Parents rip de Blasio on schedule to end gifted and talented program

New York City’s parents tore Mayor Bill de Blasio’s ‘extremely disappointing’ and ‘disgusting’ plans to increase the public school system’s gifted and talented program in his final months in office.

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Public school parents in the five boroughs told The Post that the lame duck mayor’s proposal, announced Friday, to phase out the coveted exclusive education model by next fall — after leaving Gracie Mansion in late 2021 — is the wrong call to students in the Ministry of Education’s system.

Charleen Ang, the mother of a student on a third-class Gifted and Talented program on the Upper West Side, has tried to get her first-class son into an unsuccessful one, lamenting that he may not have the opportunity.

“Now there is no way for our son to ever join his sister,” she smoked. “It’s disgusting that de Blasio in his last months in office is dismantling one of the few successful education programs in New York City, negatively affecting a shard of children.”

Parents called them Blasio's plan
Parents called de Blasio’s plan “extremely disappointing” and “disgusting”.
Matthew McDermott for the NY Post

“I am really angry that the mayor who has been in charge of our education for the last eight years is spending his last days as mayor to make this very radical change in our public education,” said Yiatin Chu, co-founder of the education advocacy group PLACE NYC, whose eldest child participated in a gifted and talented program.

“I think it’s ridiculous that the mayor is making such a change at eleven o’clock.”

The current gifted and talented program for New York City’s elementary schools was introduced under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It offers faster classes and specialized advanced curriculum for students who qualify.

The program controversially required that children be tested as 4-year-olds for admission — and those who entered were disproportionately white and Asian and from affluent parts of the city. But some black and Latin local politicians also supported the program, as it offered many families as they represent an alternative to often struggling district schools.

students write and draw positive affirmations on poster boards at PS 5 Port Morris, an elementary school in the Bronx borough of New York.
The current program controversially required that children be tested as 4-year-olds for admission.
Brittainy Newman / AP

Under the Blasios plan released Friday morning, current students in G&T-accelerated learning classes will be able to stay in them until graduation. But new cohorts will be completely eliminated in the fall of 2022, putting an end to the current system where 4-year-old city children are tested.

Lisa Marks, a parent and elementary school teacher from Manhattan, told The Post that she has an older child in an accelerated program in District 2 and also planned to have a younger sibling apply there.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” said Marks, who teaches at a Bronx high school. “We planned to apply, but now I have to tell my daughter that she will not get the same opportunity. That is not correct. ”

Max Dickstein, a resident of Forest Hills, is the father of a child in the Gifted and Talented program and was ready for his siblings to apply for the same school next year.

Students are dismissed from the first day of school on PS 133.
The fate of the G&T program will ultimately be in the hands of the next mayor.
New China / SIPA

While Dickstein admitted that the existing single-test admission system was outdated and needed a revision, he said that nixing the programs is not at all the appropriate solution.

“I think there had to be a change,” he said. “There is not a diversity of children in the classroom, but it is disappointing that someone is entertaining to scrap it all.”

Craig Slutzkin, a parent in Manhattan, also planned to get his child to apply for a gifted and talented first-class place next year. He said his child is already bored in his classes this year, predicting that eliminating accelerated learning opportunities would cause some families to seek alternatives from the city’s public schools.

“One of the benefits of the New York City school system has been that it has always taken faster students and worked with them to ensure that they work at an appropriate level. It is important to have these opportunities early, because the first years are important, ”he said. “You want these kids challenged and engaged.”

Major Bill de Blasio
Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to phase out the exclusive education model for next fall.
Matthew McDermott for the NY Post

The much-delayed gifted and talented overhaul that City Hall has been blown up for not engaging parents can still be tweaked in response to feedback, city officials insisted Friday.

“We would like to hear from parents, community leaders, educators and students. Brilliant NYC is a vision. That’s our vision for New York City, ”said Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter on Friday morning at WNYC. “This is a plan for the plan that we intend to implement. Commitment is a critical part of moving this plan forward. ”

“We’re going to bring this plan out to communities,” the mayor chimed, during his weekly “The Brian Lehrer Show” performance. “The Chancellor is going to go out there in person, many of the other important DOE officials have to go out, meet with parents, meet with parents’ leaders, community education councils, hear their feedback and then adapt a plan according to what we hear, and so it is, what we finally implement. ”

De Blasio and Porter stunned the city with the Friday announcement – which came a day after the Ministry of Investigation revealed that the mayor was abusing his police details and despite repeated promises from the DOE about significant community involvement.

Kai Mao with children.  Parents respond to gifted and talented program cancellation stories.
“We need programs for smart students,” Kai Mao said.
Family photo

Ultimately, the fate of the talented and talented program will be in the hands of the next mayor – who in early 2021 will take the helm of city council. The next mayor is likely to be Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee in the Nov. 2 race.

A representative of Adams, who is currently president of Brooklyn, said he “will assess the plan and reserve his right to implement policies based on the needs of students and parents if he becomes mayor.”

Deborah Alexander – a parent leader at Community District 30 in western Queens – described the fate of the G & T program in the air as “confusing.”

“No one really knows. Is it something that is stuck in stone? Is it something they should have meetings about, or is it something they just throw to the next mayor? She wondered.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg
The current gifted and talented program for New York City’s elementary schools was introduced under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
GN Miller / NY Post

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer was similarly amazed.

“I could not quite understand what was being proposed,” she told The Post Friday afternoon.

Brewer, like other elected officials, responded to the wave of outrage after the surprise announcement by promising again that they would change the program to incorporate advocate, teacher and parent input.

“The Ministry of Education must be able to meet the needs of children who are gifted academically, but it should include black and Latino families and it should be an integrated program,” she said.

“It simply will not happen,” she added, adding that teachers should provide faster teaching along with classroom lesson plans. “They are already flooded.”

PS 124
“These are not privileged, wealthy parents! It is working parents who want to challenge their children, ”Assemblyman Ron Kim told The Post.
Michael Loccisano / Getty Images
New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim is pictured with his daughters, who are in the Gifted and Talented program on PS 32, in Flushing.
New York State Assemblyman Ron Kim with his daughters who are in the Gifted and Talented program on PS 32 in Flushing.
Family photo

Some existing G&T parents backed the new model. “I extremely support this new plan, which will bring greater equity to all classrooms in the city,” said Idehsa Fraser of Brooklyn. “Every child in New York deserves equal opportunities and equal conditions.”

Assemblyman Ron Kim — a Democrat representing parts of Queens and the father of two children in gifted and talented programs — declared nixing G&T to be an “attack” on working-class and Asian immigrant families.

“These are not privileged, wealthy parents! It is working parents who want to challenge their children, ”the left-leaning lawmaker told The Post. “How does racial segregation put children out of talented and talented programs? Punishing children who want to excel is wrong. ”

He lamented that preferences from working-class immigrants “have been absent in” discussion of school policy “during de Blasio’s tenure.

“That is not correct.”

Kai Mao, who wanted to enroll his 3-year-old son Samuel to learn in a gifted and talented curriculum, provided the opportunity to either frolic from the five boroughs or place his young son in a private school.

“It would be difficult, but we had to do it,” he said. “Mayor de Blasio wants to make every child uneducated just as much.”

“It’s a good program,” added Moa, a resident of Gramercy Park. “We need programs for smart students.”


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