start  – how quickly he accomplishes some of the above will show his competence out of the GATE   he he pun intended…

  9. SODA

    Who IS running the AIM program now? Here we go again with confusion as to what the program should be designed to achieve; who should be in it and really why (my feeling is high potential students who for various reasons cannot thrive in a regular classroom). Last time we started this discussion we got bogged down in what the program should be for. Historically it became something else (enrichment for high achieving) and to be something else the cut score was lowered and private testing was allowed. Parents fought to have their kids enrolled because they thought it gave them more than a regular curriculum and it probably did. So we are back to what should it be and how can non AIM classes enrich all students who are in them?

    1. Marina Kalugin

      SODA<   you are not going back far enough…and that is why you post clueless stuff….like the above….

      why should a student in Davis be subjected to higher cutoffs than all surrounding towns….really?

      ass backwards…

      and why should someone who is too smart for common core have that as an only option in this town????

      if 40 % of Davis students qualify, why should they be discriminated against…????

      why are they not allowed accelerated courses?   hello….

      statistics are manipulated to show that there are “too many qualified in Davis”…hello …

      anyone notice that the population, the parents, are highly educated as a general rule, not an exception..

      in that type of environment, and also some generics also play a part, though I am a firm believer in environment trumps genetics, it is not unrealistic for a huge % to be at the top of the scale..

      the scale was not designed for Davis …it was designed for the US or broader….

       

      1. SODA

        Marina, I don’t appreciate being called clueless. Please refrain from intentional disrespecting those of us on the DV who disagree with you.  I do not think you understood my point which was again, the district needs to decide what the goal of the AIM/Gate program is and that will determine better how to assess kids. My child was in Gate in LA and in Davis and I feel she benefited. Would she have done ok not in Gate; probably. But her behavioral issues and her test scores were such that she I think qualified for a high potential but difficulty in normal class.

        Please reread your posts and be kinder. Thank you.

        1. Delia .

          I’m amused that Marina claims she is so busy, 24/7, and how much she has on her plate, like others aren’t equally as busy…

          Yet she has time to insult others, and write for hours on this website…

  10. MrsW

    The OCR has asked the district to provide the following:  a NARRATIVE…. this… a NARRATIVE… that….

    Dear OCR: Please check the math.  Your concern is about numbers.

      1. MrsW

        Universal testing of third graders was instituted in 2004 in response to concerns about the GATE Classroom demographics.  That was 12 years ago.  For 12 years, DJUSD has been trying to get the numbers right.  For 12 years, DJUSD has tried to use only numbers to screen for student qualification and, for 12 years, DJUSD and its stakeholders have tried to use only numbers to evaluate whether or not they are achieving their goals.

        Given this history, why an evaluation using only words? For that matter, on what basis does OCR have to only look at the past 4 years?

        1. Tia Will

          MrsW

          For 12 years, DJUSD has been trying to get the numbers right.”

          A very, very basic question for you. If it is true as Don Shor and others have stated that it does not cost the district any more to run an AIM classroom than any other classroom, then why not just do the universal testing and any other supplemental testing felt equitable in case of language or other disparity, and simply run as many AIM classrooms as there are qualifying students. Why all the estimation, determination of the “right” numbers, wait lists and contention ?

        2. MrsW

          I think that the right numbers, wait lists and contention partly has to do with language.  Children are sorted into two groups, AIM and non-AIM.  The word “non-AIM” implies something is missing.  It is an interesting exercise to imagine what if the labels were reversed and students in the regular classrooms were, say, “STARS” and students in the AIM classrooms were “non-STARS,” how would this conversation change?

          DJUSD has only been willing to use (and I believe abuse) screening NUMBERS to qualify students into the “in” group.  [Or is it “out”?] Numbers they have regularly tweaked without controls in place.  They also have an administrative reality that a classroom is made up of 29-32 students.  There is talk about the program being “on-demand,” but that isn’t exactly true.  In practice, it has been managed by picking the number of strands first, then filling the available slots.  In years where the demand was low, they found students to fill the slots; had a classroom run with less than 29 students, AIM would have cost more.

