GATE (gifted and talented education) programs …

are needed to prevent the brightest pupils from getting bored. 72% 110 votes
would make more sense if the test results' bell curve were shifted right for English language learners. 5% 8 votes
The very name insults those who aren't in them. 21% 33 votes
151 total votes


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Why would academic excellence insult a student?

I should think that if they wish to be included in the gate program they would study harder.

Should a student instead strive for and be praised for mediocrity?

taz (anonymous profile)
January 24, 2013 at 5:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Taz is 100% correct and perish the thought of the bell curve. Things are dumbed down enough in the system/society.
Brighter and creative kids are at risk of becoming bored and should be given more appropos, challenging material.
I was lucky enough to be in such a program when I was in school- finally I was no longer bored because I'd already read ahead of the class. And here's a shout out to my teacher, the late great Ron DeVito.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 24, 2013 at 5:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

My kids were in GATE classes from the mid-80's to late 90's, and from my reading of school board/parent discussions, it seems that the GATE program has changed significantly since then. The program was originally described as geared to kids who had abilities in specific areas that were exceptional, but that our school system didn't generally acknowledge or provide opportunities for them to develop, rather than aimed at kids who were high achievers. This is the type of program that Ken_Volok describes and that I was in back in the day, and I agree with his comments. GATE wasn't equivalent to an AP or honors program for kids who excelled in a standard program and were motivated to ace the required classes, but the ones who had an insatiable appetite for learning in areas that had a low correlation with required class material. My impression is that the GATE program initially was oriented towards identifying and providing opportunities for bright non-conformists, the Edisons and Einsteins who would probably have difficulty achieving a high school diploma today and whose boredom with school would more likely result in them being stereotyped as underachievers or kids with behavior problems than as people with extraordinary potential. Recent information about the SB GATE program describe GATE classes as indistinguishable from AP or honors classes.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
January 24, 2013 at 10:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In my classes there were definitely highly scientific math kids and then us artist types. One helped the other.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 24, 2013 at 11:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A real downside of any program based on test scores is that a lot of potential, as in art, music, theater, insight, or the ability to "see the big picture" and initiate radical changes in society that might be applied to social, environmental, political, etc. changes, can't be measured, and teachers' evaluations are necessarily subjective. The fact that teachers and other adults may see really bright kids as merely non-conforming is also important. I think it's important to have any selection process designed to eliminate language as a factor. The purpose of the GATE program isn't to emphasize the detrimental effects of limited language abilities - it's to provide opportunities and stimulation to kids so they can use their abilities to the max. I think offering testing in Spanish is a better solution than skewing the curve for the entire population of test-takers. I think any process that negatively biases a kid's opportunities based on culture - those who live in Spanish-speaking homes and communities, for example, or whose poverty restricts opportunities for achievement, is racist. We have very limited low-income housing, and there are some kids who are living in housing with 8-10 people/bedroom whose ability to survive academically is an indication of exceptional ability.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
January 26, 2013 at 12:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

14noscams has a good idea that the CogAt test be administered in Spanish as well as English, particularly when given as early as Second Grade.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 26, 2013 at 1:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How much does a child in America who is only gifted in a foreign language benefit when the sole use of that language is only helpful on the fringes of society?

Should we text in Hmong, Mandarin, French, Arabic as well?

taz (anonymous profile)
January 27, 2013 at 8:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

yes, I take your point taz. But Spanish (not German, which I speak, for example) is different since there has been an historic (not indigenous!) Spanish-speaking community here for well over 150 years. Is Spanish then a "foreign language" for these kids? These children -- I've read that over 80% of the Harding School children are from mother-tongue Spanish speaking homes -- be penalized because their mother tongue language is not English. Can't there be some accommodation for this, esp. since they do the CogAt test in SECOND GRADE?

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 27, 2013 at 8:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Then what? Bilingual GATE education? Of course there will be those that say that it's discriminatory against those whose native language is other than English or Spanish. Once you start GATE testing in languages other than English, it gets to be a slippery slope.

