Teen leaders fight to end inequities in NYC’s gifted and talented program

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NEW YORK CITY — Activists, all teenagers using their voices to create change in New York City public schools, are campaigning to flip the mayor-appointed panel to vote no on a $5 million contract for gifted and talented testing.

The vote now leaves the city in a lurch with no plan on how to move forward with admissions for the gifted and talented program.

Teens Take Charge is the group made up of students motivated by the inequities made apparent from COVID-19.

The pandemic made further the invisible barriers to academic excellence: poor families don’t have access to things like test prep or technology, and English language centers don’t have interpreters.

There are only 2,500 available seats out of 65,000 kindergartners in New York City.

Tajh Sutton, who supports the decision to end gifted and talented testing, said the assumption is gifted kids are well-behaved and hard-working, and general education students are not. The teens she works with are demanding that culture stops in the city, and the Department of Education listens to the students they serve.

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