          If OCR were to take an honest look at our program a finding should be that DJUSD needs to include some kind of qualitative assessment in building their classrooms, AIM and non-AIM.  With respect to AIM, I think Don Shore makes sense below “[DJUSD]…change the testing and selection process to consider (not prioritize, just factor in) the likely demographics, assign some level of subjective control to principals if necessary. “

      2. wdf1

        I can see the point behind asking for a narrative.  And I imagine a narrative would include numbers.  Numbers alone may not mean much.  A narrative gives an explanation of the thinking in responding to numbers.

    1. Marina Kalugin

      narrative is kinda like “fuzzy math”…since the child isn’t getting the concepts, he can get credit for “writing” about math, or “drawing pictures” about math….

      also, with a narrative, one can better talk a storm of nonsense to try to explain away why the nonsensical “decisions” made actually somehow make sense when “analyzing” the numbers…

      of course, if there was a better option than common core, it wouldn’t be such an issue…

      oh yes, “thinking”…and LOL…. good word…the narrative should explain the “thinking”…. ha ha

      back in the day, when there was only one class per grade, many students and parents chose to stay at the “neighborhood school”….and provide the additional educational support through outside learning…

      now the only alternative is horrific…

      that is what a truly marvelous job our esteemed board members and departed superintendent have created in this town…   oh well…

  11. Misanthrop

    The board selection protocol never resolved whether it was for high achievers or for those who didn’t do well in the regular classroom but I’m not sure that is what OCR is going to be looking at. OCR is probably going to be looking at changing the selection process in a way that excluded blacks and latinos since there is no quantitative way of determining who is gifted. The irony is that Fernandes made a motion to fill a third section with underrepresented minorities, who scored at the margin, but the board said no likely triggering an OCR complaint that is probably going to result in a consent decree that will do the same thing but after much grief in the district office. The other possibility is that the board will simply terminate the entire program despite claiming they would not do that. An interesting question for the candidates.

  12. Marina Kalugin

    back in the late 60s (while I was attending Lowell HS in SF)  there was a very famous case named “Bakke versus Bakke”  (sp)   or some such…it involved my alma mater (UCD)

    …some in the legal world may be familiar..

    some in the education world may be familiar

    some old timers in Davis may be familiar

    some on this thread may have a clue  – some not…

    does anyone give a “F? ”

    not likely, but if one were to truly study that important piece of case law, if you don’t have a clue, you might get one..

    As a “high achiever,  and fortunately not “Aspergers”  I loved to get into things into such depth when they interested me…

    When I wasn’t marching or protesting, I always had tons of time to allot to my passions, as schoolwork came easily, and I needed to keep busy to not be bored….my interests which have changed throughout the years as I grew and experienced many things.. include many broad categories even to this day…

    As a UCD student, I took some law classes, in addition to my pre-med coursework, in addition to my engineering classes and management classes, and the beekeeping, landscape architecture,  Russian language, literature, and history….and so on…

    at the graduate level, I studied early childhood education when my first born was off any chart….and so on…personnel management, personnel law and so on…

    I have been on many a side of many issues…..as I learn more, then I may change my mind as to the accuracy of the “prevailing” research and what the “experts” are agreeing on…

    anyone here familiar with Title IX????   that was used to get rid of some programs for men and to be replaced with sports for women…never mind the men wanted those sports, and the women couldn’t care less about what was trotted out in the stead….

    if you have not deeply researched, and taken the college or grad school coursework on these kinda topics, please do not waste the time of those of us who have….just read a book, use duckduckgo…and otherwise get a clue..

    However, even UCD had a math department for some years that was heavily split between the “traditional” math professors, and those who thought fuzzy math was gonna cure those who could grasp the concepts….unfortunately, that resulted in the bright math students ailing the subject and so on….

    One size rarely fits all…that is why there should be options, choices, and none of the mandates that “all have to do common core”  unless they are “AIM identified”….

    I am truly thrilled to see this investigation…and it will be very interesting what the outcomes will show…

     

     

     

    1. wdf1

      MK: back in the late 60s (while I was attending Lowell HS in SF)  there was a very famous case named “Bakke versus Bakke”  (sp)   or some such…it involved my alma mater (UCD)

      Late 60’s?  UC Regents v. Bakke was 1978.  Unless somehow you refer to another case.

