City to stop administering Gifted and Talented exam

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New York plans to administer the Gifted and Talented test to kindergarteners for the last time this spring year as the city works to reform the program, officials announced on Wednesday.

“The Gifted and Talented test is the definition of a high stakes test, a single test that determines so much,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday. “This approach to testing is not something I believe in, it’s not something the chancellor believes in and it has caused a lot of frustration for so many families… we need a much better approach to serving kids with a lot of capacity.”

Only a small number of public students participate in the city’s Gifted and Talented program, there are only 2,500 slots each year, and the majority of participating students with Black and Latino disproportionately underrepresented. Although Black and Latino students made up 65% of all New York City public school students in 2019 they made up only 18% of offers.

“Do you really believe that there are only 2,500 [kids] ‘gifted and talented’? That’s ridiculous,” said de Blasio. ” Many, many more have all sorts of gifts and talents and they deserve opportunity and we need to re-envision this system.”

The Department of Education is choosing to administer the exam in April since so many families have already prepared for the test, but after that officials will have an “intense public engagement process” through the spring and summer to work with parents, elected officials, community leaders and members of the city’s Panel for Education Policy to “think through what is the right approach for the future.”

But since Mayor de Blasio’s time in office ends next year, it will be up to the predecessor to figure out the future of the program.

The news, which was first reported by NY1 Tuesday night, comes amid reforms to school admissions and screens. Last month, officials announced the city will drop selective screens for middle schools during the 2021-2022 school year and scrap district requirements for high school admissions. The changes are an effort to increase diversity at the city’s most selective schools.

But the DOE still plans on administering the city’s most hotly contested school exam, the Specialized High School Admissions Test, on Jan.27. There are currently eight high schools in the city that use the exam to determine admission.

This story originally appeared on amny.com