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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6 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

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