        1. Marina Kalugin

          yeah, and HE was getting screwed around earlier also…and, that is all you have to quibble about?  the date…again, missing the point of the thread….  really?????

        2. Marina Kalugin

          I am happy to get fact checked…I don’t have decent wifi someplaces and no time either….folks can question everything…

          and, I have been wrong many a time….for example, I had no idea that GATE was no longer classified as “special needs”….wow….missed that completely in the years since my children graduated HS>>>..

          I always encouraged my staff to speak up and question…sometimes even throwing in something absurd to see who is on top of it….

          my staff got very good at that…and some have actually caught me in some of that on a very early thread…..

          the one where I was sharing a lot of useless info about the role of idiots in Russian lit…  he he….. trying to lighten the mood….

          PS>  Bakke was already noticing the stress during his undergrad years…and the severe competition and such…..  somehow I became of it way earlier than it was actually filed, but yes, that was how many decades ago?

           

        3. hpierce

          Marina… if you refer to “the Idiot” by Dostoevsky, I seem to recall that your use of the term “idiot” is egregiously inappropriate…

          For all, http://www.online-literature.com/dostoevsky/idiot/

          Y’all can decide for yourselves how to put in context,

          the one where I was sharing a lot of useless info about the role of idiots in Russian lit…  he he….. trying to lighten the mood….

          To me, not “enlightening”…

      1. Miwok

        Right, wdf1. At that time I was working in the San Juan Unified where I worked on these types of Evaluations, more statistical surveys, really, but the tests for the staff and students.

        My girlfriend at that time was Valedictorian of a Sacramento High School yet could not get into UCD for the same reasons. She got a part time job, spent a couple years at Community colleges, and then transferred to graduate in 1984.  She also had to move into a small apartment and apply as “economically disadvantaged”.

        Today the games are the same, and after five years in a high school program at UCD that was just a summer program, I got to look at many transcripts for entry to the program. Many schools pad the average, to where kids get 5.0 averages, yet are no smarter than others. Maybe they are, they are pretty bright, but as a part of the program, I find that spelling and vocabulary are lacking, like many schools now.

        They have a lot of Stage Parents, who advocate for them, show up, try to bribe and intimidate, lobby for their kids. In the real world, I guess this is normal, but trying to treat them all fairly is hellish. Some were from Davis, some were even colleagues at the University.

    2. Tia Will

      the men wanted those sports, and the women couldn’t care less about what was trotted out in the stead….”

      It would appear that you were not acquainted with any of the women who certainly did want sports that were not available to them. I was not an athlete, but knew many women who were, and were thwarted by the distribution of sports funding at the time. There is a huge difference between “couldn’t care less” and being deterred from an early age to pursue your goals because everyone says that “girls aren’t good at sports” or “boys won’t like girls who can outrun, or out throw or out swim them”. Ironic that you should bring this up at a time when we are seeing women athletes shine at the Olympics.

       

  13. Don Shor

    The Board has made a serious blunder here. They discussed the possible demographic impact of the changes in testing and selection protocol. Dr. Sunder specifically addressed that at the time. They have the numbers that resulted from their decision. They discussed those numbers. Given an opportunity to change or delay the implementation in response to those numbers, they chose not to do so. Now they are facing an investigation by the federal government. At every stage of the process, as they discussed the testing options, they knew this was a likely outcome and even addressed that in public, on the record, as well as in interviews with the Vanguard.

    This could threaten the integrity and future of the Davis GATE program. Perhaps that was the intent of whoever filed the complaint. Or perhaps they sought the opposite outcome: reversal of the previous decision. We won’t know what their motives were. My concern is that the board may be reluctant to take corrective measures while this investigation is ongoing, and that could take  a very long time (anyone have any experience or information about how long it takes the Office of Civil Rights to conduct an investigation of this nature?).

    They really should rescind their previous actions, change the testing and selection process to consider (not prioritize, just factor in) the likely demographics, assign some level of subjective control to principals if necessary. The sooner they do that, the better. But I doubt the current board majority will take any action to resolve this demographic outcome. And there will certainly be those who will now argue that GATE should go because of this investigation.

