Sunday Commentary: The Narrative is Part of the Problem with AIM


The Vanguard reported on Friday and Saturday that the OCR (Office for Civil Rights) was looking into allegations that the school district 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).”

Some were surprised that the OCR was seeking “a narrative response to the allegations contained in this complaint.”  Why a narrative, when we have numbers?

Part of the problem in this process from the start has been that we have had the numbers that have shown that the new program drops the participation rate of blacks and Latinos – together they make up between one in five and one in four students in the district, down to just five of the 66 or so new AIM students.

Part of the problem that the board faces here is that the board members knew that this was a problem, discussed it openly, and yet were willing to move ahead with it.  Susan Lovenburg acknowledged the problem with “identifying an AIM cohort that matches the student demographic profile of our district,” and went so far as to “reject the notion that some races or ethnicities have a higher incidence of giftedness than others.”

The problem is that neither she nor her colleagues were willing to do anything about it – even pause the implementation of the 98th percentile threshold.

In April, a motion that President Madhavi Sunder and Alan Fernandes put forward to continue a third AIM strand, which included, “Direct staff to reassess students who are English learners, low income, learning disabled, or from historically disadvantaged minorities, for the purpose of ensuring the identification for these at risk student groups to ensure equal access to the AIM program in the 2016-17 school year,” was withdrawn when the two could not find a third vote.

Madhavi Sunder said that “the most important thing in this district, in fact many of the people on this board ran on the issue of trust as the preeminent issue with respect to our relationship with families  and parents in keeping that trust.”  She said, “Process and being clear about the rules and honoring that process in a transition year when we have lost key staff and personnel and made a lot of changes, that seems to be important.”

She quoted former Superintendent Winfred Roberson, “We move at the speed of trust.”

Ms. Sunder also pointed out the number of students retested using the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test.  When challenged as to whether this was on-topic, she stated, “I do not feel that our identification process is complete yet.  I believe that there are students that we have not given fair opportunity to see whether or not they actually have gifted potential.”

She believes that the Naglieri, and other new tests they used, have “failed.”  She said we need to make sure we are giving fair access to English-Language Learners, low income students, learning disabled students, and racial minorities “that we know are often unfairly disadvantaged on the OLSAT [Otis-Lennon School Ability Test].”  She said they retested these groups “and we failed to identify almost any.”

Board Member Susan Lovenburg stated that this is off-topic for this discussion, but added, “I don’t agree that the process that the board put in place is a failure.  It functioned as it was intended to and if not, we need to make changes going forward.”

Tom Adams stated, “The use of the TONI [Test of Nonverbal Intelligence] before was not appropriate – it’s a test intended for English Learners (and) we were using it as a second test for a lot of groups for whom it’s really not intended.”

Barbara Archer responded, “I would add, do you know how many African-American third-graders there are? … So if there were two and we identified one, how could you call that a failure?” She added, “I don’t think we have the number to say (it’s a failure).”

Ms. Archer would later add, “I do agree with President Sunder that we have to address this year, but I really object to calling our program a failure when you don’t know the percentages of third graders in the different minority groups.”

Madhavi Sunder said they already have some numbers and “we are three percent African American in this district and the number that is identified is zero percent.”  She pointed out that there was only a three percent success rate on the Naglieri and a 32 percent success rate for the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test).

“That was the test (CogAT) that we gave to more advantaged students,” she argued.  “What upsets me is that we gave the disadvantaged students a much harder to succeed on test.”  In the past, they were given the TONI, which had a 14.6 percent success rate.  “We didn’t give the TONI to a single low income student this year.”

Where I think the district has a potential problem is that they understood from the preliminary numbers that the racial/ethnic breakdown of the program was far less diverse than the previous one.  Yet they did not really take concrete steps to fix it.  They had several options including pausing the full implementation, re-examining their use of testing, or some other reevaluation.

But while many may welcome this outside evaluation of the AIM program, some believe that this will lead to the inevitable scrapping of the AIM program altogether.  So far, three members of the board and occasionally a fourth have been willing to pare down the program, but they have not been willing to eliminate it.

