Like many of you, I was opposed to the splitting of the elementary APP program when the district proposed it and became more adamant in my opposition to the split as the district offered shifting rationales to defend the proposal. No matter how frustrated I got, however, I thought that there was a major silver lining in the District's otherwise uninspiring effort: the District's unswerving rhetorical commitment to improving participation in advanced learning programs by racial minorities and by students of low and middling socio-economic status. The optimistic part of me thought that maybe, just maybe, the District had a hidden plan in which it would rebrand Lowell and Thurgood Marshall as Advance Learning Academies, would actively recruit promising students from underpresented races and classes for the non-APP classrooms at Lowell and TM, and would develop sensible plans for integrating those students into the academic life of the APP program to the extent their performance justified it.
While such an approach would have had its pros and cons, at least it would have provided a clear vision for the schools and an explanation for why the APP program was being split. Though the results aren't in, the early returns suggest that the District does not have such a model in view. I have heard nothing about any outreach efforts to recruit students who would benefit from such a program to Lowell and TM, the Design Teams keep talking about compromising and balancing the needs of different populations, the schools seem headed for uniforms (which in this District at least is a strong signal of undesirability), and the schools seem actively interested in recruiting APP siblings (who, by definition, will not be adding to the diversity of the learning environment).
I have two questions. First, if the District's motivation is really to expand the diversity of those receiving advanced learning services, what steps are they taking to design Lowell and TM with that focus? Second, if that is not the District's rationale/model, then what is?