Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, parents, and community leaders held a press conference today outside of the Brooklyn School of Inquiry, one of only five Gifted and Talented Schools in New York City. They spoke out against the recommendation made by a panel assembled by Mayor de Blasio to eliminate all gifted and talented programs throughout the New York City school system.
The proposal includes doing away with all elementary school gifted programs, screened middle schools and some high schools–with the exception of Stuyvesant High School and the city’s seven other elite high schools, whose admission is in part controlled by Albany. There are Gifted and Talented programs throughout the five boroughs but there are only five such schools; three in Manhattan, one in Queens and one in Brooklyn. Malliotakis believes the city should focus on adding more G & T programs and schools to meet demand, so students who qualify aren’t at the mercy of a lottery system.
78% of kids who qualify for gifted and talented programs are denied because of a lack of seats. Schools are now forced to hold a lottery to decide who gets a seat in the gifted and talented programs. Instead of letting a lottery decide a child’s educational future, the city should be providing a gifted and talented seat for every child who qualifies.
“Elected officials across party lines, and representatives of different ethnic groups and racial backgrounds; have said that expanding gifted and talented programs and lifting up children so that they can meet the demands of these programs is the route the city should be taking,” said Malliotakis. “When all of our students, regardless of background, have received an excellent education and are prepared for the real world, then we have achieved true social justice. Reducing standards will not accomplish this. We’ve seen the mayor waste $773 million on the failed school renewal program and waste precious education funding on high-priced consultants, vendors and Department of Education bureaucrats. Instead of giving teachers and students the resources they needed in their classrooms, he gutted school discipline and now he may eliminate gifted and talented programs. Students deserve education funding and investment in test prep, classroom assistance, education resources and supplies so they can rise to meet the standards of talented and gifted programs, instead of being denied the opportunity to succeed because of a lack of seats.
“The actions of Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza defy logic; they want to shut-down a program that prepares students for the challenges they’ll face in a highly competitive world, that’s wrong; said Malliotakis. “They should work to raise standards throughout the school systems so more students qualify for gifted and talented programs.”
Among those who participated in today’s press conference were David Lee of the Scholastic Merit Fund, Vito LaBella of Community Education Council 20 and I.S. 187 Parent Teacher Organization, Wai Wah Chin of the Chinese Ameican Citizens Alliance of Greater New York and Fran Vella-Marrone of the Djer Heights Civic Association.