It’s not a GATE program

By From page A6 | March 06, 2013

In the public education system, we have to address the educational needs of all students, including GATE students. But a fully self-contained GATE program qualifying 30 percent of all students isn’t a GATE program … it’s a high-achieving program on steroids.

Not only are self-contained high achiever programs unheard of at the elementary grade level, a self-contained GATE program at 30 percent of the population is, by definition, statistically impossible. The self-contained GATE model is intended for that small group of students who are “academic outliers from their chronological peers” and unable to learn in the regular classroom. If you are part of 30 percent, you are not an outlier from your peers.

An evaluation of our GATE program is long past due and for those who believe the current GATE model is working well, here is a sampling of what needs to be discussed … a corrupted and woefully inadequate admission process, twice exceptional students (the original GATE student) left with no classroom, programs taken from the “regular” classroom because there aren’t enough students after removing 30 percent and state funding that is paid to a GATE coordinator instead of going to the classroom.

No one is suggesting we shouldn’t address the needs of high achievers, but we’re talking about public education, folks. We are not entitled to a separate, private classroom simply because we want it. If you feel the regular classroom is problematic, then work on fixing that … don’t exacerbate the problem by carving a niche for your child out of the public school system.

Wendy Amundsen

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