In pursuit of equity, the city’s School Diversity Advisory group has proposed getting rid of the gifted and talented program in the public schools.
It’s a bad idea.
Our schools are the most segregated in the nation, but eliminating the gifted and talented program is the wrong solution to the problem. Every community has students who can thrive in a G&T program, and the better idea would be to revamp and increase access to those programs.
To phase out the G&T program needlessly antagonizes families with children enrolled in the program. It equally ignores the aspirations of those families who want their children to have a fair shot at getting in. It would be far better if the city would revisit and revise its current admissions practice. As it stands now, selection is based on an admissions test administered to 3- and 4-year-olds that is developmentally inappropriate and has proven to be an unreliable measure of who can benefit from enrollment in a G&T program.
We credit Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza for jumpstarting a long overdue discussion on integrating our schools. Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed the School Diversity Advisory Group to investigate and recommend policies designed to reduce racial segregation in the schools.
Although the UFT is an active member of the group and supports a good number of its recommendations, we disagree on scuttling G&T programs. We hope the city will find innovative ways to build consensus so that at long last it can deliver equal opportunities for success for all students.