NYC to end Gifted & Talented test after 2021

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STATEN ISLAND, NY – The New York City Department of Education (DOE) will administer its Gifted and Talented exam for the last time this spring, city officials said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday that the high-stakes exam, which is offered to students as young as 4 and decides on entry into gifted and talented elementary school programs, has caused frustration for many families.

“The Gifted & Talented test is the definition of a high stakes test, a single test that determines so many things,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his press conference on Wednesday. “This approach to testing is not something I believe in, it is not something the Chancellor believes in … We will not be providing this test in the future.”

Those applying to kindergarten for fall 2021 will still take the exam this year, said de Blasio, which will be given in person from April. But the test will not be provided in the future.

Parents previously told Advance / SILive.com that students in the gifted and talented programs learn the same program, but it can scale at a faster pace, include additional projects, use technology in the classroom, and increase thinking. critical. De Blasio said there was a need to take “a much better approach to serving children with a lot of ability.”

“Some children are very talented, others are ready to learn faster. But that’s a lot of kids. Much more than what currently benefits from the very small number of gifted and talented programs that exist, ”added de Blasio.

The mayor explained that there are approximately 65,000 kindergarten students in New York City and approximately 15,000 take the Gifted & Talented test each year. Of these 15,000 students, 2,500 get a place.

“Do you really believe that out of 65,000 preschools in the city, only 2,500 are gifted and talented in quotes? Said de Blasio. “It’s ridiculous. Many, many others have all kinds of gifts and talents, and they deserve opportunities and we have to rethink this system.”

De Blasio said he and the Chancellor are working on a more individualized educational approach for students, including new digital opportunities for teaching.

The mayor said there would be an intense public engagement process over the spring and summer to work with stakeholders, including parents, caregivers, community leaders and more, to “reflect to the right approach for the future “.

De Blasio said this approach would not be defined by a single test to ensure the city reaches more students.

“There is no doubt what good instruction looks like, good pedagogy to enrich students and serve students who are academically outstanding,” Chancellor of Schools Richard A. Carranza said at the mayor’s press conference on Wednesday. “The jury did not come out. But it’s a public school system, so as a public school system we need to involve the public in decisions that will impact children in the public school system, and what the mayor and I are talking about is to initiate the process to do just that. “

The new approach will be announced by September.

Families of students who take the Gifted & Talented test in April will receive their grades in early summer, Carranza said. Further information will be posted on the DOE website and shared with school communities.

In a series of tweetsMP Michael Reilly (R-South Shore) said on Twitter that the proposal is “misguided and irresponsible”.

“But this is yet another example of @NYCMayorsOffice and @NYCSchools eliminate a program that challenges students while lacking vision for a solid alternative. Our public schools should provide opportunities for all students so that they can feel confident in their efforts to strive to be on top of their class, ”he wrote on Twitter.

Gifted and talented programs have been a subject of controversy for years.

A diversity advisory group recommended in 2019 eliminating gifted and talented programs and other selectively enrolled schools and programs. The School Diversity Advisory Group, which is tasked with making recommendations to reduce segregation in the city’s schools, made the recommendation to de Blasio and Carranza.

The group recommended eliminating exclusionary programs such as gifted and talented programs, and replacing them instead with pro-integrative programs used in other school districts across the country that attract students from all over the world. horizons, while ensuring that all students are challenged. The panel recommended stopping use of the Gifted and Talented Admission Test and phasing out existing programs.

Staten Island elected officials, parents and community leaders opposed the recommendation. Representative Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island / Brooklyn), the MP at the time, said the city should focus on adding gifted and talented programs and schools to meet demand.

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