New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented Program. Students who are currently enrolled in gifted and talented classes will not be affected. But the highly selective and racially segregated program will be replaced for incoming students.
By Eliza Shapiro
New York Times
October 8, 2021

Mayor Bill de Blasio will overhaul New York City’s highly selective, racially segregated gifted and talented education classes, a sea change for the nation’s largest public school system that may amount to the mayor’s most significant act in the waning months of his tenure.

The elementary school gifted and talented program that New York has known for the last several decades will no longer exist for incoming kindergarten students next fall, and within a few years, it will be eliminated completely, city officials told The New York Times.
Students who are currently enrolled in gifted classes will become the final cohort in the existing system, which will be replaced by a program that offers accelerated learning to all students in the later years of elementary school.

The gradual elimination of the existing program will remove a major component of what many consider to be the city’s two-tiered education system, in which one relatively small, largely white and Asian American group of students gain access to the highest-performing schools, while many Black and Latino children remain in schools that are struggling.

New York, home to one of the most racially segregated school systems in the country, is more reliant on selective school admissions than any other large system in America.

The move represents one of Mr. de Blasio’s most dramatic actions to combat segregation in city schools, though it also puts New York more in line with how other cities are approaching their own segregated gifted classes. About 75 percent of the roughly 16,000 students in gifted elementary school classes in New York are white or Asian American. Those groups make up about 25 percent of the overall school system.

This is terrible news. A new mayor will be elected in November, and he (likely Eric Adams) should be urged to reverse this decision.