Caribbean L BQ ife, Sept. 6, 2019 11
By Schneps Media
For decades, the “gifted and talented”
program has given some of the sharpest
young minds in the New York City public
school system a chance to challenge
themselves, hone their skills and cultivate
their minds to their fullest potential.
But if a group of education reformers
whispering in the ears of Mayor Bill de
Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard
Carranza have it their way, the gifted and
talented program will soon be a thing of
The School Diversity Advisory Group
recommended last month that the
Department of Education (DOE) dismiss
the program in the name of equality. They
claim that the screening system in place
disproportionately leaves out students of
color, and contributes to segregation in
the nation’s largest public school district.
But the group’s assertion that the
gifted and talented program, by itself,
is the cause of segregation is a deeply
flawed argument. It’s also the same argument
made by those seeking to eliminate
entrance exams for the city’s specialized
high schools, for the very same reason: a
lack of equality and opportunity for all.
Make no mistake, there is a troubling
lack of equality and opportunity in New
York City public school education. A
shameful segregation indeed persists to
this day in classrooms across the most
progressive city in America.
But specialized education programs
or standardized tests are not to blame for
this condition. Decades of failed education
policy in New York City, rather, have
left behind public school students across
Simply put, this city has not invested
enough in its future. It has not provided
enough resources to public schools in
every corner of every borough to operate
at its optimum level. It has not provided
enough in the way of after-school
educational programs and free tutoring
for students to achieve high marks and
qualify for specialized schools or the
gifted and talented program.
To turn things around and truly
open up opportunity for all public
school students, we need to invest in
them. That costs billions of our taxpayer
dollars, of course, and requires a
steady amount of work to ensure that
everything goes according to plan.
In short, it’s hard. It requires work,
patience and diligence. It’s not an easy
remedy. But it just so happens to be the
Getting rid of programs such as
gifted and talented risks a tremendous
brain drain in New York. If the
city cannot help its sharpest young
minds reach their full potential, and if
the city cannot help all of its students
reach their full potential, they will
wither away from boredom and neglect.
Likewise, if the city cannot solve its
segregation problem without investing
in better schools, better teachers and
better programs for all its students,
it should expect more of the same,
regardless of reforms made.
Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza
must do the right thing, for
once, and invest in the city’s future,
rather than tear it down.
Stopping the city school brain drain
New York City School Chancellor Richard Carranza (L) is seen with Mayor
Bill de Blasio (R) at lunch at Katz’s Deli in New York, NY last year.
Albin Lohr-Jones / Sipa USA)(Sipa via Associated Press)
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