New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio will eliminate the gifted and talented program criticized by some who say it “segregates students,” The New York Times said. Several parents have come out to criticize the mayor’s move, calling his plan “extremely disappointing” and “‘abominable.”
The Democrat, despite being in the final months of his term, announced that the current program would be replaced by another, called Brilliant NYC, which will eliminate the test given to 4-year-olds before they enter kindergarten to identify “gifted and talented” students.
Instead, it will implement an accelerated instruction model during the fall of next year that will take in about 65,000 children ages eight and up while remaining in their regular classrooms with other students, the New York Post said Friday, Oct. 1.
The city’s education department says the new model will offer accelerated learning opportunities to 26 times as many students, from 2,500 to the city’s 65,000 kindergartners.
“Brilliant NYC will deliver accelerated instruction for tens of thousands of children, as opposed to a select few,” de Blasio declared, adding that “Every New York City child deserves to reach their full potential, and this new, equitable model gives them that chance.”
The New York Times said, “About 75 percent of the roughly 16,000 students in gifted elementary school classes in New York are white or Asian American,” adding, Those groups account for about 25 percent of the school system overall.”
This is in line with what advocates for the elimination of the current program and some educators say, who allege that the city’s gifted and talented test was polarizing and encouraged unequal and discriminatory treatment of black and Latino students.
Meanwhile, Meisha Porter, chancellor of schools, defended the Brilliant NYC plan, saying that “every child in New York City has talents that go far beyond what a single test can capture,” and such a plan “will uncover their strengths so they can succeed.”
But for former Staten Island Communication Education Council president Sam Pirozzolo, who has children who attended Gifted and Talented programs, the plan is “daunting.”
According to Breitbart, in 2019, the “School Diversity Advisory Group,” a panel appointed by de Blasio, said gifted and talented programs and “selective” schools that have admissions requirements are “unfair” because they do not “serve all children.”
The group wrote: “We recommend eliminating exclusionary screens, replacing those programs with pro-integrative programs used in many school districts across the country to affirmatively attract students of all backgrounds and make sure that all students are challenged.”
Meanwhile, several parents came out to criticize the Democratic mayor’s plan and aired their frustration.
Yiatin Chu, the co-founder of the education advocacy group PLACE NYC, who has one of his children in a gifted and talented program, said:
“I am really angry that the mayor who has been in charge of our education for the last eight years uses his last days as mayor to make this very radical change to our public education.”
Lisa Marks, a Manhattan mother and public school teacher who has a child in an accelerated program and was planning for a younger sibling to apply there, said, “It’s extremely disappointing,” adding, “We were planning to apply, but now I have to tell my daughter that she won’t get the same opportunity. It’s not right.”