During his Tuesday press briefing, Mayor Bill de Blasio tried to assure public school parents upset over proposed changes to the City’s “Gifted and Talented” program that officials will indeed have conversations with school communities about how best to move forward with its forthcoming replacement “Brilliant NYC.”
“Either way there’s a challenge,” de Blasio told reporters at the Oct. 12 press conference. “If you don’t present a plan people rightfully say where’s the plan to respond to and if you do present a plan people say look there’s a plan already. But we mean it, we want to go out and have the engagement, we want to explain the thinking, hear the critique, hear the ideas. A lot of time when you put forward a plan people who you a way to do it better.”
On Friday, officials released details on long-waited changes to the City’s contested G&T program announcing that the entrance exam for four-year-olds would be scrapped and entrance into a new accelerated program called “Brilliant NYC” would be determined by screening rising third graders. De Blasio had previously pledged to give public school parents an update on program changes by the end of September but missed his own deadline by a week.
The plan has irked some parents frustrated over a lack of parent input in developing “Brilliant NYC” before its release.
But both de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter have promised to engage parents, teachers, and other school communities members in conversations about the program over the next two months. On Monday, de Blasio doubled down on that promise.
“We certainly want people to understand that this is a vision to reach all children, not just a very small number,” the mayor added. “So, I think a very healthy dialogue with parents who love that idea, hate the idea, and everyone in between is the best way to get to a good plan.”