If they are forced to either change the fundamentals of the new program or scrap it, which approach will they take?

—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.

Related posts


  1. Marina Kalugin

    yep, it’s gonna be a problem….and hope this means good riddance to those who created the problem…

    or at least, one can hope, right????

    this is now going to need a ton of parental input and participation to correct what the board did last year…and it ain’t gonna be easy….

    fortunately, the new school year hasn’t started.      Deann could be invited back, but who knows if we can entice her to come back to help after how she was treated…

    then, better policies should be put in place asap for this fall…gotta hurry…

    school is starting soon…

    should allow all children whose parents want a spot into spots, and then allow all who want private testing to get it at district expense…

    expand it for all children who qualify …..stop massaging the numbers and excluding on criteria that won’t hold up to any scrutiny…

    better hire more teachers and open up more sections to meet the demand…

    better get on it right away…time is awasting… chop chop….

    PS> after reading those details, is anyone truly going to continue to take me to task for some “unkind” words describing those folks???? really????

  2. Marina Kalugin

    PS>   stop calling it AIM   use the correct terminology….really it is GATE  and that is what should be used so that those outside of this town understand wtf one is talking about….jeez….

    and using different tests for different “groups” and then getting better results with the one for the most advantaged…really?

    truly shows bumbling

    why not allow all children all tests and private testing all paid by the DJUSD>>…

        1. Barack Palin

          Because you and others are crying about the demographics of the AIM program not fitting Davis demographics.  So if whites are also not represented demographically in the program are you not concerned about that also?

        2. Davis Progressive

          the difference is that blacks and hispanics are underserved and disadvantaged populations.  there are reasons why the tests are under identifying them.  The board knew this and ignored it.  whites in davis are highly successful and educated, they just don’t perform as well as asians.  that’s a different issue.  ocr is not investigating that issue.  it is not a civil rights issue.  you are stirring the pot and attempting to treat all issues as though they were the same.

        3. Barack Palin

           they just don’t perform as well as asians

          So there needs to be an investigation when blacks and Latinos don’t perform as well as Asians, but when whites are not demographically represented it’s just because they don’t perform as well as Asians?  Do I have that about right?

        4. Davis Progressive

          “OCR enforces Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. These laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability and age in programs and activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance.”

          what evidence is there that whites have been discriminated in the policies here?

        5. Barack Palin

          what evidence is there that whites have been discriminated in the policies here?

          Whites didn’t test as well as Asians.  The same reason blacks and Hispanics didn’t get into AIM.

        6. Davis Progressive

          you’re not making a discriminatory claim, you’re trying to argue that because the difference between whites and asians isn’t attributable to prejudice, the difference between blacks and hispanics from whites and asians isn’t either.  that’s spurious reasoning.

      1. quielo

        “you are stirring the pot and attempting to treat all issues as though they were the same.”


        It might be helpful if you just listed all ethnicities in order of importance as a reference.



        1. Barack Palin

          Yes Quielo, it’s mind boggling.  The ones crying about certain races not being fairly represented in AIM have run themselves into a corner.  They want to only cry unfair when it comes to their favored minorities but at the same time exclude whites who are in the same boat.

        2. quielo

          “quielo: might be helpful if you simply read the law which defines underserved and disadvantaged populations.” I am not aware of any law that lists specific ethnicities as either. Do you have a cite?


          At 3% it will be hard to make a case that blacks are under represented. Therefore instead of differential outcome you will need to show actual discrimination.

        3. Davis Progressive

          Blacks and Hispanics are nearly one-quarter of the school population but represent 4 of the 66 placements, a huge decrease from the former model

        4. Marina Kalugin

          wow…..this district now has 25% blacks and hispanics?

          I had no idea…

          truly, that was not the case when my youngest graduated over 14 years ago…

        5. South of Davis

          Marina wrote:

          > wow…..this district now has 25% blacks and hispanics?

          > truly, that was not the case when my youngest graduated

          >over 14 years ago…

          MME was a brand new school 14 years ago and did not have nearly as many hispanic kids from the Davis Migrant CDC “South of Davis” as it does today.


