New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented

Posted by: Bostonian

New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/08/21 05:59 AM

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

Quote:
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.
Posted by: philly103

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/08/21 11:40 AM

If anyone wants to read the report that preceded this decision:

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/1c478c_f14e1d13df45444c883bbf6590129bd7.pdf
Posted by: Kai

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/08/21 12:05 PM

I got a master's degree in gifted education a few years ago. I went into it thinking that self contained classrooms were the way to go, and I came away from it having decided that the vast majority of gifted programming is elitist and should be completely reworked. This was not ideology that was being pushed within the program--just the opposite actually.

I think that some combination of total school cluster grouping, seminar style classes that students can opt into (where standards are maintained, and there is no penalty for switching out), and flexibility in placement could go a long way towards providing meaningful academic experiences for all students. In addition, all teachers should be trained in gifted education techniques, since they would actually benefit a much wider swath of students than just those labeled as "gifted."

I know this won't be a popular opinion on here, but there it is.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/08/21 01:04 PM

Me five years ago would have been surprised to say this, but I increasingly share this view, particularly for older grades. What we need in schools is flexibility for all students, with acceleration (even radical acceleration) and cross-grade grouping offered to advanced students.

I would like to see seamless integration between public high schools and universities to support universal dual enrolment for advanced students - in any domain, as early as the student wishes. And for PG students, why can’t we have virtual magnet classes, so that our extreme outliers can connect and grow together, while also giving them the experience of an in person cohort? Technology now makes possible so much greater accommodation than could ever have been achieved when we were in school.

It’s not just the gifted who would benefit from this kind of broad redesign. It would allow for far less heterogeneous class groupings in terms of achievement, and allow teachers to develop deep specialties for the students they serve.

One of the factors I stay particularly attuned to with my DS is not placing undue pressure on him to excel universally. Even exceedingly bright children should be allowed to have relative weaknesses and to learn to pace themselves. In my experience, gifted programs place an unduly low ceiling on their opportunities. When a child is running 3-4 years+ ahead of curriculum, even gifted magnets don’t allow them to find those relative weaknesses and strive.

This may be heterodox on this forum, but I believe the substantive learning itself is secondary to the agency and excitement children feel in discovery. That hunger for the rush of learning is an unbeatable high. I’m not convinced that conforming to a slightly advanced standard - often in an affluent, whitewashed environment - is the best way to bring knowledge to the world.
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/09/21 12:19 AM

Acceleration, particularly uneven subject acceleration, makes far more sense than gifted only schools in a standard age/grade format. But [SPAM] it's hard to negotiate.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/09/21 06:13 AM

Is it ever!!! It would take intentional design to make it an accessible norm, and it probably a significant shift in educational philosophy.
Posted by: aeh

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/10/21 10:03 AM

So much about serving the needs of the tails (at either end, let alone when both tails are present in the same individual) is about least-worst solutions.

In my ideal educational world (which might not be yours, of course!), I would de-couple academic instructional levels from age, and from the levels of the other subjects, scaffolding for essential cross-domain skills when necessary to provide access to the ZPD in areas of strength, and targeting areas of weakness for intensive remediation.

But then, that's why we homeschool.

I am aware that the level of respect for individual learning and developmental needs I envision is extremely difficult to implement practically and with fidelity in our current industrialized education model, which, after all, was built for the middle 68% (and in a different era). Patches have been legislated for the lower 16%, with variable levels of success. (Some slow progress has been made on the left tail, in terms of aspects of equity and inclusion.) The right hand 16% continues to struggle for acknowledgement as a part of the natural diversity of the human population--with the same equity, diversity and inclusion rights as any other subgroup--rather than assignment to a privileged, resource-hoarding social class.

And the additional challenge, of course, is that there -is- overlap, not insubstantial, in who actually ends up with access to instructional programming appropriate to the upper 16.

There are many dimensions to equity in education; when resources are limited, any method of selection will result in some type of inequity. We choose only which type we will tolerate. The true tragedy is that our systems have allowed this severity of resource scarcity to persist for generations.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/12/21 05:45 AM

Aeh, your ideal world corresponds closely to mine.

In the absence of a well considered policy shift, like the ones you and I describe, I fear the elimination of NYC’s gifted program will start a larger trend of reducing access to resources for gifted students, with the burden falling disproportionately on racialized and low SES students. Realistically, phasing out these programs will not be done in a considered way that respects the learning needs of right tail students.

In my home province, the GT program has long been gutted and constrained to at-grade-level enrichment. Those who correspond with me privately will know that my DS’ education has - and will continue to be - a patchwork of homeschooling, after schooling, flexible private schools and, I’m thinking, reliance on AP classes should we consider public schools later. It’s a sad state of affairs that it requires so much advocacy and effort to achieve something akin to a challenge for him.
Posted by: Val

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/12/21 08:26 PM

Actually, I think that we as a nation are talking about the problem in the wrong way. It’s not that we need gifted programs. It’s that we need better schools. European schools don’t have gifted programs (I don’t know about Asia, South America, and other parts of the world, but suspect that many nations are closer to the model in Europe than to our model). But European schools have a meaningful, deep curriculum. Students there read short stories as early as age 7 and answer long-form questions about them. They eventually move to novels and write essays. They do math problems that take time and are taught to think through the problems. They have music and art class and recess and time to eat lunch. After primary school, the students are sorted into tracks that lead apprenticeships, jobs, or university.