  14. Marina Kalugin

    oops…..

    I guess my rude characterizations starting a few weeks ago are gonna be known as fact….oh well.

    and I have VHS tapes of school board meetings when Deanne was on the chopping block years ago…oh well….I’m sure those are still around also….sighhh…

  15. Marina Kalugin

    truly, get rid of the “opinions” of the not quite bright and let parents decide…

    let parents take their children wherever to a “competent and highly trained” expert for private testing and the school district should pay for it.

    the DJUSD should also pay for more training for teachers on GATE, and also pay for more GATE classrooms….that way all will truly not be discriminated against…

    demographics and such – what a stupid criteria….  the constant massaging of statistics is what gets one in trouble…

    fix the problems that a child from a poor, non-white family, cannot “compete”….start with good food and water…and so on…

  16. ryankelly

    A school in Sacramento was investigated for similar issues by the Office of Civil Rights. The District ended up resolving it be getting rid of self contained GATE classes altogether and changing completely to clustering and implementing differentiated instruction so that all students would have access to GATE education.  The Office was satisfied with this.

    1. Misanthrop

      Of course the DJUSD board majority said they didn’t want to kill the gate program so if they go that way it will be what the critics claimed they wanted to do but the board members denied.

    2. Don Shor

      The District ended up resolving it be getting rid of self contained GATE classes altogether and changing completely to clustering and implementing differentiated instruction

      What evidence do you have that they “implemented differentiated instruction”?

          1. Don Shor

            Looks like the same report. So:

            A schedule of professional development activities for teachers at the School during the 2014-15 school year to support high quality, differentiated instruction, including GATE certification activities.

            Basically no different than what DJUSD already claims to be doing. They just abandoned self-contained GATE at that school. My guess is that won’t fly here.

  17. Marina Kalugin

    and, so then one could ask…why are “more liberal” pathways needed….how is that fair for someone who studied hard, took the hard classes, and didn’t want to commute elsewhere..

    who didn’t have aspirations of attending ivies or higher ranked UCs…

    why should the white boy be at the losing end of a new “more liberal pathway”……

    Even worse, the counselors at DHS had no idea that the UC system would abruptly turn on the local kids…..so students and families were not prepared.

    Some didn’t even apply anywhere else, one had a good job in town so wanted to continue living here, helping the  single mother and work and help the family….yet, somehow – it was truly unexpected and quite traumatic when that happened the very first year…

    It was so bad that one child of a friend got admitted to Brown, but not to a single UC…….true stories all…

    as usual, way more questions than answers…however, it will be fascinating to get the discussions going yet again….

    I am sure the board is looking forward to lots more long nights, right????

    1. Miwok

      What is sad to me is the “liberal” pathways, as you describe, have no plan. They don’t think about growing, only to keep their program small as long as their kids are in it. They don’t want the circle to get bigger, or change. Programs developed to serve “minorities” suddenly are not “good enough” when these people are suddenly in the minority, and the minorities now in charge are not thinking about how to serve minorities.

      Now even summer programs are being bribed to accept kids with corporate “donations”, because they promise “it will help” at application time. I imagine High Schools are just as vulnerable to these temptations.

      1. Marina Kalugin

        that is the difference, Miwok, between those of us who are true Nimby – types  and those who care about all students…if one cared about all students, one would want each program expanded to accommodate all who qualify….my children were in the GATE when there was a cap of 30 or so students per grade……and interestingly enough, those of us of that era, continued to push for expansion and inclusion…

        some of the parents at the time included Mariko Yamada and Don Saylor and many faculty from the College of Bio Sci, other names include Bob Seeger from UCD and others who were high level UCD administrators….such as Bob Shelton and his wife who was in Finance and so on…

        As a lowly staff member at the time, I was a little different…most of the parent colleagues of the other children were of PhD level….I was simply a masters drop out – never finished the “project” or “thesis” though completed all coursework when I had to head back to work as a “newly single” mother…

  18. Napoleon Pig IV

    After the wonderful job she and her minions have done downgrading the quality of public education in Davis, is anyone actually foolish enough to vote to re-elect Lovenburg?

