Don't Worry, Be Happy

HISD parents want information about possible changes in the GT/Vanguard program. The administration calls any fears baseless.

As far as GT goes, Soehnge believes there will be more specific standards set in place across the district. Yes, the district has been hearing complaints about the quality of some of the GT programs. In some schools, GT is a full day of classes. In others, it's a two-hour pullout from the regular day. In some, only one or two GT students are left in an entire school. The state says they must receive special services, and Soehnge insists it can be done within a regular classroom -- but that's kind of a stretch to put your mind around.

Soehnge even expects that the Vanguard program, rather than being eliminated, will be expanded. "Our goal is to improve quality across the district, not to close a bunch of programs." She says the district is looking at early college models. "Our goal is not to keep kids in a certain area. Our goal is to see more choice."

Some parents are questioning this, too, saying they've heard that while there may be more Vanguard programs, students will be restricted to the one in their district.

Others say they've heard Saavedra wants each school to be all things to all kids. "You tell me that every single neighborhood school is going to offer Japanese and Chinese?" Livermore hooted. She also said that comments have been made that a lot of parents will go work second jobs and put their kids in private schools. But then, so what? They'd still be paying HISD taxes.

Another frequently repeated scenario is that funding will be decreased at the Vanguards and increased in the neighborhood GT programs. Eventually, people will be more accepting of the neighborhood programs since the Vanguards won't be what they used to be.

All of which sounds a bit more Machiavellian than anyone would like to think a district or a superintendent would be.

One parent said that she believes Saavedra has no ugly motives here -- that everything he is trying to do is for the good. "But I think there may be bad consequences," she said glumly.

People are spending huge chunks of their lives trying to piece together exactly what Abe Saavedra really thinks about all this. We'd like to tell you, but again, he didn't meet with us.

Maybe the next time you see Abe Saavedra, you should ask him what's on his heart and mind. You know, just ask him. Really specific questions, though. None of this generalities stuff.

And please let us all know. The last thing we need is more secrets.

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