FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MAY 2, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 29
oped letters & comments
BY RUBEN DIAZ JR.
Th e destruction of our city’s gift ed and talented
programs, especially in black and brown
communities, is one of the main reasons we see a
lack of diversity in our specialized high schools.
A high quality education for our accelerated
learners must be available at the earliest ages.
Th e most recently announced results of
the Specialized High School Admissions Test
(SHSAT) put the crisis our city’s public education
system faces into clear focus. Of the almost
4,800 students admitted to the city’s eight specialized
public high schools this year, just 506
are Black or Latino, down slightly from last year.
Th is inequity is unacceptable.
Numerous options have been proposed to
lessen this shameful gap and move more public
school students in every community from
middle school to Stuyvesant, Bronx Science,
Brooklyn Tech and their counterparts.
A true fi x to the problems facing our high
schools must begin in the earliest grades. Th is
city must recommit to a robust gift ed and
talented program in every community, and
reverse the eradication of these programs that
began under Mayor Bloomberg and continues
unabated during the de Blasio administration.
Th e most recent results of the SHSAT found
that Black and Latino students continue to lose
ground when it comes to specialized high school
admissions. Slightly less than 11 percent of all
seats at the eight specialized high schools were
off ered to Black or Latino students this year,
despite those two groups making up roughly 70
percent of all public school students.
We can easily draw a direct correlation
between these numbers and the populations
of the city’s 86 gift ed and talented programs,
which provide students with accelerated learning
options at the earliest ages. Of the 15,979
children in those programs, just 21 percent are
black or Latino. In many minority communities,
such programs do not even exist.
Our children can do this work. Black and
Latino students are just as capable as anyone
else. Th eir talent must be nurtured at a young
age. Th e DOE must ensure that every single student
has access to gift ed education as early as
kindergarten, regardless of where they live.
Every student should be required to sit for the
test, as well. If more students take the test more
students will qualify for the programs, and the
DOE will be unable to ignore these numbers.
Opportunities for gift ed and talented education
have been sorely lacking in many underserved
communities, despite rhetoric about
desegregating our school system and the clear
evidence that such programs are a pathway to
specialized high school admissions and academic
If we are going to close the achievement gap
and make our specialized high schools more
representative of the city, we must nurture gift -
ed minority students at the earliest ages and provide
them with the accelerated learning options
they deserve in the neighborhoods in which
Mayor de Blasio can make changes immediately
to provide all students with equity at the
Ruben Diaz Jr. is the Bronx borough president.
ANNOYED OVER BAG
BANS & TAXES
I use plastic shopping bags to dispose
of my trash. So now I’ll have to
buy plastic trash bags. As a result, no
plastic will leave the trash stream. Th is
fee is a tax and yet another way the government
is working against the people!
QNS member Donald Aridas
PAPER BAG TAX
It is really getting out of hand. Th is
city gives tax breaks to every corporation
and rich foreigner but makes the
poorest citizens pay extra for everything.
QNS member Gina Santosas
OH GET OVER IT
It is really not that complicated folks.
Bring reusable bags to the store. Th ere
was a time when we lived without these
bags. Th e world continued to go round.
I am sick of seeing these things all over
the city, stuck in trees and bushes. Get
QNS member wansor
AN ASSAULT ON DRIVERS
Congestion pricing is just another
assault on drivers being squeezed
between bicycles and transit riders.
Th ey will do nothing for congestion
but to fi x a corrupt MTA, which will
probably take 100 years to make the
system accessible enough for the disabled
QNS member AL
HIS MIND’S ALREADY
Jimmy Van Bramer doesn’t refl ect
my values. He helped chase 25,000 jobs
out of Queens that Amazon might have
created. A politician is supposed to create
jobs, not chase them away. I will
not vote for him to be our next Queens
QNS member Larry Malchie
ABOUT VET SUICIDES
On average, it’s been reported, 22
military veterans kill themselves everyday.
Th is I something I fi nd most troubling
and very sad.
I myself served in the U.S. Navy
during the Vietnam era and suff ered
from depression and thought of and
tried to commit suicide while being
homeless aft er my discharge from
the military in 1975. I did get help.
Th erefore I feel for these veterans and
I am now a member of the American
Legion Post 103 in Douglaston, and
feel more needs to be done for those
who have served our country with dedication
and courage to protect those
freedoms we all hold most dear.
Th e VA has programs that can help.
Th ere is also the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer
Support Project that is an initiative
that lets veterans get counseling anonymously
in small group setting to manage
post-traumatic stress disorder in
addition to other disorders. Th is program
is reported to be in 22 counties
throughout New York. But these
programs can only help if the veteran
decides to take the fi rst step and
So if you know a veteran in that situation,
help them to take the fi rst step.
You will be glad that you did, for a life
is so sacred.
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.,
Glen Oaks Village
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