Roughly 60 protesters gathered in front of Department of Education headquarters in Manhattan Tuesday to lobby for the preservation of the city’s Gifted and Talented program.
Mayor de Blasio announced the dissolution of the city’s current accelerated learning model Friday and unveiled a new structure that would nix separate classrooms for advanced kids.
Program backers gathered Tuesday to decry that decision, arguing that the current model should be reformed and expanded rather than eliminated.
“With only less than three months in office he has planted a land mine in New York City,” said activist John Chan at the rally.
City Council candidate Maud Maron argued for the wider installation of Gifted and Talented programs in city schools.
“Expand the program for districts that didn’t have it,” she said. “We need to include more children in the Gifted and Talented Program.”
Meanwhile, Brooklyn City Councilman Robert Cornegy issued a statement Tuesday lobbying for the expansion of overall Gifted and Talented model.
“If the G&T program has problems, it is often through lack of support from City Hall,” Cornegy said. “Now, after years of failing to support it properly, the Mayor wants to abruptly end it two months before the end of his term.”
Cornegy said that the program was once prevalent in a far fuller spectrum of city schools before being curtailed.
“Due to underinvestment, disinvestment and unequal investment, G&T programs and enrichment opportunities were stripped from black and brown communities,” he said.
Program critics have decried the current admissions system, which hinges on a single test score on a standardized exam administered to kids as young as 4.
Roughly 2,500 applicants win spots each year.
De Blasio has argued that his revamped BrilliantNYC format would expand opportunities for advanced learning and that the current admissions model was outdated and unfair.
Hizzoner said that additional training would enable teachers to tailor instruction for kids of differing abilities within the same classroom.
Proponents of the Gifted and Talented program contend that advanced learners should have opportunities for accelerated learning among peers of comparable ability.