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TIMESLEDGER | QNS.18 COM | OCT. 15 - OCT. 21, 2021
DO YOUR PART DURING BREAST
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Mayor Bill de Blasio raised some eyebrows when he announced his plan to phase out the Department of Education’s
Gifted and Talented program. Photo by Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Offi ce
Mayor Bill de Blasio raised some eyebrows and
ire when he announced his plan to phase out
the Department of Education’s Gifted and Talented
(G&T) program, which offers enhanced
education services and opportunities for high-achieving
But raised eyebrows and ire might be the only
things the lame duck mayor truly accomplished in the
ayoral front-runner Eric Adams remains a fan of
G&T, and indicated in a published report his willingness
to continue the program with greater assets and
resources allocated to reduce the disparities that have
made the program, in many eyes, unequal and controversial.
Critics of the G&T program have suggested it unfairly
rewards students who are white or of Asian descent,
and are generally more affluent. They pointed
to the kindergarten evaluations for G&T as also being
poor barometers to judge a student’s brilliance.
The Brilliant NYC program, which de Blasio announced
Friday as a replacement for G&T, would shift
those evaluations to the second grade. But beyond that,
the plan is lacking in any real substance other than to
eliminate G&T outright.
How de Blasio can expect the next mayor of New
York to just go along with his empty script is the height
of arrogance for a politician clearly in search of his
We predict that likely incoming Mayor Adams will
scrap de Blasio’s Brilliant NYC program and reinstate
G&T, but with key changes to ensure that every highachieving
student, regardless of their background,
gets the opportunity to join.
The biggest trouble with G&T is the lack of availability
to communities across the five boroughs. We
suspect that the Department of Education and other
key groups within a school community — including
parent associations and teachers — have not done
nearly enough to educate parents about the program,
and offer the resources needed for students to qualify.
No one in an individual school community is necessarily
at fault over this. They’re doing the best they
can with the resources they’ve been provided by a city
and a bureaucracy that too often focuses on students as
numbers rather than people.
But if the city is serious about making G&T available
to every student who meets its stringent standards,
then it needs to foster such an environment early on.
October is Breast Cancer awareness month
and it is a reminder for all of us to make sure
ourselves and loved ones are aware of what
to look for regarding this disease.
Throughout the month of October, women are
encouraged to make mammography appointments.
And, in rare cases, 1% of men also come down with
breast cancer, which is often fatal because men
wait too long to get tested.
Some may wonder why a man is writing a letter
to the editor about breast cancer, which is more
common in women, but it affects each and every
one of us. It can impact all the women we love —
our mothers, sisters, aunts, wives, daughters and
friends can be affected by this insidious disease.
Eva, my wife of 34 years, has gone for this test
several times, and I know it scares her because
breast cancer runs in her family. She has friends
who have had this disease and some of them have
passed away. Each time she goes for the test, I’m
afraid to hear the worst and face the possibility of
losing the most important person in my life.
But we must remember early detection is the
answer. I know that for a fact because I had come
down with aggressive prostate cancer. But due to
early detection and an aggressive surgery, I am in
remission five years later.
Now, with new treatment options, mammography
screenings can improve a woman’s chance of
survival. I had an aunt who had breast cancer in
the 1960s and died at age 62. But more can be done
today and the cure rate is much better today.
We all need to get involved and do what we can
to fight this insidious disease, like donating to the
American Cancer Society, which helps women cope
with breast cancer. A lot of organizations are out
there that can also help. There are runs, walks and
other fundraisers that can also help.
So please volunteer if you can and let’s help end
this disease that has affected so many men and
women and their families.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.,