Former New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio attempted to phase out the Gifted and Talented program. This was a move to appease the WOKE crowd who cited that the program must be “racist,” due to the fact that more Asian and White students enter the program than Black and Latino students. The new Mayor, Eric Adams, and the schools’ chancellor, David Banks, announced last Thursday, that instead of following this plan, they will instead be expanding the Gifted & Talented program.
The new plan is to admit 100 more kindergartners and 1,000 more third grade students to the program. The entry process — which has undergone many changes, mainly that testing is no longer required — will be based on more “equitable” factors. What these additional equity-involved criteria will be is currently unknown, but last year teacher referrals became the preferred method of entry into New York City Schools’ Gifted & Talented Program. This is in direct connection with Mayor Adams’ campaign. He was opposed to phasing out the program altogether, which was likely a determining factor in his being elected.
He noted that he is dedicated to ensuring that there is a gifted and talented option in every school district within the city. Going forward, parents of children being considered will receive a letter notifying them of their eligibility. They will then need to apply before May 31st when the program opens. This will be determined by student’s performance in their core subjects and the top 10% will be encouraged to apply to the Gifted and Talented Program.
Before these changes, this status was merely based on a single test given to children at 4 years of age. Now that studies have displayed that measuring children’s abilities at later stages in life is a more accurate representation of their potential, New York City is dedicated to examining second graders and elevating those who display gifted and talented abilities for their third-grade school year. This is projected to be more successful and offer better opportunities to minority students.
Gifted and talented students who are not challenged in the classroom can become bored and restless. Without the proper material to offer them lessons that engage their mind, they are sometimes misdiagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Extreme intelligence is one of the most common reasons students are misdiagnosed with ADHD. Children with a high IQ need stimulating material to keep them involved and excited about learning, without programs that provide this they suffer and underachieve.
As enrollment drops and parents continue to disagree with school policy on everything from mask requirements to when sexual education should be taught, ensuring that students are receiving the best education possible is ever more important. Parents who were outraged at the previous plan to remove the Gifted & Talented Program and removed their children from the public education system, or were planning to do so now, once again, have more options that benefit students going forward. Whether this will entice them to return to the system, or offer more support for it remains to be seen, but it is being hailed as a step in the right direction.