Nichols Poulos is an excellent teacher. She is justly proud of her record with the Gate/AIM program. Her prejudice in favor of that program, however, is evident. She cites evidence and experience to support her program but conveniently dismisses evidence and experience that challenges it.
The program has expanded to the point where up to 30 percent of our students can qualify for a program that was initially designed for 1 or 2 percent of the overall population. This means we need to have a discussion about just what gifted means in the context of the Davis school system. The combined size of all of our special programs has grown to the point where there is very significant impact on the neighborhood schools. The district has for years pressured the affected teachers to say nothing about this. It has reached the point that it would be irresponsible for these teachers to continue in silence.
Concerned parents and teachers have repeatedly asked the district to release the demographic data on all its classrooms. After several years the district did so. The impact of all the special programs on the neighborhood schools stands out sharply. This data was presented to the board and the impact explained by parents and teachers in one of the televised board meetings this past year. Without comment the district then placed its demographic data on its website on the Sunday prior to spring vacation.
The morale of our teachers has a great deal to do with their effectiveness in the classroom. The teachers in the neighborhood schools deserve more respect and better treatment from the administration and the public than they have been receiving of late.