Published On: Wed, Aug 28th, 2019

New York wants to battle ‘racism’ by shutting down gifted classes, programs, just Bill de Blasio wanted all along

A New York City panel appointed by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) to address perceived diversity issues proposed this recommendation: eliminate gifted programs in the city’s public schools.

The Washington Post summarized the data which illustrates this alleged racism: “For example, for the 2019-2020 school year, data released from the district in March showed that only seven of 895 students who received offers to attend Stuyvesant High School — the hardest of the selective schools in which to gain admittance — were black. Stuyvesant also initially offered admissions to 587 Asian students, 194 white students, 45 students of unknown race or ethnicity, 33 Latino students, 20 multiracial students and nine Native Americans.”

Elementary school kids climbing on to a school bus

The report states that “as we move away from unjust Gifted and Talented programs and school screens, it is imperative to resource the creation and development of new research-based programs that serve all children.”

In a statement, de Blasio said he was reviewing the recommendations. “Every child, regardless of zip-code, has the right to attend a school where they can thrive. Through initiatives like Universal Literacy and AP For All, we’re working tirelessly to build a more equitable system and ensure all our students have the tools they need to succeed. “

de Blasio, who is also is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, said he would take that suggestion under advisement after last year, calling for an end to the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT).

Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Washington based nonprofit Century Foundation, is a member of the advisory group and wrote the following piece explaining why he and other members came to the conclusion that most gifted programs in New York City’s schools should end.

He writes: “New York City’s gifted and talented programs currently require that 4-year-olds must take a high-stakes exam for entry. Some New Yorkers pay for expensive test-prep for very small children to get an edge. Black and Latinx students are disproportionately shut out: although such students constitute 65 percent of New York City’s public kindergarten cohort, they make up just 18 percent of students offered gifted and talented slots.”

Kahlenberg details programs across other states/cities, before illustrating that NYC uses a single test with most of the gifted kids being white or Asian.

“Although New York City high schools are supposed to be open to all, these geographic preferences mean that families with wealth can purchase the right to have their children receive a superior public education, while the children of the less fortunate are effectively shut out,” he wrote, later noting an argument for busing students.

“The advisory group wasn’t willing to go that far. When admissions processes recognize the hurdles that students have overcome — so that talented low-income and black and Latinx students have a fair shot at admissions — I, for one, don’t want to take away the opportunity that those students have of attending a high-performing integrated school because it had already reached its 75 percent cap on high performers. The enemy should be racial and economic segregation, not academic merit.

“Overall, the advisory group’s recommendations, if adopted, would move us a long way toward a fairer system of the type all New York City students deserve — one that challenges every student, and is far more equitable and integrated than the one we currently have.”

Writing a 2018 op-ed that was published in the education website Chalkbeat, de Blasio said the city will offer 20 percent of seats at the schools to students from low-income families and just missed the cut on the exam.

“Now, a disadvantaged student who is just a point or two shy of the cut-off won’t be blocked from a great educational opportunity,” he wrote, also seeing the problem as a race, not performance.

“There are almost 600 middle schools citywide. Yet, half the students admitted to the specialized high schools last year came from just 21 of those schools. For a perfect illustration of disparity: Just 14 percent of students at Bronx Science come from the Bronx.”

OPINION: Just to be clear, there already a modifier built into the system. Here in Tampa, I had three or my five kids test and enter the gifted program. During the years working with those teachers and administrators we learn there is an ECONOMIC  CURVE for students on the “free lunch” list, or a special designation for the perceived LOW INCOME student. This meant that the cut off of 120, for example, was reduced to 100 for those students and they were admitted.

Back to the story….

While some lawmakers, including State Sen. Leroy Comrie, have proposed increasing gifted and talented classes in an effort to diversify the top high schools, Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza has been skeptical.

“When you’re talking about gifted and talented as a panacea, you’re talking about further segregating children,” Carranza said earlier this year.

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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