Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009 | At last night’s open house at Doyle Elementary, which two of my grandchildren attend, the word was that the lowest- and highest-achieving children are being spread equally among San Diego City Schools classes. In spite of GATE (Gifted and Talented Education) testing (at significant costs of equipment, supervision, scoring time and families’/children’s hopes), there are no more GATE classes.
Holding GATE-identified students back to the speed and level of understanding of non-GATE students, especially of the lowest-achieving students, strikes me as very wasteful. Why identify GATE students unless to encourage them to use their minds and to stay in school long enough to gather the credentials to use their brains and creativity in their adult lives?
Adding techniques used for GATE students to the teaching methods in other classes sounds like an excellent idea. I wonder, though: Are you also adding special education techniques to those classrooms? Where is the value n for each level of student? Equal frustration for those who cannot keep up and those who cannot stay awake through their boredom? Or something else not yet communicated to the students’ families?
Eliminating GATE classes and the extra learning they offer denigrates the long-high value of an education in San Diego City Schools, not allowing its very bright children the opportunity to move forward at their own speeds or to enter college with the same level of education as their peers. For the sake of those children and their futures, please reconsider.
As a member of Mensa who was a National Merit Scholar, I remember the boredom of listening to a teacher or professor repeatedly cover the same information in answer to other people’s questions. I grew to truly hate school.
I was grateful for GATE classes that eventually eased some of my children’s boredom in school. I hope my grandchildren are afforded that same ease in school, mixed with the opportunity to stretch their minds beyond what slower-thinking, slower-learning students can do.
Please restore GATE classes for GATE-identified students.