        6. Marina Kalugin

          and when MME first opened and that was way before the migrant camp, it was already stressed due to the many new low income apartment complexes on Valdora et al  nearby…. and that was also happening to Pioneer …as the developers chose to meet the 25% affordable in large complexes, rather than sprinkled throughout the developments…

          and also, the children of the international student population in the married student housing….

          my friend was a teacher’s aide there and she said that the number of children on free or reduced lunches skyrocketed as well as the percentage of “english learners”  and that was putting a huge stress on the resources of the school…

          generally, East Davis and South Davis schools have borne the brunt of those poor city development decisions ….

        7. wdf1

          MK:  …and when MME first opened and that was way before the migrant camp, 

          The migrant camp was around well before MME opened.

          SoD:  MME was a brand new school 14 years ago and did not have nearly as many hispanic kids from the Davis Migrant CDC “South of Davis” as it does today.

          Why do you think that the increase in Latino students directly correlates to the number of students from the Davis migrant camp?  I don’t think the resident population there has increased significantly in the past 14 years.  Definitely not in any way to account for the bulk increase in Latino students in DJUSD over that time.  Migrant students generally leave the area by October and return in about March.

        8. South of Davis

          wdf1 wrote

          > Why do you think that the increase in Latino students directly

          > correlates to the number of students from the Davis migrant camp?

          I don’t have the exact number of kids from the migrant camp every year but dozens of different parents (including many that got their kids out of MME) have told me the number of migrant camp kids have been increasing over the past decade.  Am I wrong about this?  It looks like the new immersion program at MME is making parents happy since it has the rich white kids learning spanish in one room with the poor latino kids learning english in another room.  I had not heard of “spanish imersion” as a tool to bring back “separate but equal” until I went to an event at Encinal Elementary in Atherton last year and I have never seen such a big gap in income at the same public school with most of the kids in “spanish imersion” living in multi-million dollar homes and most of the other kids living with multiple families packed in to small east Menlo apartments….

          P.S. The fact that the total number of Latinos in the state have more than tripled in the past 25 years also ads to the number of Latinos in local schools…

        9. wdf1

          SoD:  I don’t have the exact number of kids from the migrant camp every year but dozens of different parents (including many that got their kids out of MME) have told me the number of migrant camp kids have been increasing over the past decade.  Am I wrong about this?

          The number of migrant students in DJUSD is in the neighborhood of 60-70.  I don’t see that as being enough to account for significant growth in Latino students in Davis.

          The growth in the Latino student population doesn’t mean that more migrant farm workers are showing up.  Latino families tend to be larger, and they are likely to have kids at a younger age.  Twenty years ago (1996), in all of the school districts in Yolo Co. and in Dixon, whites were the largest demographic group, and usually the majority.  Last year only Davis had a majority white K-12 population.  Latinos made up the largest racial/ethnic group in all the other districts.

  3. SODA

    Someone said yesterday this should make for interesting candidate questions/debates, etc. and I agree. And it may be drawn out so a new Board deals with it after the election.

  4. hpierce

    Just because this is a less cluttered “thread”…

    AIM/GATE, whatever you want to call it is, by definition, “discriminatory”… its original purpose was to help those who have special abilities, whose outcomes would be much lesser if they were in a ‘regular classroom’.   Making a choice to place the students in such a program discriminates on two levels:  “potential”; and ‘learning modes’ (many truly gifted kids do just fine in the regular classroom!  Some do not, and they should be identified and reasonable accommodation made).

    Think “discriminating palate”…

    Racial/ethnic-based discrimination, socio-economic based discrimination is wrong.  Period.

    GATE/AIM seems to have taken on a life of “status”, and/or “bragging rights”… also very wrong.  And if that it what it has become, it should be immediately extinguished, in favor of trying to meet the needs and to challenge EACH INDIVIDUAL CHILD!!

    GATE/AIM, at its BEST (not to be confused with CBEST, which is a joke and a separate subject), was and should be a “special needs” program… color-blind, financial resources blind, physically challenged-blind program.