In contrast, we ask our children to read passages and answer multiple choice questions. We give them endless worksheets with the same type of math problem because we want them to memorize an algorithm. And we clutch our pearls at the mention of “tracking” because we claim that it isn’t “equitable” and have a fantasy that “everybody can go to college.” So careers like firefighting, carpentry, and electrician require an associate or a bachelor’s degree. And yet, the quality of our buildings is shoddy, and nowhere near as good as it is overseas in many countries where wiring and plumbing is done by people who were PAID to learn those trades. Meanwhile, our young people become debt serfs. But our system is superior because they go to college and this is somehow more equitable for our (broke) students.

We obsess over instructional minutes and bubble tests to the point where we cut recess, lunch, and classes like health, art, and music. We even cut out part of Wednesday so that the teachers can have a meeting. And the textbooks. Don’t get me started in the textbooks.

No, the problem is that we present children with superficial ideas and pretend that a gifted program will solve the problem. It might make it less bad for the fortunate few, but it doesn’t compensate for the inherent badness of the system.

And this is why we have to import so much of our skilled workforce. Especially the really skilled stuff that requires writing code, doing mathematics, and writing research papers.

Okay, rant off.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/13/21 04:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Val
No, the problem is that we present children with superficial ideas and pretend that a gifted program will solve the problem. It might make it less bad for the fortunate few, but it doesn’t compensate for the inherent badness of the system.


This. Well said.
Posted by: Kai

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/13/21 10:27 AM

Originally Posted By: aquinas
Originally Posted By: Val
No, the problem is that we present children with superficial ideas and pretend that a gifted program will solve the problem. It might make it less bad for the fortunate few, but it doesn’t compensate for the inherent badness of the system.


This. Well said.


I agree 100%.
Posted by: aeh

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/13/21 12:41 PM

So true, Val.

And actually, we import quite a lot of other skilled workers, too, in fields like stonemasonry and deep sea fishing...
Posted by: SiaSL

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/13/21 02:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Val
European schools don’t have gifted programs (I don’t know about Asia, South America, and other parts of the world, but suspect that many nations are closer to the model in Europe than to our model). But European schools have a meaningful, deep curriculum. Students there read short stories as early as age 7 and answer long-form questions about them. They eventually move to novels and write essays. They do math problems that take time and are taught to think through the problems. They have music and art class and recess and time to eat lunch. After primary school, the students are sorted into tracks that lead apprenticeships, jobs, or university.


So... Europe is a big place, but I would be fascinated to learn on what sample you are basing this assessment of European schools.

Not that I disagree with most of your other points.
Posted by: Eagle Mum

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/13/21 03:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Val
After primary school, the students are sorted into tracks that lead apprenticeships, jobs, or university.


Hmm, I’m not sure about sorting kids into tracks just after primary, unless there are plenty of opportunities for crossovers.

My youngest was much less academically focused than her siblings (where my son had set his ambitions on R & D engineering at the age of 5, my youngest at age 11 was still steadfastly declaring that she was going to grow up to be a unicorn and day dreaming through her primary classes). Now, at 14, her academic performances are on par with her older siblings’ when they were at this age.
Posted by: aeh

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/13/21 03:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
still steadfastly declaring that she was going to grow up to be a unicorn

Just have to say that I love this!

One of my siblings wanted to grow up to be a kitten, but had to settle for being a professor and consultant.
Posted by: aquinas

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/13/21 05:33 PM

If by “kitten” we can mean “well-rested, well-fed retiree who benefits from frequent massages”, then maybe your sibling can still achieve kittenhood.

Add a cashmere sweater and the case is made. 😆
Posted by: MumOfThree

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/14/21 12:35 AM

Originally Posted By: aquinas
If by “kitten” we can mean “well-rested, well-fed retiree who benefits from frequent massages”, then maybe your sibling can still achieve kittenhood.

Add a cashmere sweater and the case is made. 😆


😆😆😆

I also wholeheartedly agree with AEH's proposed model, and agree with you Val.

I find it very odd here in Australia that we share the obsession with everyone going to university... but Electricians, plumbers, etc. Particularly good ones, particularly if they run their own business, are VERY well paid, far better than many bachelor qualified roles (or higher). These are regulated & licensed fields who charge substantial fees.
Posted by: Val

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/15/21 02:02 PM

Originally Posted By: SiaSL
So... Europe is a big place, but I would be fascinated to learn on what sample you are basing this assessment of European schools.

