Gifted Programs Gone?

New York City Mayor (and Democratic presidential hopeful) Bill De Blasio recently announced that the city’s school district, which ranks among the nation’s largest, may dismantle its gifted and talented programs.

De Blasio formed the School Diversity Advisory Group two years ago to study the performance of its public schools and make recommendations for ways to improve them. They targeted programs for gifted students because “admissions policies. . . unfairly block educational opportunities for students who are Black, Latinx, low-income. . . and who face other challenges, including learning differences, students who are multi-language learners, in temporary housing or face other structural barriers to the educational opportunities they deserve.”

I don’t have a dog in this fight–I don’t live in New York–but I’m curious about the conclusion that the statement above invites: does it equate being gifted and being privileged? If that’s the case, would it be more effective to find ways to make the parents’ lives more stable so that their children could do better in school? Does it suggest that the educational needs of gifted children are less important than meeting the needs of a greater number of students?

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11 Responses to Gifted Programs Gone?

  1. Vincent Chung says:

    If the gifted programs are removed, then students, privileged of not, will have nothing to strive for during their junior high years. There wouldn’t be an incentive to study well or learn difficult subjects outside of school. Privileged families will likely give their child a private tutor, with or without the program. Whereas the unprivileged families have nothing for the child and they will be thrown into the rest of the population regardless of their mental capacity. These programs give the ill-fated gifted a student significantly higher chance to become better than average.

  2. Gracie Rowland says:

    The complete deconstruction of NYC’s Gifted and Talented program would be a mistake. I advocate not to dismantle the system, but rather to reform it. The fact of the matter is that children from higher socioeconomic brackets will be given more opportunities because of their parents’ status. Children who are in higher socioeconomic brackets are often white because of the existence of white privilege. Therefore, representation and diversity in the program is low. However, this does not invalidate the program as a whole. Steps can be made to increase diversity. Outreach programs, library funding(because most libraries are sorely lacking in funds!), and better recruitment could all contribute to a more diverse program. We shouldn’t abolish something because it is flawed; rather, we should advocate for reform.

  3. Phillip Tran says:

    To begin with, gifted programs should be partially removed. Even though it may not be recognized, students at a young age mostly gain an intellectual advantage from being born into a wealthier or smarter family that provide an available, early chance for such advantage. For the most part, children at an age of ten or less do not possess the mindset and persistent effort to excel in their interests; therefore, gifted programs should be removed due to its selective nature and tiny gathering at that age. On the other hand, as young children begin to grow older , definite interests and work ethics are developed. As a result, gifted programs at an older age should not be restrained because programs such as these allow an environment for a where the participants can be mentally challenged and reinforce their proficiency in their interests. Overall, gifted programs should exist but with slight restrictions.

  4. Conner Davis says:

    It is fine that the Gifted programs are being dropped, as kids with learning disabilities do not have the same chance to get into the gifted programs as others, even if the kids with learning disabilities are intelligent. The kids with learning disabilities may be intelligent ;however, due to the nature of the test to get into the gifted program, the kids with learning disabilities have a harder time to do so, as they are still trying to adjust to the teaching style that may not work well for them.

  5. Samantha says:

    GIfted programs should not be removed. If they are, it will take away an amazing opportunity for students who are above average to accelerate in the classroom. I do believe that the programs that are current should be revised. For starters, I believe the gifted programs shouldn’t start until elementary school for fifth grade. Up until then, the gifted students are based not on academic excellence but rather on family status. The kids who are enrolled in second grade are those whose parents could afford to put them through pre-school, as some parents cannot. The gifted program should not be removed and jeopardize students the opportunity to be excellent.

  6. Ethan Hill says:

    Gifted programs are fine how they are. It is great that those with academic success are allowed to further themselves in their academics while those who might be struggling can be in regular classes where they are given the time and attention needed. There should be a change in how children are selected for gifted programs as a black child with the same test scores is still less likely to be accepted to a gifted program. This does not mean gifted programs should be disbanded: however, just reformed

  7. Alisha says:

    I think this argument depends on the way it is displayed. For some students gifted programs may be seen as a way to test the limits of their ability and to come to the realization that pursuing knowledge may be something they desire to do in the future. If you don’t hype it up to much then it’s as simple as that. However, some students on the outside may see this as a favoritism type of thing that gives people clout. I feel highborn or not these programs provide more beneficial factors than harm by directing confused students with potential to a pathway they can take that can bring them success in the future whether they’re born with money or not because they’re still given the opportunity to turn their nothing into something through hard work.

  8. Shelby Tisdale says:

    Every student is not the same, and every student cannot learn the same. Gifted programs immerse students in an atmosphere that encourages them to move beyond what they can accomplish in a typical classroom surrounded by students at various levels of comprehension. Programs such as these are necessary to provide students with the resources they need not only to succeed, but to excel, encouraging students in pursuits beyond academic interests. To a degree, gifted programs do reinforce social divisions within the student body, and the focus of schools needs to shift to celebrate the strengths of all students, not only academically inclined students. Gifted programs, just like arts programs and sports programs, are a crucial element to helping students realize their potential and discover new interests. The programs should remain, but the admissions policies should be reevaluated to eliminate any bias considering the student’s race or socioeconomic standing.

  9. Alexandria Kerr says:

    Gifted programs should not go away for older students in grade 6 and up. However, gifted programs should be removed from lower grades. Having these programs in lower grades promotes the idea that certain students are inherently better and smarter than others. This is because these children did not work for this opportunity, they were simply encouraged to learn from their families. No 2nd grader is smarter than another because these children have yet to be given the opportunity to really work towards something. However when these children hit middle school, they are able to begin looking into their futures and seeing what they want in life. They also begin to have wants of their own and have desires that are not reflective of their parents’ influence. This is when the opportunity for higher learning should be implemented. At this age students are more independent and should recognize how important education is. I recognize that no matter the age, students from more privileged backgrounds will have more opportunities to improve themselves academically and get into these programs, but I hope that gifted programs can be reformed to where they are not based on testing but rather on dive towards learning.

  10. Jude Letonoff says:

    The idea of a gifted and talented program for schools is a beautiful one—groups of academically gifted boys and girls all learning together and from each other. It is without a doubt that these children learn better when working together, but comes with one extremely important problem—how do we decide who’s “gifted” and who’s not.
    Many of the metrics used to determine this such as grades and attendance are influenced (and sometimes decided by) factors that are out of these children’s control. These “gifted” children, while they may be talented, are almost always born in circumstances that allow them to succeed in ways that are simply impossible for others. Taking these children away into special programs denies other, less privileged children, the opportunity to learn with and make friends with them. This only reinforces already existing inequalities and passes it down to the next generation.
    There is a point in people’s lives in which personal responsibility and legitimate academic talent should be given the front seat in these discussions, but surely that point is not in elementary or middle school.

  11. Andrew Ignatius says:

    This is absolutely absurd! The state officials are just making Mississippi worse by the second, and there is nothing anything can do about it. If you want to create strong children, you must strengthen them academically, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Making classes easier because people cannot handle them may seem like it has good intentions at first, but if you think about it, this has occurred because of our failure as a state. If I hadn’t applied to MSMS, I would have to skipped 2 grades and gone straight to college and pursued a degree in medicine, but now I have been given a greater opportunity than just skipping 2 grades because school was too slow, and for that I thank MSMS.

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