    Determining “special needs” is an inherently ‘discriminatory’ process.

    ‘Nuff said…

        1. hpierce

          Experientially, my experience over the years points to a different hypothesis… that the correlation is parental environment… most of the GT&E folk I knew had EITHER highly educated parents, or parents who had THEIR education truncated by their families’ economic conditions, or other “interruptions” such as WWII, etc., but who still managed to intellectually support their children, and provide role models of what one can achieve in spite of the formal education “creds”.

          Like it or not, some genetics are in play, and so does home environment…

    1. Marina Kalugin

      that misses the point, just a few days ago I was talking to a man who said his bright child was “underserved” in the DJUSD….the child is “half” black…and now graduated and at university…  when I mentioned same to Deann, she said she had never heard of the child but she would bet that was true…as she continued to work for expanding the program and since the third section would have had a much larger minority component, and due to all the other recent revelations on this topic, the evidence is bearing out that was the case…

      the fact that no-one brought this child to the attention of Deann is really a shame   –  and I even asked the parent, did you mention that the child was underserved to the Gate coordinator?

      of course, it is always amazing to me that even the brightest of parents are not aware of some of the services, and who to go to if there is an issue….

      none of those things should have happened….

    2. Marina Kalugin

      Environment always trumps genetics, says the outgoing manager of the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics……who studied genetics when in it’s infancy in a HS which was basically a magnet/GATE HS for the SF bay area…

      and, there were many a study in the 70s and 80s which showed that was the case in “identical twins” who were separated at birth…

      the first studies were related to weight…those who were raised by overweight families were heavy and vice versa….I was always all over the latest weight “breakthroughs”….

      that was regardless of the weights of the birth parents…

      and, also in many studies since…

      and, again, to stop putting humans into the equation, as in suggesting that “special needs” adjudication will inherently be discriminatory, all one has to do is open up the doors and give everyone the same chances and even allow additional testing for those who think the one test wasn’t working


  5. Davis Progressive

    people are ignoring the central problem here (and marina’s crap is not helpful) – the board KNEW this was a problem, the vanguard warned them, the community discussed it, and THEY IGNORED IT.

    1. Frankly

      The board new there was a bunch of parents with their hair on fire over the privilege train being stopped right when the expected to have their kid ride it.

  6. Frankly

    Get rid of AIM.  It is clear by this constant bickering that it was being abused as a special program for privileged students that their highly-educated parents figured out how to exploit claiming their kids have a learning disability.  Since children of color are under-represented in the population as having  college-educated parents, of course they are under-represented in AIM.

    It is really appalling given that most of the parents demanding their little darlings be in self-contained AIM, are themselves current or retired employees of the education system.  What they are really doing is scamming the system that they refuse to reform… finding a carve-out where they can perpetuate their academic privileges to their offspring while allowing the crappy education system status quo to continue so the teacher union membership does not suffer a bit.

    The learning needs of ALL students should be met in the regular classroom.  If they cannot be met, then the education system must be reformed so that they can.

    1. hpierce

      Frankly… the fact is that some really bright/high potential kids literally do not do well, for other reasons, in a “regular” classrooms… often their peers (and some teachers) think they are square pegs in a round hole, and treat them that way… a subtle form of bullying…

      Most bright/talented kids do quite well in a ‘regular’ classroom… and, if they do, that is where they belong…

      There are some, though, who need to get validation that it is OK to ‘think differently’ (any many actually do process information differently), build up their self-esteem, mature, etc. … bottom line is it needs to be seen as a “bridge”… not an end unto itself.  At some point, usually in HS, definitely in college, those “at risk” kids need to pursue their talents in the ‘real world’… the bridge may be needed in late elementary, and into JHS.

      This is nothing new… it was recognized 50+ years ago… at least by the best teachers, who showed every sign of high aptitude except in grades and other performance parameters…

    2. Marina Kalugin

      really, says who?

      you?  and where is your “evidence” that proves your point??????

      tracking is still being done in ALL schools around the world where students actually learn math along the way….so much for your unsubstantiated

      ” The learning needs of ALL students should be met in the regular classroom.  If they cannot be met, then the education system must be reformed so that they can.”

      hellooo,,   what you espouse is the opposite of what works where the education system produces way better results…

  7. MAli

    All kids should be served in the same classroom and if they can’t be then the system needs reform. You realize that you are contradicting yourself. You argument is to get rid of reform and then when lack of reform doesn’t work we need reform to fix it. Circular reasoning at its best.

