‘Gifted’ program expanded to more NYC schools

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‘Gifted’ program has been expanded to more New York City schools in order to increase the number of beneficiaries for the program.

The sites of new gifted classrooms were announced Tuesday which is part of an expansion pushed by Mayor Eric Adams and Chancellor David Banks.

Officials are adding more than 1,000 seats, most of them as new programs that start in third grade. Until now, the most common entry point for “gifted” programs has been in kindergarten, a practice long criticized for testing and sorting 4-year-olds.

Parents can begin applying for spots on May 31.

Virtual information sessions will take place on May 24, May 26, and June 1. Live interpretation will be provided in Arabic, Bangla, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Urdu.

The city’s gifted programs have been criticized for being segregated, with Black and Latino students largely underrepresented. The classrooms also enroll few students who have disabilities, who are learning English as a new language, or are in temporary housing.

Gifted programs have long been seen as a way to keep white and more affluent families enrolled in public schools.

In New York City, White and Asian students have historically made up about 70% of enrollment in gifted programs while only representing about a third of the school population citywide.

Former Mayor Bill de Blasio had proposed overhauling the programs, ending the current model where students labeled as “gifted” are served in their own, separate classrooms and schools.

Only fewer than 10% of school districts across the country followed this approach.

Although de Blasio announced the reforms at the end of his tenure, they were never truly implemented.

Instead, Adams and Banks have doubled-down on the current model that keeps students in segregated classrooms, opting to add more seats.

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