Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams said Tuesday he would “reserve my right” to reverse Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to overhaul the Gifted and Talented program in his final three months in office, but declined to specify his own roadmap for the educational model in his first public comments since the controversial announcement.
“I’m going to reserve my right, if I’m fortunate to be mayor, to determine how we handle Gifted and Talented, to deal with the segregation in our schools … and ensure that we create a system where every child reaches his or her full potential,” he said on Fox 5’s “Good Day New York.”
Adams vowed to fight to hold on to mayoral control of New York City’s public school system next year if voters choose him to lead City Hall over Republican challenger Curtis Sliwa, and to “expand opportunities” for advanced students.
“If that is done, then I have the opportunity to bring stakeholders together as parents, as well as administrators and experts to look at how we expand opportunities for accelerated learners,” he said vaguely.
Adams’ comments on Gifted and Talented closely mirror the response given by his rep when asked about the move, announced Friday.
Adams believes that “clearly, the Department of Education must improve outcomes for children from lower-income areas,” his spokesman, Evan Thies, told The Post on Friday.
“Eric will assess the plan and reserves his right to implement policies based on the needs of students and parents, should he become mayor,” he added.
On Saturday, Thies said 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 that his “position hasn’t changed.”
Adams, a former NYPD captain, is the heavy favorite in the general election on Nov. 2, when he faces Guardian Angels founder and former radio show host Sliwa, who said Saturday that he would not only reverse de Blasio’s proposal, but expand admissions into the Gifted and Talented program.
The current Gifted and Talented program for public elementary schools in the five boroughs was instituted under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It offers accelerated classes and a specialized advanced curriculum for students who qualify via a test taken at 4 years old.
While popular with families with children enrolled in the programs, it has come under criticism from those who claim the program promotes segregation and disproportionately serves well-off, white and Asian kindergarten students who gain entry through an exam at a young age.
Under de Blasio’s blueprint, students in the accelerated learning program can stay in their separate schools and classrooms until they are completed, but new cohorts will be completely eliminated by fall 2022, ending testing for kids as young as 4.
The coveted model would be replaced by Brilliant NYC, a program offering kids ages 8 and older chances for advanced learning while they stay in their regular classrooms with other students. The new program is being rolled out in December, during the second-term mayor’s last month in the position.
On Friday, New York City parents blasted de Blasio’s “extremely disappointing” and “abominable” plan to get rid of the Gifted and Talented program.
“It is abominable that de Blasio is, in his final months in office, dismantling one of the few successful education programs in New York City, adversely impacting a swath of children,” fumed an Upper West Side mother.
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