      1. quielo

        We could decrease racism in healthcare by using MALi’s system. Instead of seeing healthcare professionals which is an invitation to racism and classism we could increase equality by giving everybody the same diagnosis and the same treatment. This would completely eliminate disparities in diagnosis and treatment. When you go to a clinic you would not see anyone or provide any information whatsoever. You would simply press a button which would dispense either a red or a blue pill. It would be somewhat similar to going through customs in some third world countries. Therefore regardless of your race, age, gender, sexual identity, size or language of origin you would get exactly the same treatment. It is so beautifully simple when you give up the bourgeois concept of “getting better”.

      2. Frankly

        No, all kids are individuals and unique in how they learn, how fast they learn certain subjects, what psychological and emotional development needs they might have, etc.  The education system needs to be a “school of one” for every child.

        1. wdf1

          Frankly:  No, all kids are individuals and unique in how they learn, how fast they learn certain subjects, what psychological and emotional development needs they might have, etc.  The education system needs to be a “school of one” for every child.

          In make the statement in your second sentence, you violate the principle you made in the first sentence.

          Because when you have explained what “school of one” means to you, you pointed to individualized computer-driven instruction, like what was piloted in New York City for middle school math.  The name of that program was “School of One.”  When I asked you for material/evidence of the success of the program, I think you produced one link that I found to be flimsy, and countered with evidence of the shortcomings of that program.  It also didn’t appear to have expanded at all beyond middle school math; that’s a very limited scope.  I can produce plenty of links to articles on the shortcomings and failings of individualized computer-interface instruction.  Is there anything further you have to offer to clarify what “school of one” means to you and evidence to show that this is the way to go, “for every child”?

          I’m not aware of significant computer-driven individualized instruction in DJUSD. When I’ve engaged parents talking about what they like to see in an ideal school environment, one component that typically comes up involves positive and constructive social engagement with peers, teachers, and staff, as well as other “soft skills” or “non-cognitive skills” that are not usually measured when attempting to quantify educational quality.  What you produced the last time we discussed this seem to lack these components.  Any response?

          For parents that would like more individualized instruction for their kids in the Davis schools, there is the Davis School for Independent Study.  It seems to work well for some students, not necessarily for all students.  Many DSIS students also supplement their coursework with classes and programs at school that can’t be replicated at DSIS — performing arts, athletics, robotics, etc.

          There is also Da Vinci Charter Academy for those who would like to see more technology and project-based learning in the curriculum.  It isn’t for everyone.  And again, DV students often supplement their coursework with other classes/programs that DHS offers — performing arts, athletics, robotics, etc.

        2. Frankly

          The program is a pioneer in a new method of education based on each student’s individual learning requirements, also called learner-based-learning or student-centred learning. The approach is to provide students with their own personal learning environment. In traditional learning environments, teachers lead students through the curriculum such that each student is expected to learn the same material at the same time. At SO1, each student is provided a blended learning environment geared towards their individual learning needs. These are identified by State assessments and test results and are then used to create a student’s “playlist,” or individual learning plan. Each student receives a unique daily schedule based on their own learning needs and strengths, with each schedule and instruction plan adjusted to suit their ability and most successful learning method. Teachers can acquire real-time data on each student’s achievement and adjust their live instruction to suit, usually daily.[5] The SO1 focuses on learning progression, but depending on pre-identified skills of the students, each student might begin the same lesson at a different point. Each student participates in multiple instructional methods, including teacher-led instruction, small group collaboration, individual tutoring, independent learning, work with online tutors, or any combination thereof.[6][7]

