Northeast Queens electeds welcome Adams administration’s Gifted and Talented reboot

Northeast Queens elected officials hailed Mayor Adams for the expansion of the Gifted and Talented program in public schools while slamming the previous administration for discontinuing it last fall. (QNS file photo)

Northeast Queens elected officials are applauding the expansion of New York City public school’s Gifted and Talented programs across the five boroughs. Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David Banks on Thursday, April 14, announced they would add 100 kindergarten seats and 1,000 third-grade seats, expanding both entry points to all districts.

“Today the mayor and chancellor showed once again that they just don’t talk, they get stuff done,” Councilwoman Linda Lee said. “Since the fall, parents, community leaders and elected officials have consistently called for G&T to be restored, and today the mayor and chancellor demonstrated that they are listening. By not just expanding the number of seats available citywide, but also expanding programs to every school district in the city, and allowing students to test into the program at later ages, this new program will prove that we can have equity and educational excellence at the same time.”

Lee, whose oldest son is not enrolled in the G&T program at his school while her youngest will be eligible to test in next year, has been a consistent advocate for the restoration and expansion of the program after former Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in October that the program would be discontinued.

“I thank the mayor and chancellor for this announcement and look forward to working closely with them to ensure smooth implementation in the month to come,” Lee said.

Lee led a rally last October with concerned parents to protest de Blasio’s decision to discontinue the Gifted and Talented program. Councilwoman Sandra Ung was among the northeast Queens elected officials to join Lee’s rally.

“I want to thank Mayor Eric Adams for listening to those of us from across New York who have been calling for the city to expand Gifted and Talented programs and give more children access to accelerated learning, not eliminate them,” Ung said. “When the former mayor made the disastrous decision to eliminate Gifted and Talented programs with no true public engagement process, I worked with my colleague Linda Lee to bring together elected officials and parents from across northeast Queens to voice our opposition. Throughout the past few months, I have been meeting with the schools chancellor and Department of Education to stress the importance of G&T programs in our districts, as well as the rest of the city.”

Ung proceeded to call out the previous administration.

“The former mayor’s decision to phase out these programs was never in the best interest of our students, and I want to thank the current mayor for making the common-sense decision to reverse course and to stand with the parents, educators and our students.”

State Senator John Liu applauded the Gifted and Talented reboot by the Adams administration but cautioned that there is still work to do.

“Glad to see some positive movement on accelerated learning in public schools, and kudos to the mayor and chancellor for this step forward,” Liu said. “An expansion is welcome news, although it relies on a lottery and nebulous recommendations that are cause for concern to many parents and families. Going forward beyond this school year, the administration must be sure to engage parents and students who have long called for more accelerated learning in order to address these outstanding issues.”

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams added her support for the expansion of the Gifted and Talented program.

“All students, regardless of race, income or the neighborhood they live in, deserve equal opportunity to accelerated academic learning and challenges,” she said. “The Council looks forward to continuing working with all stakeholders to make sure the new version of Gifted and Talented not only helps more students to succeed, but also reflects the diversity of our city’s students.”