NEW YORK — As New York City phases out its gifted and talented program for students, Mayor Bill de Blasio outlined its Brilliant NYC plan that will take its place.
The mayor said the change will help tens of thousands of students get advanced instruction, instead of just a select few.
“We’re going to build a New York City for everyone, going forward, it means giving every child opportunity, that means doing away with some of the things that artificially held kids back,” the mayor said.
“So many kids’ gifts haven’t been recognized because there was no venue for them to be seen and drawn out and supported,” he added.
Starting in the next school year, the city will stop giving 4-year-olds a screening test used to identify gifted and talented students, according to an outline of the plan released by the city’s education department on Friday.
Brilliant NYC will accelerate instruction for all elementary school students and will serve 26 times more students than the current program, according to the mayor.
“It’s up to us to disrupt the status quo so every student in every school in every neighborhood can fly,” Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter said.
The plan will also require the hiring of additional teachers who are trained to provide that instruction.
Beginning with next year’s kindergarten class, the expansion will be tailored to all students.
“This is a gamechanger for students, families and schools,” Porter added.
The gifted and talented program currently admits only 2,500 pupils a year out of 65,000 kindergartners citywide, and critics say it favors whites and Asian American students, while enrolling disproportionately few Black and Latino children.
Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee who is expected to become the next mayor in November’s election, “will assess the plan and reserves his right to implement policies based on the needs of students and parents, should he become mayor,” said Adams spokesperson Evan Thies.
When asked how he would ensure “Brilliant NYC” will make a meaningful impact in the long run, Mayor de Blasio said he believes the plan is “showing a better way to do things” than just with a single standardized test.
Associated Press contributed to this report.