      1. DavisAnon

        Coach Julie Crawford for starters.  The PR illusion that is our ‘district-wide’ differentiation (including the continuing lack of options for appropriate math placement in elementary). It appears to me she’s not willing to focus resources where needed to do good (MME) but thinks each school should just be treated the same – her constant pursuit of the ‘one room schoolhouse’ rather than cluster/ability grouping. Meeting with her as a parent is a farce as sho doesn’t have an open mind. That large waste of DJUSD known as ‘strategic planning’

        1. Marina Kalugin

          yes, so much wasted money by the “esteemed” school board and “former superintendent, who had his own agenda and it wasn’t liberty and justice for all”…., when they have a truly wonderful expert who they canned …..Deanne Quinn…..

          if anyone wants some real expert advice, by someone who truly was in the trenches for how many decades?   just ask her…and reinstate her and so on….

          Anyone on this truly miserable board who doesn’t see that, doesn’t deserve to be on the board….and can resign now or wait for the recall process ….as soon as I have some time…

        2. wdf1

          DA:   It appears to me she’s not willing to focus resources where needed to do good (MME) but thinks each school should just be treated the same…

          I’m having a hard time reconciling your example, MME, with your claim (it’s not getting focused resources).  For instance, MME has after school Bridge along with a full time bilingually fluent director/liaison, it operates with smaller average class sizes, and their grades 1-3 have a 30 minute longer school day compared to other elementary schools.

      2. Marina Kalugin

        wdf1:

        ok….the case will go to Common Core then….some will start screaming that is “off-topic”…not really, as that is the only other option for public school students in Davis….there is DSIS and the DaVinci Charter also….but for many students those are not really options.

        fortunately, there are private schools in Davis (Peregrine and St. James) which are growing and accepting the students whose parents can afford it..  used to be that one had to drive to Sacramento for the education one may want for their child……..the problems go back to the 90s   (at least that is when I got so heavily involved)….education for the bright who were locked out of GATE, that problem goes back to then…  thus, many would go to Catholic schools in Sac or other privates….because the problems in the system were already happening back then….it has just gotten worse….

         

        1. wdf1

          MK:  ok….the case will go to Common Core then….some will start screaming that is “off-topic”…not really, as that is the only other option for public school students in Davis….there is DSIS and the DaVinci Charter also….but for many students those are not really options.

          Not quite following you.  Common Core is state policy for public schools.

        2. Tia Will

          fortunately, there are private schools in Davis (Peregrine and St. James) which are growing and accepting the students whose parents can afford it”

          Key phrase, “whose parents can afford it”. Much like we have seen recently in the UC system where preference has been given to students whose parents “can afford it”. I see nothing fortunate about this situation.

          I honestly do not see how anyone can defend a system that does not provide the best resources for the learning style of all children, not just those whose parents are affluent, or well informed, or well connected, or persistent enough because they have the knowledge of how to manipulate the system for the advantage of their child.

        3. Marina Kalugin

          Tia, perhaps you missed where I keep saying that the issues need to be fixed so that families are not trying to bail out of the public schools?

        4. Marina Kalugin

          just because something is a current state mandate doesn’t make it a good thing for students …and that could also be either fixed, or more charter schools could be provided to truly offer real opportunities for those who do not qualify for GATE>…

        5. wdf1

          MK:  just because something is a current state mandate doesn’t make it a good thing for students…

          I don’t disagree, but I think you’re aiming at the wrong target to think that school board trustees can vote to opt out of Common Core without overly negative consequences.

          State mandated standardized tests assess Common Core standards.  State provides a large chunk of money to the district with strings attached, mainly following state mandates.

          We have also entered a vicious cycle in which new families look around for places to live, and of course the quality of the schools is one of the biggest factors.  The quality of the schools these days is measured most by the aggregated standardized test scores of the students.

