With City Councilmember Robert Cornegy Jr. (D-Bedford-Stuyvesant, Northern Crown Heights) providing the legislative teeth and Brooklyn Borough President Adams charting a new roadmap, the long effort to get more of the Department of Education’s gifted and talented (G&T) programs into communities of color is finally paying off.
G&T programs are for students entering kindergarten through third grade in regular public schools. To be eligible to participate in G&T admissions, children must pass an assessment to be eligible, although how the programs are taught differ from district to district.
There are two types of G&T programs – those located in district elementary schools, and citywide G&T programs, which are open to students from all boroughs without district-based priority.
When Corngey was first elected to the City Council, one of his major priorities was getting G&T programs back in Bed-Stuy. After several years of lobbying the DOE and the de Blasio Administartion, the city finally relented and allowed a G&T program in District 16.
However, the program was limited, and thus Cornegy introduced legeislation (Intro 1347) that passed the city council yesterday requiring all pre-K programs operating through the DOE’s universal pre-K program to distribute information regarding the G&T program, exam, and application process to parents of students enrolled in those pre-K programs.
“Intro 1347 marks another significant step forward in providing young New Yorkers equal access to educational opportunities that will play a vital role in shaping their futures. For too long, gifted and talented programs were unavailable in school districts serving primarily minority communities. Worse, information regarding how parents in these communities could opt-in to an advanced level of education for their children was incredibly hard to obtain,” said Cornegy.
Passage of the legislation came on the same day that Adams and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. released “Fixing the Pipeline: Solutions to Disparities in Gifted Education in New York City,” a new report outlining multiple recommendations for the future of gifted and talented education at all levels in New York City’s public schools.
Among the report Recommendations include:
- That all communities have equal access to gifted and talented programs in kindergarten
- That all students in public pre-K programs be tested for gifted and talented programs
- That every student who qualifies for a gifted and talented program be given a seat in their community
- That citywide K-8 and middle school gifted and talented classes be expanded across the city
- That the DOE provide free busing across boroughs at the elementary level to provide better access to gifted and talented programs
- That all students have access to free or reduced-cost test prep for the specialized high schools, and that a single test not be the only source of admission to the specialized high schools.
“When it comes to gifted and talented education in New York City, the math does not add up,” said Adams. “Our analysis clearly shows a historical inequity in delivering high-quality educational opportunities to students across the five boroughs. Access to gifted and talented programs and specialized high schools can no longer be allowed to be dictated by one’s zip code; parents who live in Belmont and Brownsville should expect the same grade-A programming and enrichment as parents in Tribeca. We don’t need small changes — we need bold changes.”