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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.81 minutes to read.

“There are gifted children in every single neighborhood in New York City. The mayor and his advisory group are rightfully concerned that there are school districts in NYC without a single gifted program and that Black and Hispanic kids are significantly underrepresented citywide. At the same time, the city’s G&T schools have been largely successful. What the mayor gets wrong is his stated belief that this program can never approach measures of racial equity and therefore needs to be scrapped.

The key issue preventing increased diversity within G&T programs is a failure of the DOE to proactively identify more students who might be willing and able to do the work… Despite previous attempts by lawmakers, such as Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., and families to expand the programs to underserved communities, the DOE has refused to do so under this administration…

A broader issue that needs to be faced with the potential elimination of gifted programs is the overall decline of academic rigor for all K-12 students, and the lack of accountability on the part of anyone for these worse outcomes. We need to provide more educational opportunities at earlier stages to ensure all our students graduate with the necessary skills to be successful. This must be done in partnership with families over time, not by an administration that only has a few months left in office and won’t see these changes through.”

–Hunter Dare & Michelle Lee, New York Daily News Opinion

“As unpopular as “Defund the police” is, local progressive activists have found a cause even more anathema—and are pushing it with even greater vigor. Eighty-three percent of American adults believe that testing is appropriate to determine whether students may enroll in special or honors programs, according to one of the country’s longest-running continuous polls of attitudes toward education.

Yet across the U.S., blue-state educational authorities have turned hostile to academic testing in almost all of its forms…

Special programs don’t poll as well when the questions stipulate that many Black and Hispanic students would not qualify for admittance. But the programs’ numbers rebound if respondents are assured that students will have equal access to test prep…

Opponents of academic testing as an admissions tool point to its negative impact on African American applicants… How is it tenable that a school supported by the taxes of all taxpayers would accept only eight Black students in a freshman class of 749, as happened at New York’s Stuyvesant this spring?

But that argument resonates most strongly with those Americans whose grandparents received the benefit of the harm done to the grandparents of others. It resonates much less with newer Americans and their children, who are on their way to becoming the national majority.

It’s often observed that the Republican Party has lost touch with 21st-century America. But Democrats, too, need to absorb that the country has changed in ways inhospitable to some of their long-established commitments and priorities.”

–David Frum, The Atlantic

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.79 minutes to read.

“The foremost principle of the modern progressive is leveling everyone down. So it goes that New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, weeks from leaving office, has decided to kill the city’s gifted-and-talented program for elementary students.

He says the city will eliminate the entrance exam given to 4-year-olds, which sees about 2,500 students admitted to the program each year. Critics say that this is too young to sort out high achievers, and that it contributes to a school system in which whites and Asian-Americans are overrepresented in elite programs.

But achievement isn’t the problem with New York schools. Failure is. According to the latest scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 10% of New York City’s black eighth graders are proficient in math, and 14% in reading. These scandalous numbers haven’t improved much over the mayor’s term…

Mr. de Blasio says his new program, Brilliant NYC, will give more students the option to take “accelerated learning” while remaining in their regular schools and classrooms. Maybe. But if [his replacement] wants to make a clean break with the education failures of the de Blasio years, a good way forward would be to press New York’s state Legislature to lift the cap on charter schools that have done far more for minority children than all of the mayor’s pursuit of equality of results.”

–WSJ Editorial Board

“Accelerated learning programs with like-minded and equally abled classmates provided the academic stimulus, challenge and competition that made us better students…

De Blasio dropped his bombshell announcement without holding any serious discussions with stakeholder parent groups, elected officials or alumni of the city’s G&T programs…

Did G&T need reform? Yes. But he threw the baby out with the bath water.

Testing 4-year-old toddlers for placement in accelerated learning classes was always the wrong way to go. It was too easy for wealthier families to game and it led to demographic as well as residential distortions.

The replacement program branded Brilliant NYC (what’s up with de Blasio adding “NYC” to every harebrained scheme) promises to offer accelerated learning to students age 8 and up. Instead of being in separate classrooms, the kids supposedly will be offered advanced work tailored to their interests while being mainstreamed…

Sadly, this 11th hour move isn’t aimed at improving the quality of public education for those in low-performing community school districts. Like Thrive NYC, Brilliant NYC seems to be the exact opposite of what its lofty moniker suggests.

Once again, the champion of mediocrity is targeting low-hanging fruit and failing to address an intractable systemic problem: low achievement in predominantly black and Hispanic public schools.

The next administration will arrive on January 1 having to stanch a mass exodus from a shrinking public school system descending into greater mediocrity…

I pray that whoever follows in de Blasio’s wake will fix and replace our broken school system.”

–Michael Benjamin, New York Post Opinion