NYC Scrapping Gifted and Talented Program Is a Triumph of Redefining Language
The move is more symbolic than seismic—in a K-12 system with an estimated (though obfuscated) 900,000 or so students, only around 2,000 kindergartners will be materially affected by the change next fall, and the likely incoming mayor, Eric Adams, has said that he prefers expanding, not euthanizing, the G&T program. Basing any large educational fork in the road on a 4-year-old taking a test has always struck me as bizarre, so if Adams revives gifted tracks, I hope he changes the qualifications.
But at a time when public-school gifted programs across the continent are being dismantled in the name of “equity,” the decision accelerates the progressive policy trend of working backward from concentrations of educational status—whether gifted programs, specialized high schools, or even just institutions with a positive reputation—then measuring the racial composition of students and declaring the results evidence of “segregation” if there are too few black and Latino participants.
“The highly selective program, which has become a glaring symbol of segregation in New York City public schools, will be replaced for incoming students,” ran the subhed in today’s New York Times article by activist education reporter Eliza Shapiro. And don’t blame the headline writer—the piece is shot through with such loaded, contestable language, from the opening words: “Mayor Bill de Blasio will overhaul New York City’s highly selective, racially segregated gifted and talented education classes.” More:
The gradual elimination of the existing program will remove a major component of what many consider to be the city’s two-tiered education system, in which one relatively small, largely white and Asian American group of students gain access to the highest-performing schools, while many Black and Latino children remain in schools that are struggling.…
Some parents and researchers argue that the programs worsen segregation and weaken instruction for children who are not in the gifted track.
New York, which is more reliant on selective admissions than any other large system in America, is home to one of the most racially segregated school systems in the country….
Though the mayor has long promised to tackle inequality in city schools, he has faced criticism for not taking more forceful action on desegregation until the end of his mayoralty.
And so forth.
Article from Latest – Reason.com