PLACE NYC, a parent advocacy group in favor of accelerated learning programs, urged Mayor Eric Adams and Chancellor David C. Banks to fulfill their campaign commitments to reinstate the New York City gifted and talented program (G&T) and expand the program to underserved communities.
In their March 23 announcement, PLACE NYC alleged that the NYC public school system is experiencing an unprecedented decline in enrollment, with the uncertainty of G&T programs further exacerbating this decline particularly for many Pre-K and prospective G&T families.
“We hope that the DOE will quickly reopen the G&T admissions process to provide clarity and rebuild trust with families who wish to remain in the NYC public schools,” said Yiatin Chu, PLACE NYC co-President. “We look forward to engaging with the DOE in the coming months to develop a more rigorous identification process for the 2023 admissions cycle and beyond.”
Chancellor Banks recently acknowledged that families are “voting with their feet” and moving their children out of the NYC public schooling system and into programs like non-public schools and charter school programs due in part to a lack of accelerated learning options.
“Ultimately there should be opportunities for accelerated learning in every school,” Banks said on March 2. “High quality gifted programs provide opportunities for students to accelerate their learning and excel. So we’re going to scale these programs all over the city.”
However, these remarks came too late for many PLACE NYC parents who believed that these decisions were coming near the end of the school year and school application cycle.
PLACE NYC believes it is critical for the Department of Education (DOE) to prioritize improving upon last year’s inadequate G&T admissions, as well as making these options and opportunities more accessible.
Some short-term solutions were supported by PLACE NYC parents to create a more equitable and permanent G&T admissions process for the next school year.
They include universal teacher evaluation of all students in DOE PreK or DOE-sponsored community programs to be certain no children are left unidentified and to reduce the burden on parents to opt-in for evaluation, ensuring that teachers recommend students for G&T using standardized assessments where available or other evidence of readiness for accelerated curriculum, opening up 50% more seats, with priority to those districts that are currently underserved and guaranteeing yellow bus service for students attending district G&T programs.
In a statement issued by PLACE NYC, the group remained optimistic that their goals would be achieved through communication and transparency with the DOE.
“PLACE NYC encourages the DOE leadership to read our G&T Position Paper for further ideas on short-term and long-term solutions to improve G&T,” the statement read. “We stand ready and welcome the opportunity to partner with Chancellor Banks and his team to develop improved and expanded K-12 accelerated programs that are available to all students in all schools and districts.”