Botany (anonymous profile)
January 27, 2013 at 9:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Should we text in Hmong, Mandarin, French, Arabic as well?"

taz (anonymous profile)
January 27, 2013 at 8:40 a.m.

Exactly, point well taken. Lowering the bar for Spanish-speaking students is the core of the problem. Lots of poor people came to this country (and still do) without English and managed to learn the language. If the Spanish-speaking kids learn English (like every other immigrant group) than there is no language barrier. Also, how are people who only speak Spanish supposed to communicate with those who speak other languages as their native tongue other than English? If we (as Botany points out) go down the slippery slope, than we have a Tower Of Babel, or, we make people who come from these other places learn Spanish in addition to learning English--which of course, isn't fair.

As for the history of Spanish in this area, it--like English--is a language of colonization so any symbolic relevance goes out the door. As politically incorrect as it is, we need a common mutual language, and just as the colonial language of Spanish serves that purpose in Mexico and most countries to the south of it, English serves the purpose in the U.S. There is a reason our public schools are in such bad shape and this issue hits at the core of it.

By the way, William Shockley--who if I remember had achieved previous fame as a scientist--was a racist who promoted the Bell Curve Theory and insisted that Whites were genetically superior to other races.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 27, 2013 at 4:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Learn Spanish, it is beautiful and sexy. The more languages you know, the richer your understanding of the world, because language reflects a culture's understanding of the world. For example, in Spanish nothing is a neuter. The whole world is male and female. Same in French and Italian. German has a very complex syntax, which requires a very organized mind. I wish I knew every language in the world, it would make life unbelievably rich.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2013 at 6:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

German is easier to learn for Englsih speakers than the "Romantic Languages" of Spanish, French and Italian because English is a Germanic language.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 30, 2013 at 6:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I would say German is harder Ken. German has more cases, and you're dealing with (as pointed out) Masculine, Feminine, and neutral. (As I recall, Spanish has four cases and German six)

As Mark Twain said "My philological studies have satisfied me that a gifted person ought to learn English (barring spelling and pronouncing) in thirty hours, French in thirty days, and German in thirty years. It seems manifest, then, that the latter tongue ought to be trimmed down and repaired. If it is to remain as it is, it ought to be gently and reverently set aside among the dead languages, for only the dead have time to learn it."

I also knew a Swedish man who told me he studied German for six years and English for three. When I asked him of the difference, he explained "English grammar is this thick (holding his hands about six inches apart) and German grammar is this thick" (holding his hands about three feet apart)

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2013 at 3:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

BC: I think you're somewhat confusing cases and gender. German has four cases and three (grammatical) genders.
Spanish has no cases and two genders.
While degree of difficulty language acquisition is somewhat relative, most would likely agree that learning German is harder for a native English speaker than Spanish, indeed because of its somewhat more complicated grammar and despite being more directly related to English than any of the romance languages such as Spanish. That was certainly my experience. English, mostly via Norman French, has been much influenced/modified by Latin/romance languages, mostly in its (often dual) vocabulary elements.

zappa (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2013 at 10:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"mostly in its (often dual) vocabulary elements."

Such as "wrath" "anger" and "ire"?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2013 at 3:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Like the cool new film "Day of Wrath"?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 31, 2013 at 4:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

German is the new Chinese. It's a toss-up, but to learn some rudimentary Deutsch would be easier for our students, while getting deeper into the language might be easier in Spanish.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2013 at 5:22 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Most English words of three or more syllables are indeed of Latin or Greek origin, via the Norman French. For example: syllable, origin, and example translate in French to: syllabe, origine, and exemple. So whether you realize it or not, you already know French. From there to Spanish is easier than you'd think, and a lot of fun.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2013 at 1:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