Not that I disagree with most of your other points.


Personal experience in education systems in 2 western European nations (two different languages, one being English).

A close family member who's a teacher in the second nation (and my husband was educated in it along with the rest of his family). We've had numerous long talks about the education system there.

A child who completed elementary school in a school run by a third nation (a third language).

Close friend and university faculty member who wrote exam questions for the UK A levels and shared questions with me (we would converse about them). I have not experienced the UK education system personally.

I don't know about Eastern Europe. I have friends from there and they all seem to be well-educated, but they're also a skewed sample of university-educated people.

That said, a friend from one of the nations I lived in also moved to the US. He said once, "I have better, more intellectual conversations back home with random people who left school at 15 than I do here with supposedly college-educated people." Everyone in the group agreed. It's a sad comment on our education system. Recall the studies showing that US college students don't learn much.

This one from 2011

A discussion here from 2018

Graduate schools here can be very, very good. But there are also a lot of non-Americans who fill the slots as postdocs and PhD students, especially in the STEM fields. There are multiple reasons for this, but one of them is that our K-12 education system doesn't do its job properly and too many bright people drop out of rigorous undergrad programs.

I'm not trying to claim that schools in Europe are perfect or even incredibly universally wonderful. I know they have problems. But are they better than US schools on the whole? Absolutely. A huge part of the difference is that those societies see education as something that benefits the society and invest accordingly, whereas Americans see it as something that benefits individuals and invest accordingly.
Posted by: Eagle Mum

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/15/21 04:02 PM

Originally Posted By: aeh
Originally Posted By: Eagle Mum
still steadfastly declaring that she was going to grow up to be a unicorn

Just have to say that I love this!

One of my siblings wanted to grow up to be a kitten, but had to settle for being a professor and consultant.


Aiming for the stars, so if you miss, you land on the moon.
Have you heard of the caticorn?
Posted by: aeh

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/15/21 04:48 PM

No, I hadn't, but I just Googled it, and I believe you have exposed a critical incompleteness in my experience!
Posted by: aquinas

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/16/21 05:44 AM

Aside: I love this forum’s mix of thoughtful discussion and ultra niche culture shares.
Posted by: SiaSL

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/16/21 04:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Val

A child who completed elementary school in a school run by a third nation (a third language).


So... double checked your posted history, since that rang a bell (and IIRC we are/were also fairly close geographically). I am 99% sure that nation is my home country, where I had all of my own schooling. I have nephews/nieces back there. My kids are US educated.

Here are my 2c.

1) You cannot compare an entire country's public school system to the US based private schools offering its national curriculum to children of expat execs for 30k$/yearly tuition.

2) Comparing schooling offered 30+ years ago, when generalized access to higher education was much less common, to here and now in the US is tricky. In the specific case of that country it is especially misleading to compare the average public US high school, which educates all students in the catchment area under a single roof, with what was then a specialized high school which only admitted about 50% of an age class with an accepted/acceptable 20% graduation failure before entry into university programs (which themselves had a 50% drop out rate over the first 2 years). Things have changed some since then, but your average "general" public high school there is still *not* comparable to a local US public high school.

3) Also subject to worldwide schooling inflation, but, similarly, not all students reach A levels in the UK...

I mean, I have my moments with American anti intellectualism. Also, multiple choice questions as the standard grading mechanism?!?

But your post reminded me why *that* parenting book by that woman who spent a few years in my country of origin gave me hives. I mean, you only have to check the strangely similar headlines in different countries when PISA scores come out to know that moaning about the degenerescence of education in one's own country is fairly universal, but... Americans often sell themselves short on the strengths of their own educational system (also their parenting skills -- see above).

Meanwhile I try to find a balance between the best features of both systems for my own kids.
Posted by: Wren

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 10/20/21 08:49 AM

This is probably moot as the potentially new mayor coming in said he would restore G&T.
Posted by: indigo

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 06/13/22 10:03 AM

Originally Posted By: Wren
This is probably moot as the potentially new mayor coming in said he would restore G&T.
Indeed!
smile
The G&T program is restored and expanded.

NYC Gifted & Talented application process opens Tuesday: 8 things to know
link - https://www.silive.com/education/2022/05...gs-to-know.html
by Annalise Knudson
Staten Island
May 31, 2022
Originally Posted By: article
Last month, Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks announced the city was expanding its Gifted & Talented program to every school district starting in the 2022-2023 school year.
...
The expansion will add 100 kindergarten Gifted & Talented spots — for a total of 2,500 seats across the five boroughs. A new entry point for third grade will be created for the first time in the fall.
Posted by: Vansh

Re: New York City to Phase Out Its Gifted and Talented - 06/17/22 03:33 PM

Expanding and restoring the NYC gifted program is an awesome development. Mayor Adams seems to be on the opposite end of the spectrum compared to Mayor De Blasio on the topic of gifted education. I am curious if there are any plans to make some new specialized high schools in the near future.