NYC’s gifted and talented program needs reform not elimination



Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to end the gifted and talented program is a lazy attempt at solving the education system’s diversity issue. What the program needs is not to disappear, but to be reformed.

In a 2014 Civil Rights Project at UCLA report, New York was the most segregated state in the nation for Black students. Fast forward to 2018; Updated data found that New York has not changed in segregation status.

The gifted and talented program reflects the segregation of the city. Around three-fourths of the 16,000 students are of white and Asian descent, while their Black and Latino counterparts make up the rest of those accepted in the program, according to AP News.

Instead of removing the program entirely, the next mayor needs to increase enrollment for the program. The program currently admits only 2,500 students out of 65,000 kindergartners on a citywide basis.

It is no secret that New York City schools have been underfunded for years.

A report by the Alliance for Quality Education highlighted the effects of “educational racism” and how underfunding of New York schools has disproportionately affected Black and Latino communities.

The Alliance for Quality Education focused on school districts in New York that are majority Black and Latino, and the impact of New York’s failure to fully fund its fair school funding formula, the Foundation Aid Formula, on those districts.

“The era of judging 4-year-olds based on a single test is over,” de Blasio said, as reported by AP News. “Every New York City child deserves to reach their full potential, and this new, equitable model gives them that chance.”

De Blasio’s criticism is not unfounded. Whether a student is accepted into the gifted and talented program can shape the rest of their K-12 journey.

Both New York City mayoral candidates came out against the idea to eliminate the gifted and talented program.

Republican candidate Curtis Silwa called De Blasio’s announcement a disgrace and Brooklyn Borough President and Democratic candidate Eric Adams said that he would keep the program alive. page1image49676288 page1image49680704

“There’s a new mayor next year, that mayor must evaluate how he’s going to deal with the gifted and talented program,” Adams said. “He can’t get rid of it until next year.”

De Blasio’s plan to remove the program is too much. Rather than erasing a program that can help the next generation of public-school students, the program needs to evolve.

Changing the requirements for entry into the program is the first step towards creating a more equitable school system and city.