right, poodles, but at the same time isn't the structure of English from OldEnglish and from i don't know Saxon or Jute or at any rate a Germanic-origin language. While modern German sentences are often quite lengthy, the syntax and much of the grammatical structure is Germanic. There are a lot of cognates to German as well: beer, cheese, and s**t [Schiss]...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2013 at 1:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Old Norse is the basis. Look at Icelandic in print and than Old English. English is--appropriately--a "potpourri" of French, Norse, Germanic, Latin etc, and the language one must know in order to succeed in the U.S. but people still insist we can have a system of (here comes an Afrikaans word) of linguistic apartheid and not suffer the consequences.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2013 at 2:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I love the Mark Twain quote Bill, thank you for the laugh.
Dr Dan, German syntax is very different from English syntax. It isn't just that German sentences are lengthy, but that the verb often doesn't appear until the very end of the sentence, and that the article changes depending on whether the noun is subject, predicate, and whether there is a possessive pronoun. Nouns can be either male, neuter, or female, and there is not only a different article for each, but each one changes depending on where in the sentence the noun is being used. Subordinate clauses are a nightmare. German syntax is closer to Latin than to English.
For example, this is how you say "I haven't spoken to him for two days" in German: "Vor zwei Tagen habe ich mit ihm nicht gesprochen." Literally, that translates to "For two days have I to him not spoken." In Spanish you would say: "No he hablado con él en dos días," which translates, again literally, to "I have not spoken with him for two days." As you can tell, our English sentence structure is far closer to the Spanish or to French than to German, no matter the fact that many English words have German or Norse origins.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
February 1, 2013 at 7:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"I have no say in the matter". (No tengo voz ni voto en el asunto) Literally: "I have no voice nor vote in the the issue". (In der angelegenheit habe ich nichts zu sagen "In the matter have I nothing to say"

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2013 at 4:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

By the way, this was the only language my grandmother spoke when she came to the U.S. at age twelve. She went on to college, without any bilingual services. All of her ethnic peers masted English as well. If they can do it, so can Spanish-speakers.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2013 at 5:07 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I stand corrected, blackpoodles, and agree the subordinate clauses are insane, and I could never quite differentiate between the Subjunctive 1 and Subjunctive 2. At least grant that the very high number of cognate words lend a certain artificial familiarity which can be helpful in German 1 classes.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2013 at 8:26 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Let's go for broke: Finnish has 15 cases and Hungarian (to which it's rumored to be related) has 25. As for gender, I don't know about Hungarian, but at least Finnish has no gender.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2013 at 5:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"DrDan"..Dr...Der?...Dan...Das?...Das Williams? DrDan might be Das Williams, and DrDan speaks German, Der, Die Das, it's all about breaking the secret code.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2013 at 5:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gee I wonder what Betty Boop has to say about all this?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2013 at 5:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ja! aber hier ist der DrDan 93101 and holds Teutonic pride in this status Westside status

DrDan (anonymous profile)
February 2, 2013 at 7:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Das tut mir ja froh.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2013 at 1:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Who knew we could have so much fun comparing grammatical rules? Of course Spanish speakers can conquer English, and many do, but since family is of huge cultural importance in the Hispanic community, preserving the ability to converse with non-English speaking members of the family feels more important than being able to talk with strangers. I also think that the larger the immigrant group, the less likely it is to quickly adopt the habits and language of its host country. If you are alone traveling to Barcelona, you probably will have to at least attempt to speak some Spanish or Catalan, but if you get there on a cruise ship with 3000 other Americans, you can rely on the group to get your needs met without making the effort to speak a foreign tongue. Of course you'll have a much richer experience if you do make the effort, and immigrants who learn English fare a lot better than those who don't.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2013 at 9:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Learn English, teach in English and keep GATE entrance requirements high. I don't care where you came from or the color of your skin. If you don't meet the high requirements, can't or won't learn English, then return to wherever you came from!

whatsinsb (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 10:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

GATE standards must be kept high if the program is to maintain any kind of integrity or benefit to the student.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
February 20, 2013 at 11:51 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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