THIS FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2018 will be the last day for parents/caregivers to file applications for the public school GIFTED & TALENTED PROGRAMS. If the recent pattern continues, most of the applicants, test-takers, and acceptances will not include the Black and Brown student majority. This link to the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) website leads you to a description of the program offerings and the process for submitting an application. Eligible students for the exams are currently attending K-3rd grade.
The gifted and talented (G&T) , tests, according to the widely-accepted Department of Education mythology, identify exceptional, super-students who can receive superior educational outcomes. The reality is a little more real-politic and a little less merit-based.
The system is providing a rapidly-decreasing number of seats where students can expect a decent, basic education. These are seats in schools that teach kids how to read, write, and figure.
They improve your chances for higher education, income security, and a better quality of life. Apparently, educating young people is not that big a deal – twenty-five or more nations, none of them wealthier than the U.S., do it better than we do.
In New York, providing a decent basic education has become an impossible dream. Every year, the majority of students are expected to fail, and under the guidance of the Education bureaucrats they do just that. Because most of the failing students are Black and Brown, there is little outcry from parents, educators, or the good government groups that supposedly express public opinion of outrage.
This is where the G&T propaganda (and the hard ball politics) kick in. Since the supply of basic education-providing seats far exceeds the number of students, there has to be a mechanism for distributing these precious opportunities. Fairness would dictate that every constituency, every community get a few of these opportunities.
But politics ain’t fair. The high stakes G&T exams create confusion – taking a clearly unfair distribution system and convincing the public that standardized tests help pick the “best and brightest.”
In other words, the G&T classes provide a decent basic education, not the olympic-quality experience suggested by the program name. It’s only in comparison to the standard NYCDOE failure factories that these programs can be seen as exceptional.
Similarly, the students at these programs are deserving of a good education and well competent. But it’s no disrespect to these students to point out that they are not a collection of future Nobel prize winners. They deserve a good education, but not any more than any other public school student. The results of one test experience can’t change that fact. Nor can it justify a process that excludes exceptional black and Brown students. Our children also dream of a better tomorrow.
When will the parents of our community RISE UP and demand a fair allocation of educational resources? When will they fight for their children’s future like other constituencies fight?