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Bob Dunning

Bob Dunning: We’d all have straight-A kids

By From page A2 | April 04, 2013

PLEASE CLOSE THE GATE BEHIND YOU … we all know by heart the old saying mom and dad passed along about sticks and stones and broken bones, but we’ve learned over time that the part that says “words can never hurt me” is simply not true … words are powerful … words spoken harshly on a school playground are especially powerful …

So as the Great GATE Debate continues in our town, one thing is for certain: the title “Gifted and Talented” really must go … the actual program, or some version of it, doesn’t necessarily have to be scrapped, but that onerous and elitist phrase is offensive even to some of the parents who have kids in GATE …

Since the school board has yet to adopt my suggestion of a five-tiered division of our children, ending with “Dull but Charming” on the lowest educational rung, it’s time for another bite at this elusive apple … what I’m now advocating is that we go about labeling our kids the same way folks in Texas divide up their high school football programs … you know, Class A, Class AA, Class AAA, Class AAAA and Class AAAAA … and never mind that no one outside of Austin, Houston or Amarillo know which category is which or which is the most prestigious, it works because every high school football player in Texas can honestly say he competes at a level with the cherished letter “A” in its name …

Professional baseball long ago did the same thing, dividing its minor leaguers into A, Double A and Triple A levels before hitting the majors … even the NCAA, afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings, divided its college football divisions into I-A and I-AA to keep everyone thinking they had hit the big time even when they hadn’t …

If Davis decides to adopt the A, AA and AAA model for its academic caste system, every school kid can happily go off to the family reunion in Montana and look his relatives squarely in the eye as he excitedly says “Grandpa, Grandma, I tested into the ‘A’ group at school” …

WORDS OF WISDOM … when I polled our various school board members on the proposed reconfiguration of Davis High School into a four-year institution, Sheila Allen was short and to the point in her response … noted Allen: “I have not been presented with compelling fiscal, academic, social or developmental information that shows we need to make a change. I do have sufficient information to show that we do not have adequate facilities to support such a move. I also have plenty of personal information to know how incredibly difficult school closures can be.” …

And, the frosting on the cake, “I have never had a problem with Davis being different than other places.” … amen to that, my friend …

THE READERS ALWAYS WRITE … Tim in North Davis asks “Has anyone thought to ask the kids what they want?” when it comes to reconfiguration … “Kids grow up too soon anyway. Why push them out of childhood even faster?” … the reason we keep hearing, Tim, is that’s the way other districts do it and Davis must follow the leader …

Just getting warmed up, Tim adds “This town, as much as I love it, seems to have a long track record of a deceptive operating philosophy that leads voters and taxpayers down shifting paths of sand. Water rate structures that can’t reveal how much a gallon of water will cost, horse farms that become housing developments, athletic fields with shortened life spans, school funding initiatives that can’t keep their promises, ever-changing building codes that are often impossible to clarify, new restrictions on previously permitted wood stoves, etc.” …

Would you like to file a grievance, Tim? … sounds like you may have a case here …

— Reach Bob Dunning at [email protected]

Bob Dunning

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