          IMO, the bigger problem isn’t Common Core, it’s the increasing emphasis placed standardized tests, and that’s probably what is difficult for older parents (like you) to appreciate about today’s education system.  In that regards, we (the U.S.) are migrating to a Chinese style of education, and I don’t think it’s a good thing at all.  In a related issue, the way in which we go to convoluted extents to settle on the right way to define “giftedness,” the use standardized tests to determine which students fall into this category and which don’t, and how we respond to those test scores (separate students into a different classroom, used differentiated instruction, or ignore it all together) is a smaller scale version of this national problem.

        6. Marina Kalugin

          wdf1…..the massive increase in “standardized testing” is a key component of the common core, but started much earlier….

          I believe it started with the “no child left behind” nonsense which acted to leave many children behind….

          and, yes, it is way overdone and students miss out on many hours that could be better spent, another reason common core has got to go…

           

        7. wdf1

          MK:  I believe it started with the “no child left behind” nonsense which acted to leave many children behind….

          NCLB (No Child Left Behind) raised standardized testing to a higher level, but it was already ramping up prior to NCLB.  In 2000 the commonly referenced PISA test rankings started at an international level, but there were antecedents to that as well.  In these kinds of studies, going back as far as the 1960’s, the U.S. has regularly finished at the middle of the pack.

          A major reason that the U.S. doesn’t finish higher is that standardized test scores correlate most to family income level, which is often a proxy for parent education level.  The U.S. has a higher rate of childhood poverty than nearly every other industrialized country that participates.  But when such data is dis-aggregated by family income level, then the U.S. finishes strongly against other countries.  In other words, our upper income kids finish well compared to the upper income kids in other countries.  Our lower income kids finish well compared to the lower income kids in other countries.

    1. Ingrid Salim

      For the record, here and elsewhere, it is my perception that many DJUSD teachers and parents support the Board’s approach to build more integrated classrooms, which are, as MrsW has pointed out, PROVEN through research to be the best method in mass public education for lessening the achievement gap.  I understand that those posting on this issue here seem to represent those most wanting to preserve GATE, but the majority of teachers in DJUSD do not (many of whom are local voters) and many parents.  The term ‘minion’ that was introduced here months ago to describe those who support Susan Lovenburg is, like the term ‘idiot’ and other similar descriptives, a derogatory and disrespectful term.  I now rarely read these comments because too many people both post anonymously and seem to believe it is acceptable discourse to disparage others.  As an educator, modeling for our young people how to engage in civil discourse should also be in our sights, and as such, I encourage everyone who comments on these pages to be gracious, kind, and completely respectful of those holding other points of view.  It particularly detracts from any rational argument when an author stoops to name-calling.

      That said, I would make the claim that even just based on the last Board election, there are more voters in Davis who do not favor the GATE program as it stood, and who do support the changes that are made.  I would also make the claim that Lovenburg and Fernandez are therefore likely to be re-elected this Fall.  I would encourage all of us to dig deeper into the models and thinking of those those who have a different viewpoint on any issue, but right now specifically GATE.  The questions I believe people should have been asking from the beginning include:  What do WE mean by GATE and what is the mechanism by which any child becomes that (i.e., is it a genetic, inheritable trait what can be measured?  Is it a collection of skills and knowledge that result from advantages experienced by a child, i.e., college-educated parents, higher income?  What is the justification for a self-contained environment for any of these students, and for which students would such an approach be needed?  How can educators meet the needs of ALL students in an integrated setting, and what other supports are needed to supply resources to those who didn’t have them and to stimulate thinking and creativity for those who come it at a more advanced level?  What is the justification for an integrated learning environment, and what are the counter arguments to that.

      I would like to see these questions debated, in a wholly civil and rational matter.  I would never allow the name-calling that occurs so regularly on this site to be part of any dialogue or debate in my classroom, at any level.

      1. Don Shor

        The questions I believe people should have been asking from the beginning include: What do WE mean by GATE and what is the mechanism by which any child becomes that (i.e., is it a genetic, inheritable trait what can be measured? Is it a collection of skills and knowledge that result from advantages experienced by a child, i.e., college-educated parents, higher income? What is the justification for a self-contained environment for any of these students, and for which students would such an approach be needed? How can educators meet the needs of ALL students in an integrated setting, and what other supports are needed to supply resources to those who didn’t have them and to stimulate thinking and creativity for those who come it at a more advanced level? What is the justification for an integrated learning environment, and what are the counter arguments to that.

