Losing the Discovery program at Tahoma School District could mean a loss of talent and creativity

“How instruction is provided to meet these learning goals is the decision of the school board and district educators. The instructional programs, methods and resources shall meet the needs of each individual student, regardless of race, color, creed, sex or level of ability. The district recognizes that equal opportunity education does not imply uniformity and that each student’s unique characteristics must be acknowledged.”

This is a quote from Tahoma Board policy NO. 2000 as well as state law. It cuts to the heart of the matter of all the talk of budget cuts in our schools. No matter what level a child is on the academically capable spectrum, children have an inherent need to learn as well as a legal right as an American.

In the current budget cut proposal, the Discovery program is slated to be “phased out” at the end of the 2009-10 school year. Some people may not care, because I fear most people don’t know what it is or even that it exists. It is a program for the highly capable students. It provides a safe haven for this small percentage of students at the top of the spectrum who struggle in a regular education classroom as much as the lower end does. These students are incredibly capable of doing amazing things, but not in the same way, with everything in a box. These students are so far out of the box sometimes, they don’t even know there is a box!

This is about equity for all students. All students have the right to learn and actually be taught, not just be given extra work, or assigned as the “helper”.

I implore the district to find the money to keep this saving grace. Without it, I am terrified what will become of so much talent and creativity.

Melissa Greenstein

Maple Valley