Black & Latino participation in NYC DOE’s gifted and talented programs has declined from 27 percent to 22 percent since 2012. In response, on Thursday, the Black, Latino & Asian Caucus of the New York City Council (BLAC) held a press conference outside the steps of City Hall encouraging Black & Latino families to request gifted and talented testing for their pre-K through second grade children.
The BLAC links low participation in gifted and talented programs to lower levels of participation and success on the extremely competitive entrance exams to New York City’s specialized high schools, such as Brooklyn Tech and Bronx Science. The Caucus’ goal is to increase the number of children of color seeking and gaining access to this public educational resource.
This school year, public school students will have an opportunity to be tested for gifted and talented at their local public schools in late January and early February. However, they will only have this opportunity if parents take the first step and request the test by the November 9 deadline.
“Demand for gifted & talented programs in Central Brooklyn is at an all time high,” said City Councilmember Robert Cornegy, Jr, who represents school districts in Bed-Stuy and parts of Crown Heights. “The number of children sitting for the exam already increased last school year, but my goal in working with CEC16 is to push that number completely over the top by November 9th. Parents in Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights should sign up with confidence that community-based tutoring will be available to ensure that our children live up to their full potential on exam day.”
The Department of Education’s gifted and talented programs provide an extremely high quality, free educational option to students who perform at a high level on the gifted and talented exam. Moreover, all of the four community school districts without local gifted and talented programs are represented by BLAC members, further reducing awareness.
As a former educator and principal in the Department of Education, City Councilmember Inez Baron, who represents school districts in East New York, said it was unacceptable that gifted and talented programs still do not exist in her district and other Black and Latino communities, but can be found in more affluent neighborhoods.
“It’s reflective of the thinking that only a limited number of Black and Latino children were talented and did not exist in sufficient numbers to warrant localized gifted and talented programs in their own neighborhoods,” said Baron. “I call on Chancellor Carmen Farina and Mayor Bill de Blasio to work with members of the City Council, principals, educators, unions and parents to restructure the manner in which gifted and talented programs are designed, so that they will be readily available and convenient to children in our local community schools.”
Testing forms are also available at public schools and online here. Please note: the deadline to request testing for the program is November 9, 2015.