        What you are calling for appears to be a review of the philosophical underpinnings and the practices of gifted education in the Davis school district.

        I think history has shown that isn’t likely to proceed very effectively. But in particular, it is the Board’s responsibility to have that debate and to be open to it. And it would require trust.

        In fact, much of that kind of discussion has occurred on the Vanguard. Speaking just for myself, I have advocated they consider a cluster-grouping model for the majority of gifted-identified students, with the smaller percentage who need self-contained GATE continuing in smaller classes. The model I suggested they look at is what is used in San Diego. But that is just one alternative that has been put forth here during long discussions over many months.

        The problem is, it hasn’t seemed that the board majority is really open to the discussion you are proposing. More to the point, any full review of this sort should probably have occurred before they chopped the program in half and implemented changes that essentially eliminated the presence of minority children in it.

        “I would make the claim that even just based on the last Board election, there are more voters in Davis who do not favor the GATE program as it stood, and who do support the changes that are made.”

        You could be right about what a majority of parents feel. Or they may not care enough to have that determine how they vote. You could be right about what a majority of teachers feel, though I’ve certainly heard a very different set of views privately from GATE instructors. But regardless, when a popular and apparently successful program is substantially reduced in the face of serious opposition from those who are in it, you can expect there will be rancor.

        It’s time for a reset on GATE. The review you are calling for would be a good starting point. Right after they rescind the actions that they took.

      2. Misanthrop

        Ingrid,

        Sunder, the biggest advocate for the program won the election with 55% of the ballots marking her name. The anti-gate people won the most seats in a top three election but not the most votes for a seat.

        1. hpierce

          Yeah… it’s properly called “bullet voting”… had heard rumors that was “in play”, but had previously discounted those as I could not see a motivation… thank you for possible enlightenment…

        2. wdf1

          Misanthrop:  Sunder, the biggest advocate for the program won the election with 55% of the ballots marking her name. The anti-gate people won the most seats in a top three election but not the most votes for a seat.

          In making that statement, you assume that voters supported their school board candidates in 2014 based on their stances related to self-contained GATE.  I remember all candidates focusing on a broader array of issues.  I thought Sunder won because she ran a very strong campaign, not exclusively because of her views on GATE.  I did not perceive that the results of the 2014 school board election indicated any kind of referendum on GATE.

          It appears that Poppenga may have views about AIM/GATE that align with Sunder’s.  But I don’t think he would succeed as a candidate in November if he made his views about AIM/GATE the centerpiece of his campaign.  I think most voters in Davis who participate in school board elections don’t make GATE views the deciding factor in determining whom to vote for.

      3. Napoleon Pig IV

        Ingrid Salim said, “. .  modeling for our young people how to engage in civil discourse should also be in our sights, and as such, I encourage everyone who comments on these pages to be gracious, kind, and completely respectful of those holding other points of view.  It particularly detracts from any rational argument when an author stoops to name-calling.”

        Of course, that is a worth-sounding ideal. But, it is also important to teach our young people how to engage in critical thinking, including how to recognize a thing for what it is and name it accurately. Some might consider that to be insulting, but should a rat be insulted for being called a rodent? I think not. I’ll resist the temptation to comment further on why I consider the use of the term “minion” to be appropriate in this situation, since those who share my view “get it” and those who don’t are not likely to be persuaded in this forum.

        So, I respect your view and your request for civility but suggest that sometimes the truth sounds harsh and can be ultimately healing despite the pain in may engender. Peace.

  19. Marina Kalugin

    PS>   If the “office” becomes a problem, please let John Garamendi know….ha ha…  just looked up and saw his ad on the DV…..if anyone has an issue with any government office….contact him….

    Yes, my list is very long…need others to contact him also..

    John Garamendi, a really great personal friend as well as a friend of the UC>…a former Regent who had a clue, unlike some of the newer Gov Brown cronies,  and so it goes…

    We all now know who to contact……..

    when we get Mariko into the State Senate, she will be a voice also..