          The classrooms at SO1 are centered around an open space with multiple learning stations. These stations provide the lessons selected by the curriculum software as well as connecting students with a teacher, software, and online tutors. This allows the student to work independently or in collaboration with other online students, either individually or in groups. The student-teacher ratio is 10, significantly lower than in most programs.[8]

          The School of One uses digital technology to develop individualized, daily-adjusted student curricula which the students access via an online portal. A computer-based learning algorithm collects data to generate a daily lesson plan or “playlist” for each student based on what is determined to best meet their learning needs. It functions as an adaptive scheduler to ensure each student is learning in his or her educational “sweet spot.” As it collects data, the algorithm generates a daily lesson plan and schedule for each student and teacher by analyzing factors including each student’s academic history and profile, assessment of previous work sessions, as well as the school’s available resources, space, and staffing. Teachers can review and suggest changes to the algorithm’s daily lesson recommendations to provide additional pedagogical direction, input and feedback.

          The School of One (SO1) is a middle school mathematics program of the New York City Department of Education. It began in 2009 and is currently operating in six schools in Manhattan, The Bronx, and Brooklyn. Its innovative program integrates the use of technology in the development and implementation of personalized curriculum and learning as well as the use of technology in the learning environment.[1][2][3][4]

        3. wdf1

          Frankly:  As you point out,

          The School of One (SO1) is a middle school mathematics program

          Only middle school math?  Yet you say,

          The education system needs to be a “school of one” for every child.

          Other subjects?  English, science, social science, foreign language?  And why is there no high school level math program?

          Your fervency for this program and suggesting that everything else is inferior is akin to proselytizing that everyone should join your one true religion.  Having raised three different kids, I know that what works for one child does not work for the next.  One of my kids likely wouldn’t have responded to this program.  In junior high she was very sociable, was fully able to keep up with math as long as there was regular teacher and peer interaction.  As described, the computer interface would probably have been a hindrance.

          The measures of this program’s success are dependent on standardized test scores in math and nothing else, which feeds into the flaw of the current practice of using standardized test scores almost exclusively to determine student success, that education programs aren’t worth anything unless they can raise standardized test scores.  Standardized testing has been a part of Chinese authoritarian educational culture for centuries, and it hasn’t led to ideal results compared to the U.S. (see here)

          And here is where School of One was dropped from a couple of schools because it didn’t produce higher standardized test scores.

          A review of School of One by a math teacher.

          As for screen interface online schools, K12 has been the most prominent of these and has received plenty of negative attention from recent news investigations.  And here.

          Based on this, I definitely wouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket with this kind of heavy dependence on technology in education.

        4. Frankly

          I see it more as a self-correcting educational philosophy moving from one that is geared toward perceptions of fairness, and also that help make the job of teaching easier (at the cost of failing to help more students be successful in life), to one that focuses on the individual needs of each and every student.

          These are principles that apply to best-practices in modern business leadership and employee development (really both different chapters in the same book).   The principle is to move employees toward an ultimate goal of mastery of the subject matter.  Mastery is defined as high confidence and high competence.  And the methods for moving people along this path are individualized.  Each employee is unique in their development needs.  Now, it does not mean infinite development resources and techniques.   Think of it like cooking where you can take an inventory of similar ingredients and use them differently to achieve the ultimate goal of a tasty and healthy meal.  There needs to be a complete tool-box of resources and techniques that can be applied in a matrix of alternatives to best-fit the needs of the student.

          The education system needs to stop being obsessed with monolithic standards and “fairness” modeling… and start looking at it as being a mission to develop each and every student to high confidence and high competence with every core subject, and allowing the student to specialize in elective tracks that they, the students, show interest and aptitude in.

          It is really funny if you think about it.  You keep bringing your legacy bias to the table in opposition to School-Of-One… giving examples for how it has failed based on the standard legacy measures which take us back to the monolithic and standards-based approach.   School-Of-One is more a different mindset and philosophy for how to educate young people.

          You might take a look at this and ask yourself why this development approach is taken for this particular demographic of young people and not young people.

        5. wdf1

          Frankly:  It is really funny if you think about it.  You keep bringing your legacy bias to the table in opposition to School-Of-One… giving examples for how it has failed based on the standard legacy measures which take us back to the monolithic and standards-based approach.

