Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to overhaul the Gifted and Talented program in city elementary schools might be short lived.
A spokesman for the city’s presumptive next mayor, Democratic nominee Eric Adams, declined to say Saturday whether Adams, if elected, would overhaul any changes de Blasio makes to the program.
But rep Evan Thies emphasized the Brooklyn borough president “has said consistently he would keep the G and T test and provide more resources, classes and support to lower-income students to ensure fairer outcomes,” adding his “position hasn’t changed.”
De Blasio caused a firestorm Friday when he abruptly announced a plan to end the city’s Gifted and Talented program, which has come under sharp criticism from detractors who claim promotes segregation and caters to mostly well off, white and Asian kindergarten students who gain entry through an exam.
Both Adams and his Republican rival, Curtis Sliwa, have made clear throughout the campaign trail that they don’t want to completely eliminate the program.
Sliwa was even more candid on his intentions, vowing during a Manhattan press conference Saturday to not only kill the lame duck de Blasio’s “October surprise,” but also expand admissions into the Gifted and Talented program beyond its existing 2,500 students yearly.
“The Asian community is being targeted because they’re following the rules; they are successful in achieving academic excellence; their families and communities are motivated to take advantage of G&T, to take advantage of the specialized high schools,” Sliwa said.
The Guardian Angels founder also accused Adams of “vacillat[ing]” on the issue – a claim Thies called a “lie.”
Under de Blasio’s plan, current students in the accelerated learning program can stay in their separate schools and classrooms to completion, but new cohorts will be completely eliminated by fall 2022, ending testing for kids as young as four.
The model is being replaced by Brilliant NYC, a program offering students ages 8 and up chances for accelerated learning while staying in their regular classrooms with other pupils. The new program is being rolled out in December, during the mayor’s final month in office.
The Department of Education said teachers would identify kids best suited for the new initiative, eliminating high-stakes testing for which some parents pay tutors to help kids prepare.
The Mayor’s office did not respond to inquiries about whether de Blasio is concerned his successor will reverse any changes he makes.
De Blasio blew off a Post reporter who asked him at an unrelated Brooklyn event on Saturday about his plan to eliminate the Gifted and Talented initiative.
However, he did get an earful at the Brownsville gathering from a concerned mom who shouted, “What’s up with Gifted and Talented?”
“Why is it that kids can’t get enough space just to go to school to get equal opportunities for education?” she said as the mayor turned his head to ignore her. “I don’t understand it.”
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