    Be smart, folks…don’t listen to the hype of the likes of Dodd….follow the money…and vote for those who have always been on the correct side of issues…who truly care, and who have voted appropriately…

    If you care about our children, grandchildren, AIM and opportunities for all ….for special ed, and so on….now is the time to mobilize…..

    there are only a few months until elections…and I am spread very thin these days…..it is up to those on this and other DV lists to make things happen….and it has to be now…this is the window that we have…

     

    1. ryankelly

      Marina,  I have difficulty taking endorsements or recommendations from someone who supports Trump. You should try to focus on the topic of the article.

        1. ryankelly

          I was speaking for myself.  I would also personnally disagree with your assertion.  I also feel that you didn’t get the point I was making to encourage Marina to stay on topic.

        2. Marina Kalugin

          I am still trying  to understand why the moderators of this blog site feel they can throttle first amendment rights?

          are they “for profit” or “nonprofit”….that makes a difference I understand..

          at the same time, those who speak out have their rights if this claims to be an unbiased media like site……and now we have tons of evidence of the improper throttling of amendment rights…

          I hope that someone is doing a full regular backup of the DV…………I mean in real time…a mirror site…which will track all changes and deletions as they are done…

          the evidence is within the real time backups…

          I am getting kinda irritated with the DV agenda….maybe they need to be investigated also….

           

        3. hpierce

          Marina… as I’ve offered before, I can get you a copy of the US Constitution and all the Amendments thereof… would have thought you’d have had to learn it given your accounts of how you came to be an American Citizen. Wonder if there is a ‘statute of limitations’ on that… for ‘reversal’…

          The First amendment applies to restrictions on Government… not private ‘enterprises’, nor individuals… thus, inapplicable to this forum.

          You have no “rights”, Constitutional nor otherwise, in this forum… you are obviously either mis-informed, or perhaps the very kind of “idiot” that you like to accuse others of being…

        4. Marina Kalugin

          gee, ms hp, given that English is my 3rd or 4th language, sometimes I get some of the terminology a bit ass backwards…but I can certainly count on some of the most clueless and most easily manipulated to come up with the answers I was seeking…in an attempt to put me down …..ha ha

          of course, likely you have not run a “non-profit” or even perhaps your “own business”….and thus, it is a truly important distinction..

          since David “accepts donations”…that points to this being a “non-profit” and one can look up all of the donors and such without his “posting it openly”…..

          on the other hand, if this is for profit, then donations are not really allowed or at least are not tax deductible and other rules and regulations apply..

          did you know, that I used to have my own businesses?   some for profit and others non-profit….I mean in my spare time???

          well, those that don’t know that, and those who think I don’t have a very good reason for posting as I do may be surprised sometime…

          and, trust me, if I feel a family member or dear friend have been inappropriately wronged, there are no lengths I wouldn’t go to for justice….

    1. David Greenwald Post author

      For one thing, the topic of this is the DJUSD AIM program, not John Lewis. I met with John Lewis when he was at the law school this spring, I don’t think he agrees with you, but again, that’s not the topic of conversation.

  20. Marina Kalugin

    wow, now I am getting even innocent comments disappearing without even an edit …

    jeez….and I was even nice…all I said was someone asked me a question and I answered it…

    the question was why I said what I said…ha ha… and I answered it very politely

    maybe I should start a new DV spam site, and I can post all of the comments which get removed there…

    anyone have time to start such a site…..I have started keeping copies of everything I post….

    BP, Jerry and some others may want to do the same…

  21. hpierce

    Marina’s 11:18 post…

    In response to my reaction here and elsewhere as to your assertion of “rights”…

    Marina, you did not respond to facts, then threw up other side things such as,

    of course, likely you have not run a “non-profit” or even perhaps your “own business”….and thus, it is a truly important distinction..

    You are incorrect… yet again… and not even close to germane…

    ha ha (or, he he) [following your favorite ‘tag-lines’.

    Glad to hear your retirement is a happening thing… congrats… support that on SO many levels…

     

    1. Marina Kalugin

      that means, HP, that I have more time to truly help friends…. you know, those who are being killed by the AMA<ADA  and those who lost their jobs due to breech of contract…..like my favorite GATE coordinator….wtf you may say…well keep saying it…

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