GATE, or Gifted and Talented Education, is a program in the Davis Joint Unified School District.
In August 2012, a parent brought a lawsuit against the school district in regards to the GATE admission policy, alleging that it was discriminatory. In this system, students with the highest test scores were ranked in front of students with slightly lower test scores with "risk factors." Additionally, students who took the OLSAT test (which is more culturally biased) were ranked above students who earned the same score on the TONI-3 test. It appears that the case was ruled in favor of the parent.
In response to the lawsuit, the school board adopted a lottery system that would randomly choose GATE-eligible children for spots in self-contained GATE classrooms.
Some parents think that the lottery system is unfair because students who scored in lower percentiles could get spots over children who scored higher. Of course, this is based on the assumption that higher scores are an accurate indication of IQ and that higher scorers are entitled to or somehow more deserving of spots (even though the lottery only includes children whose scores qualified them for GATE).
A petition advocating for no changes to the GATE program has been exposed as containing testimonials and signatures attributed to parents who never even signed the document. These fabricated quotes have been used in multiple promotional materials for the newly-formed Davis Excel group. Impersonated parents are now taking legal action and Change.org has been subpoenaed for the IP addresses of the false signatures.
Kathy Glatter has come forward and admitted to forging 30 signatures and 20 comments.
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What was the controversy? ~SD
Roughly, accusations that a ridiculously large percentage (almost 30%) of students are identified as GATE, making it a two-tiered educational system that negatively labels some students as "not gifted." There have also been accusations that wealthy parents can pay to have their children retested under more favorable circumstances. Others think GATE is just fine as it is. There is a proposal to have children who test above some standard selected randomly for the GATE program. Something like that. —cp