Gifted and Talented Five-Year-Olds
March 11th, 2006

Parents on the Upper West Side are ringing Councilmember Gale Brewer‘s phones off the hook about a new admissions process into so-called gifted and talented programs for kindergarten students, according to an interview with Brian Lehrer. (listen to the audio)

The new process is intended to make the gifted and talented classes more diversified, after concerns were raised that the enrollment didn’t match the richly diverse ethnic make-up of the overall neighborhood. Now, families who live in a school’s immediate vicinity will no longer be given preference for competitive programs. There will also be stricter requirements for admission, such as a reference letter from the pre-kindergarten teacher and more tests. (One caller questioned the need to test students at such a young age.)

Brewer supports the new effort, but thinks it has some flaws, including a lack of transparency and its removal of a preference for the sibling of a student already enrolled (which puts a burden on working parents). She says the system is very complicated, and parents need to understand why kids are being selected, and how. Among her suggestions are that schools be required to send letters to applicants who were not accepted explaining the reasons why.

Brewer also would like parents to feel comfortable sending their children to any of the schools in the region, whether or not these schools have programs specifically geared for the gifted and talented. That sentiment is seconded by Eva Moskowitz, the former chair of the City Council’s education committee who has become the executive director of a charter school called the Harlem Success Academy. But meanwhile, she says, parents do not have confidence in such schools.

The Department of Education has plans(in pdf format) for a citywide admissions test for gifted and talented programs for kindergarten and first grade students, which is scheduled to go into effect by September 2007.

By on March 11, 2006, 5:09 pm
In category: Education | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Gifted and Talented Five-Year-Olds”

  1. Gotham Gazette - The Wonkster » Blog Archive » Who’s Gifted? Says:
    March 24th, 2006 at 5:54 pm

    […] Whatever one thinks of Joel Klein and the Department of Education, there are times one has to feel some sympathy for them. Take the never ending furor over elementary school gifted and talented programs. As Inside Schools has pointed out, for years, low-income neighborhoods charged they had fewer of these programs than more affluent parts of the city, and black and Hispanic parents said their kids got short shrift in the admission project. […]

  2. Erin Says:
    May 2nd, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    If we were accurately concerned about education, we would chose not to focus on pull-out T&G programs. Instead we would recognize that first-rate academic performance lies within the grasp of anyone who cares to try hard enough. Thats right folks! The argument should not center on the screening requirements for admission into hybrid T&G programs, because the outcomes-data of these programs is incomplete at best.
    It has been proven that any child can give evidence of high performance capability under the tutelage of excellent teachers. What makes a teacher excellent? An excellent teacher is one who instills the ethos of practice and perseverance.
    These two ingredients have been demonstrated to maximize a childs future successes.

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