          Those were also the original measures, in reference to other countries, by which U.S. public schools were deemed “crappy” by those who have insisted we need to reform public education.  Most everything that has come in the name of reform to fix those “crappy” public schools has done so with the promise to fix those test scores.

          In case you haven’t noticed, I think standardized testing, the way it’s currently done, is overused and fraudulently analyzed.  It wastes money and takes attention away from what I think is more important in education.  In other words, it’s bullsh*t.

          So why do I still reference standardized test scores?  Because in the mindset of most education reformers these days, that’s all that matters.  But even more strikingly most of these general reform strategies improve test scores very little, and just make everyone’s life more miserable.  Sometimes I don’t mind talking about test scores to carry the conversation to its absurd conclusion.  Then maybe we can shut down that portion of the discussion and move on to something that’s productive.  On the whole I don’t think the current regime of standardized testing has been worthwhile, and it has been clear for some time.

          But you have adopted some affinity for standardized testing:

          Here is where you’ve taken to using a “monolithic and standards-based approach.”

          And here, where you say, “I support standardization testing only because the alternative is worse…”

          And here, too, you rely again on arguments supported by “monolithic and standards-based approach”:

          Ms. Rhee is attempting to improve education quality for the students, but she is relentlessly attacked by the very same people supposedly entrusted with the same expectation even as student test scores improve. This situation provides the perfect evidence that the main impediment to greater education quality is the teachers union and their political connection.

          However, if we grow the number of charter schools, and also provide vouchers for the worst-performing school districts, I think we force public education to adapt.

          And how do we determine a worst-performing school district?  Standardized test scores.

          Frankly:  You might take a look at this and ask yourself why this development approach is taken for this particular demographic of young people and not young people.

          The approach is taken with this particular demographic of young people because they’re not expected to perform according “regular” standards on standardized tests.  So everyone feels free to focus on what might actually be more worthwhile.

          I don’t think the taxpaying public would approve of the level of spending required to give every school kid in the country this kind of experience.

          Reducing class sizes is one way to get closer to that experience.  Or Davis School for Independent Study might work with some students.  Other might thrive in Da Vinci.

          If I haven’t shared this with you, then you may find this podcast interesting.

          [moderator] We have learned that including more than two links in a comment automatically moves the comment into the spam folder, and continues to do so each time the spam filter runs. So please don’t exceed two links in any comment. If necessary, put additional links in sequential replies. Thanks.

    1. Frankly

      MAli – If you are replying to me, then you wasted ink.  We are not in any disagreement.  That is my point exactly… reform the system if the regular classroom is not meeting the needs of every student.  AIM is direct evidence that the regular classroom has failed.

  8. MAli

    By the way BP rants for about ten posts that all prove my point about racism. Even when he gets it explained to him he goes on and on with his white resentment. BP you asked for examples I suggest you read your own posts.

      1. MAli

        Your racist posts got taken down but then you continue with posts that decry something that is of little consequence other than to demonstrate and stoke white resentment. Even after your arguments are refuted you continue. What is sad is the way you exploit this forum and the Davis Vanguard as a safe place for your divisive and hate filled speech.

        1. Barack Palin

          My arguments have not been refuted.  Is it racist and hate filled speech to include whites in the conversation of the AIM children who don’t fit the demographics of Davis schools or is it hate filled racist speech on the part of the people who don’t want to include them?  I say the latter.

    1. Barack Palin

      The funny thing is that these articles and the school board brings up that the fact that AIM doesn’t match the demogrphics of the school district.  Then only the numbers of black and hispanic students are being discussed.  Aren’t whites also not part of that equation?  Is it racist to bring up that white students are also underrepresented in AIM or is the true racism coming from those who would exclude whites in the discussion?

      1. David Greenwald

        Whites are not disadvantaged students in the school district. You’re arguing this issue absent the other piece of the puzzle – the achievement gap.

        1. David Greenwald

          Do you think OCR is investigating the whites in AIM or the blacks and Hispanics?  Based on that, my comment to you is explaining why that’s the case.

