New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams vowed to keep the city’s gifted and talented schools program in a stark rebuke to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who plans to end it.
Adams said de Blasio does not have the power to end the program, and it would be up to the next mayor to decide its fate, adding that he wanted to keep and even expand the program, which was said to discriminate against black and Hispanic students.
‘The gifted and talent program was isolated to only certain communities, Adams said in an interview with CNN. ‘That created segregation in our classrooms.’
‘We need to expand.’
NYC mayoral hopeful Eric Adams vowed to keep the city’s gifted and talented program despite current Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to end it
De Blasio announced that he wanted to end the gifted and talent program before he leaves office next month and replace it with ‘Brilliant NYC’ plan
“If you don’t understand the nobility of public protection, you can’t serve in my police department. We can have the justice we deserve and the safety we need. They go together. And that’s the message that must be sent,” New York City Mayoral candidate Eric Adams says. pic.twitter.com/ymgwMYpM8v
— New Day (@NewDay) October 15, 2021
De Blasio and critics of the current program said it was predominantly filled with white and Asian American students. About 43 per cent of students are Asian, 36 per cent are white, 8 per cent are Hispanic and 6 per cent are black.
It stands skewed from the city’s children’s populations, which is about 35 per cent Hispanic, 26 per cent white, 21 per cent black, and 12 per cent Asian.
Opponent were also against the initial exam that listed kids as ‘gifted’ as early as four-years-old.
‘The era of judging four-year-olds based on a single test is over,’ de Blasio said last week.
Beforehand, the program accepted 2,600 gifted kindergarteners but now, some 65,000 kids will be considered under de Blasio’s replacement plan, which he is calling Brilliant NYC.
‘Brilliant NYC will deliver accelerated instruction for tens of thousands of children, as opposed to a select few,’ he said.
Protestors went out to City Hall and the NYC’s Department of Education headquarters on Thursday to demand that the gifted and talented program remain
More than 200 protestors came out to say removing the current program would hurt students
Opponents claimed gifted students would be slowed down and student who need more attention would be left behind under de Blasio’s plans
Protestors also rejected notions that the program was discriminatory against certain students
But parents and teachers say ending the program in its current state will create more problems for students: the gifted kids will be bored and slowed down in classrooms of mixed ability, and those who need more attention will be ‘left behind,’ they say.
More than 200 supporters of the program, including city officials, protested the proposed cancelation in front of the city’s Department of Education headquarters and City Hall on Thursday, the New York Post reports.
Clayton Broome, whose two children are currently in the program, claimed the program was no catered to the privileged.
‘My only two children gained access to one of the most prestigious of these schools, and we are far from privileged,’ he said.
Protestors were also quick to note that de Blasio’s own children attended the gifted and talented program.
The National Association for Gifted Children also criticized de Blasio’s plan to get rid of the program, but it did stand with the mayor on removing the standardized test for four-year-olds.
In a statement, the association said it was ‘supportive of the mayor’s plan to eliminate the one-size-fits-all standardized test to identify gifted students, as it often fails to recognize a significant number of Black, Brown and impoverished gifted students.’
Protestors also pointed out that Bill de Blasio’s children attended the program
Critics say the program cannot be removed without an adequate replacement plan
Eric Adams said he would not only keep the city’s gifted and talented program, but he would also make other changes to address the needs of students with learning disabilities
Aides to Adams said the mayoral hopeful had plans to delay or alter the test next year, as well as seeking broader changes to the city’s education programs, the New York Times reports.
If elected, Adams said he would not only make changes to the gifted and talented program, but he would also make broader changes to the education system by removing barriers for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.
He added that the schools should be testing students throughout their years in public schools to make sure their needs were being met.
Adams’ opponent in the mayoral race, Republican Curtis Silwa, also said he supported the gifted and talented program.
The Guardian Angels founder called de Blasio a ‘lame duck’ last week while adding that he would also expand admissions into the program.