After reading so many letters to The Enterprise accusing GATE of being too “exclusive” and even “promoting segregation,” we decided it was time to write our own letter. We have three children in the Davis schools — our eighth-grader has learned through traditional/mainstream classes, our fifth-grader is in the GATE program, and our second-grader is yet to be determined.
Our eighth-grade daughter did not pass into GATE, and yet, she did very well in “mainstream” elementary schooling. Now at Harper Junior High, she is excelling academically and socially. In fact, this year, she is in two separate programs, neither of which are GATE, and yet her academic performance and confidence have never been better.
The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program and PBL (Project-Based Learning) program, like GATE, focus their curriculum on 21st century skills for students. As parents, we could not be more pleased with the teachers and curriculum in these two programs.
Our second daughter thinks entirely differently than our first in almost all aspects of life. She did pass the GATE qualifying test. She also has thrived academically, thanks in large part to amazing teachers she has had thus far in GATE, and the competitive academic atmosphere.
Our third child may or may not pass into GATE, but either way, we’ll know he has the opportunity to be academically successful because of the many different types of learning programs offered by the Davis school district.
If there is a need to change the GATE name by removing the word “gifted” because of parents’ bruised egos, lack of self-confidence or political correctness, then change the name, but don’t get rid of the GATE program. Like STEM, PBL, the performing arts and other Davis school programs, GATE provides a challenging academic environment for many successful children with differing talents.
Children learn differently and have their own unique talents. How can we expect teachers, already overwhelmed with increasingly large classrooms each year, to now have to teach 30 or more students with such diverse and extreme learning abilities? It’s time for people in our community to realize that you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole.
Chris and Erin Ochoa