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New York City is removing the Gifted and Talented program from public schools

Mayor De Blasio has announced that he is removing the Gifted and Talented program from NYC Public Schools.

Last Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the removal of the Gifted and Talented Program in NYC public schools. He plans to replace it with a more inclusive model called Brilliant NYC, which will supposedly reach 26 times the amount of students as the GT program.

"We’re addressing a new approach that instead of providing support and accelerated learning for the very few, provides it for the many and really recognizes that so many kids' gifts haven’t been recognized because there was no venue for them to be seen and drawn out and supported."

The Gifted and Talented program, or as we commonly referred to it as GT programs, is designed to give more advanced education for elementary and middle school students. The program has been marred with criticism over its meaning of “gifted & talented” students, along with accusations of racial bias.

In New York City, the program has been accused of mainly accepting middle-class white and Asian students and pushing most GT programs towards schools with similar demographics. A study conducted by the UCLA Civil Rights project listed New York City public schools as some of the most segregated in the country. It found that 74.6% of Black and Latino students attend a school where whites make up less than 10% of the student body. At the same time, 34.3% of whites attend majority public schools. This doesn’t include the large amounts of private and charter schools that exist in the city.

NYC GT programs currently accept an average of 2,500 students a year who complete a standardized test for the program in kindergarten. New York City annually has around 65,000 kindergartners.

Brilliant NYC is supposed to be a more inclusive version of the program. Students will accelerate the instructional model to all students but will still give particular focus to more advanced students. They are currently training around 4000 kindergarten teachers for the program, which is expected to start in Fall 2022. At the same time, all students currently in GT programs will be allowed to complete the program.

The move has faced criticism from republicans, democrats, and parents. Some call it a “political stunt,” while others are worried that the move will start pushing more advanced and bright students to charter schools.

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