NYC education panel shoots down gifted and talented exam for kids

Reopening Schools

NEW YORK CITY — What’s usually a mundane meeting on education policy for the city ended in the middle of the night with an astonishing vote with the mayor’s own appointed panel going against his wishes and canceling the gifted and talented exam for 4-year-old children this year.

Early Thursday, the mayor-appointed panel for education policy voted seven votes in favor to eight votes opposed for administering the gifted and talented admissions test. The city is now scrambling to launch a new admissions policy that would be more inclusive for younger students.

This is a blow to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza; their plan was to use this test one last time for the 15,000 families who already prepared their kids. Now it is unclear how admissions for the gifted and talented program will move forward.

De Blasio said families will have an opportunity to apply and the methodology will be announced soon.

New York State Senator Robert Jackson explained how race plays a role.

“Black and LatinX students make up 66% of New York City public schools, but make up just 22% of students and gifted and talented,” Jackson said.

Out of 65,000 kindergartners, 15,000 apply, but there are only 2,500 gifted and talented seats.

The schools chancellor said going forward, filling gifted and talented seats will be done by lottery that will better represent the diversity of the city. It will also prioritize kids in districts where gifted and talented programs are not offered.

Officials have not shared guidance on how to achieve these changes and when they would be put in place.

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