        2. South of Davis

          David wrote:

          > Whites are not disadvantaged students in the school district. 

          So are you saying that ALL the whites in the Davis school district are “advantaged”?

  9. Marina Kalugin

    BP, those with their own agendas will never see another’s point of view….that takes a very high level of analytical and logical thinking, which gets colored by one’s own experiences…

    those who lack understanding, because they (or their loved ones) have not been adversely affected, will never quite get it all..

    statistics is much more an art than a science…ha ha…  any time people are involved, any time topics are emotional….statistics can be skewed and massaged to show a point…

    the point will always be whatever the person already is convinced of..

    the herd mentality always supports the lowest common denominator….the district cares not about individual students who get lost in the shuffle….as long as the statistics will show that the herd got what it wanted….

    don’t waste your breath here any more….but please do contact me backchannel…

    we have a window now of opportunity right this minute and this week, which will disappear very quickly if we do not move fast…

    I use my real name…I am not hard to find-  but, if I don’t respond quickly it is because I have a number of urgent meetings and deadlines today and tomorrow…. and will respond as soon as I can..



  10. Marina Kalugin

    and in the 50s/60s cuisinaire rods were popular as a way to let children see how numbers worked together…and for those children who had the learning style which allowed them to understand abstract concepts better using the physical “pieces”..that worked very well…

    .. that was the first time I started hearing about “learning styles” “learning modalities” and  as I had children, I became fascinated with the mounds of research related to that idea of learning styles.

    most here have probably heard that…some are visual learners, some do better listening and relistening, and so on…what I see others are sharing here is how some thrive in different learning environments and that one size doesn’t fit all.

    when the board , local, state, and federal governments attempt to mandate the “one size fits all” lots of problems arise…

    looking back over many decades, there used to be “tracking” which turned out to be unfair to slow learners, those with language barriers and so on..

    but when the pendulum swings back to “one size or else”….that is also an issue…

    and, even more so, when one starts massaging numbers and using narrative to explain away things that are obviously real issues…

    and I would venture that parents often do know best, what is best for the child, as they are the ones most intimately connected usually.

    thus, I always support choice, parental choice, student choice and more options, rather than “common core” where each is supposed to be at the same level and thus that is what they get…

    ie: the student gets algebra in 10th grade, even though was ready in 6th…and who cares about the outlyers….

    I don’t think I’ve ever met a parent who would want their child in a gifted class simply for “status”…what kinda status is there if the child cannot keep up and has to drop out of too high a challenge?

    such statements are typically by those who are not understanding that the vast majority of parents want the child to succeed, and yes, errors are made, and that is nothing unusual…

    some parents may even hold a gifted child back to a “regular classroom” so it will be “easier” to get better grades…  (I have actually heard that)…however, if a more advanced child has to suffer through lower repetitive things, they lose interest and refuse to even participate…and that is even worse…I have seen that with children of friends.

    or not want the hassle of logistics to get a child outside the “neighborhood school”…

    but, overall, I bet most parents will put the child and what is best for the child first….

    and I find it truly offensive that some here take parents to task who want their children to get the opportunities that the other children get…



  11. Marina Kalugin

    jeez,  nice to hear, yet again, how my crap is not helpful

    of course, my crap, only illustrates the inconvenient truths that the idiots on this board and earlier have had their heads up their you know what as they continued to make decisions which could have helped minority children.. yet they did the opposite…

    ever since “no child left behind” which resulted in way more children left behind…then the common core garbage espoused by BO…and even more children are being left behind..

    And, guess what folks, with each such stupid decision by our esteemed “boards” and “superintendents” serves to cause much more havoc and leaves even more behind.

    If one were to look at US standardized tests, even just back to the days of Joan and Tom Sallee and fuzzy math to the present,  one would see what?   that the US is lagging the rest of the world even more…

    that the fixes haven’t fixed a damn thing

    that bright Davis students are being stifled and that the “gap” is widening..

    sorry for that inconvenient truth…

Leave a Reply

X Close

Newsletter Sign-Up

X Close

Monthly Subscriber Sign-Up

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