Most of New York City’s public schools offer a “gifted and talented” program for aspiring students. Yearly performance tests are offered to identify the kids who are overperforming in the standard disciplines. Those who qualify are entered into advanced placement programs with more demanding curricula, giving them an easier path to admission to better colleges. The programs are open to all and don’t cost anything extra, so every family has the opportunity to try to get their children in.
Unfortunately for Gotham’s parents, the results have failed to meet the expectations of the woke crowd running the city government. Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza have repeatedly complained that the testing program is “unfair” because the students who wind up in the program “don’t reflect the diversity of the city’s population.” In other words, not enough Black and Hispanic students wind up in the advanced programs. So how does the brain trust at City Hall plan to “fix” this issue? Easy as pie. They’re going to do away with the entrance tests. (CBS New York)
A big change is coming for New York City’s “gifted and talented” programs for students.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza say the city will start phasing out the entry exam.
Critics have said the composition of the programs do not reflect the city’s diversity.
The Chancellor took to Twitter to attempt to paint some lipstick on this pig.
Gifted & Talented programs serve a small percentage of children—but we know many more @NYCSchools students are exceptional. We must move away from the test & develop a system that reimagines academic and enrichment programming for our most exceptional students.
— Chancellor Richard A. Carranza (@DOEChancellor) January 13, 2021
So you’re going to “reimagine academic and enrichment programming for our most exceptional students?” What does that even mean? You can’t really have an advanced placement program without having some way to identify the students who are truly advanced and would be able to thrive in a more challenging educational environment. Aside from placement testing, how do you propose to do that?
Mayor de Blasio has been railing against the gifted and talented programs for years, but it’s always been a bit of a sticky issue for him to try to handle. The problem is that the “lack of racial diversity” he loves to complain about doesn’t break down in the normal fashion. If it was just a case where the lion’s share of the spots in the program were going to White students, he could simply play the race card and stomp on the programs. Unfortunately for them, that’s not the case. Year after year, the majority of the seats have gone to Asian students.
The difference in results is particularly stark when you look at the scores on a per capita basis. Asians make up only 14.1 percent of the city’s population, far behind Black, Hispanic and White residents. And yet their students outperform the rest by a wide margin. So this largely deprives de Blasio of the chance to play the race card. And if he eliminates the testing program, he’s going to be cutting off one of the city’s minority populations in a massively disproportionate fashion.
Sadly for the students who will be most heavily impacted, when Democratic politicians talk about minorities, they almost always forget about Asians. In their minds, the word “minority” only applies to Black and Hispanic residents, even though both outnumber Asians across the board in all but a few localized communities.
So if you’re going to do away with the admissions testing system, how do you replace that with something that produces your desired demographic result? If it just works out to be some sort of lottery, then why have an advanced studies program at all? You’re not going to randomly pick up the most advanced students. Further, how is that fair to the children? If a kid who isn’t able to score well on the placement tests suddenly gets shoved into a significantly more advanced program, they’re almost certainly going to flounder. Then you have to either boot them back to the regular school curriculum or dumb down the advanced class to the point where they can pass. If you follow the latter route, you’ve eliminated the benefit of having a gifted and talented program in the first place.
This is simply more virtue signaling from the de Blasio administration and racial pigeonholing madness. All they’re going to do is further erode the New York City public school system and make it even harder for kids to get into college. But that’s obviously a small price to pay when you’re trying to make it look like you’re actually fighting racism, I suppose.