Reversing Mr. de Blasio’s plan could be difficult, since it would require Mr. Adams to either resume the use of the unpopular admissions exam or come up with a new admissions method within the first few months of his mayoralty to allow students enough time to apply. Mr. Adams has said in the past that he supported keeping the exam, which was broadly criticized by experts, but that it should not be the only way that young children are evaluated for academic skills.
Under Mr. de Blasio’s plan, New York City will no longer admit rising kindergarten students into separate gifted classes or schools starting next fall. Instead, the city will train all its kindergarten teachers — roughly 4,000 educators — to accommodate students who need accelerated learning within their general education classrooms. The city does not yet have an estimate for how much the training will cost, though it is expected to be tens of millions of dollars.
And instead of the admissions exam, the city will evaluate all rising third graders, using past work and input from their teachers, to determine whether they need higher-level instruction in specific subject areas, for one or two periods a day.
The mayor has not yet solicited feedback from parent groups or elected officials on his gifted and talented plan. Officials said that he planned to consult with families and educators on the plan throughout October and November, and that aspects of the proposal could shift before he leaves office.
It is not yet clear, for example, what will happen to the five schools across the city that exclusively serve children who are considered gifted.
A well-organized group of parents who back keeping gifted classes in some form, with support from elected officials like State Senator John C. Liu, a Democrat from Queens, have criticized the mayor in recent months for preparing a new system without getting input from parents. Many of those families have children who attend school in Manhattan’s District 2, one of the city’s whitest and wealthiest school districts.
The mayor’s earlier push to eliminate the admissions exam for the city’s most elite high schools, including Stuyvesant High School, failed after he announced the plan without first seeking feedback from the many thousands of Asian American parents whose children would be most affected. Those families spent months forcefully pushing back against the plan, and their opposition ultimately helped defeat it in the State Legislature.
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