Friday, April 24, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

A solution in search of a problem

By
From page A6 | April 17, 2013 |

Learn more

What: Davis Board of Education workshop on possible grade reconfiguration

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Community Chambers, City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.

Watch it: Live on cable Channel 17 and as streaming video at www.djusd.tv

By Frank C. Thomsen, Blair Howard, Gail Mitchell, Cathy Haskell, Connie Alexich, Tim Paulson and Ruthie Bowers

There is a new push in our school district to change the grade reconfiguration at our high schools to 9-12 instead of the current 10-12.
We have been urged to “think big” and get ready for a “large-scale change.”

But the district has not clearly articulated why reconfiguration is needed, let alone how the move would save money and improve education. We need more facts and answers before embarking on a change that has the potential to shake up every school in the district.

We have been told that the change would alleviate a fiscal crisis but we’re not told how. Is the aim to close other schools in the district? If so, which schools? And, how much will be saved and how will that money be used to improve education?

(Pardon our skepticism, but the last time we closed down a school to save money, we moved another program into the vacant facility a year later.)

We are encouraged to “innovate and reach even greater heights of learning,” as two school board members stated in a recent op-ed piece, but it remains unclear how adopting the traditional high school model followed by most of the state is a transformative innovation.

To be clear, the Davis Teachers Association has not taken a position on whether ninth-graders should be moved from junior high to high school. We just have too many unanswered questions before we can make a decision; in fact, we have more than 250 of them.

In response to an email asking for input, teachers from every school in the district sent in thoughtful, reasonable questions that deserve a complete answer. We are awaiting a reply from the school board and the superintendent.

The most important questions: Why this push for change? And why now?

This proposal did not come from teachers; it came from district administrators and school board members. Perhaps they know something we don’t know. If so, it is time to share the details, facts and research that support assertions this would result in educational and fiscal benefits.

Even if benefits are identified, our work is not done. We must weigh them against any costs, both financial (what new facilities would be required at Davis High?) and programmatic (should this take top priority over reducing class sizes or addressing other student needs?).

As these discussions continue, it is essential that teachers be included as full participants. Our teachers are worried that the decision already has been made without asking for their input, a perception reinforced by an email invitation to a meeting (later rescinded) that told teachers the topic for discussion was: “What preparations could help facilitate a smooth 9-12 transition for DJUSD?”

There are hopeful signs that teachers’ concerns are now being taken more seriously. At this Thursday’s school board meeting, members will discuss establishing a committee to look more deeply at reconfiguration.

We suggest starting further back: identifying our most pressing problems first, and then searching for solutions. If, instead, we start with a preconceived solution, we are in danger of adopting a plan that might not be best antidote to the challenges we face.

Whatever the outcome, the input of all stakeholders, especially the teachers who work most closely with our children, is essential.

We look forward to joining the conversation.

— Frank C. Thomsen, Blair Howard, Gail Mitchell, Cathy Haskell, Connie Alexich, Tim Paulson and Ruthie Bowers are members of the Davis Teachers Association executive board.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    New design submitted for conference center

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Water and power have a troubling interdependency

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Fairness is an afterthought for them

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Los Angeles march to commemorate Armenian killings

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Hostage deaths a reminder of risk of ‘deadly mistakes’

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

     
    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Beginning tai chi classes start May 5

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    College Night set April 30 at DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    School board hears report on health services

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A5

     
    Tour of co-ops precedes Sacramento conference

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Mamajowali will perform at benefit house concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Explorit: Celebrate International Astronomy Day

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Learn basics of composting in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Winkler Dinner raises funds for enology, viticulture activities

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Raptor Center welcomes visitors at May 2 open house

    By Trina Wood | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Take a peek at region’s past at Tremont Mite Society’s social

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    BeerFest expands to include cider

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Mapping where human action is causing earthquakes

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A9

    Hummingbird health: Appreciating the little things

    By Kat Kerlin | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

     
    Thanks for supporting the arts

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Bike Swap another success

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

     
    Drink is a tasteless insult

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    The fight for gender pay equity

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

    It’s a depressing beat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Lehner talks about the UCD student-athlete experience

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Reeling Blue Devils stop skid against Sheldon

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie Spring Game environment will up the gridiron fun factor

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Rare DHS track loss still full of highlights

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    DYSA roundup: Lester, Osborne lead Storm over Dixon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Lady Demons’ fundraiser a smash hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Pro baseball roundup: River Cats lose their fourth straight

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    ‘Ex Machina': The perils of playing God

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

    Ceramicist works will be featured at The Artery

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Chamber expands Korean sister-city opportunities

    By Felicia Alvarez | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Car Care: Tips for buying your first ATV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

    Subaru goes rear-wheel drive with sporty BRZ coupe

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B7 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Whitney Joy Engler

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Valente Forrest Dolcini

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, April 24, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B5