NYC Gifted and Talented Program and Testing

What happens if Gifted and Talented goes away for good?

G&T goodbye? Or not?

Many parents are wondering what the heck happens if G&T goes away for good? What about those parents who have one child in the gifted program and have a 2 or 3 year old at home who will now have to go to a separate school. Talk about the ultimate in morning drama trying to schlep two young children to two different schools (and in some cases to two different boroughs)! What happens if it’s a single parent who doesn’t have the resources to hire a nanny, private driver or Uber every day to do the back and forth from school.

I’ve been reading about another cluster of an idea from the DOE which is allowing parents to choose from their local school by their home or they can choose a school by their work. How about we think about that one for 30 seconds and what a complete and utter disaster that would be. First, over 8 million people work in Manhattan on a given day and schools in Manhattan are already overcrowded. What about people who get someone to lie for them about their work address? Oh, I’m sure that would NEVER happen with New Yorkers. Don’t you agree? The possibilities are endless of how parents would attempt to game the system to benefit their child. But hey, who can blame a mom or dad who wants the best education for their child. I suppose this is possibly a make-shift charter school run by the DOE? Like all ideas from the DOE I’m sure they are done with the best intentions (wink, wink!). If implemented, this would be the biggest mistake the DOE could make with the exception of doing away with the NYC Gifted and Talented program altogether.

There is one school in Brooklyn that decided to do away with their gifted and talented program next year. We’ll see how that plays out over time. The school said they are taking matters into their own hands and moving to abolish the program to provide “enrichment” for all students. I still have yet to hear what they are defining as “enrichment”. This is such a broad term and defined by everyone differently.  If it’s up to each G&T school to determine its fate then it’s safe to say that almost all of the programs will stay in place because of three reasons:

  1. Schools that have G&T programs score significantly higher on ELA and math common core testing done in the spring. This helps the overall score for the school since the scores are combined with the general ed students. The DOE doesn’t separate the G&T students scores vs. the general ed students scores.
  2. Gifted and talented students, for the most part, have parents who have more disposable income to donate to the PTA at the school. This helps with the overall success of the school if there’s a strong PTA with money to spend.
  3. Schools with gifted and talented programs do provide popularity to parents who may be considering private school. The G&T program offers a viable alternative to paying $55,000/year for kindergarten at a NYC private school.  If the G&T program goes away then thousands of NYC parents will seriously consider private school or moving to the suburbs.

It’s been way too quiet from the NYC Dept. of Ed. on any changes to the NYC gifted and talented program which tells me they may be up to their not-so-old tricks. We shall see.  There’s a great article in the USA Today that outlines all the drama in NYC as it pertains to this popular yet controversial program.

Parents anxiously await NYC gifted and talented test score results

It’s that time of year again when New York City parents are wringing their hands

It’s only a matter of weeks before the NYC G&T test results are released to parents who will find out if their child made the cut for qualifying for admissions into the gifted and talented program.  The DOE has implemented this program for K to 2nd graders to take the test for admissions into the district wide programs or the highly sought after citywide programs.  Even at a 98th percentile, those parents may still be disappointed since the very popular citywide programs like NEST, Anderson and Brooklyn School of Inquiry (BSI) have only admitted 99th percentile students over the past several years (unless there is a sibling already attending the school then the student only needs a 97th percentile).  Don’t get me wrong, a 98th percentile is an amazing score for the OLSAT and NNAT-2 tests but it doesn’t cut the mustard in the most cutthroat city in the world. Some parents will go to any length and spend an enormous amount of money to get their child prepped and prepared for the test to help their child make a 99th percentile. In some cases even spending tens of thousands of dollars won’t ensure your child gets a 99 on the test.

nyc gifted and talented

When you’re dealing with 4-year-olds it’s pretty much out of the parent’s hands what happens in the testing room where it’s one-on-one with a child and the testing proctor. Sorry moms and dads, you’ll have to let your darling daughter or son go into the testing room alone and hope that it’s not a disgruntled DOE employee working on weekends administering the test.  There has been constant talk about changing the entry criteria for the G&T program and some even propose doing away with it all together. It’s now part of the school lexicon in NYC and thousands of kids grades K to 5th are already in the program. What would happen if it’s dismantled? I can see the protests now at City Hall at the Dept. of Ed headquarters.  Unfortunately, the new Chancellor doesn’t seem to have a full grasp on the this program and its importance to parents in every community.  In many cases it’s a way for parents to escape a poor performing local school and give their child a leg up to attend a gifted program in their district or if they are lucky enough to get a spot a citywide school.