'Brilliant NYC' to replace controversial Gifted and Talented exam for 4-year-olds
"Brilliant NYC" will eliminate the highly selective high stakes test for 4-year-olds that critics say unfairly favors white and Asian Americans.
I had a bit of whiplash looking into this. At first I had a kneejerk reaction because I'm very much not a fan of most of BDB's proposed education policies, especially in regards to the SHSAT.
After reading into it a bit more, I think I support the idea of universally screening kids a little later on to make advanced education available for all. I am not sure testing 4 year old kids is all that valuable. There's a pretty wide range in how fast little kids develop. Using more holistic testing criteria isn't a horrible idea either.
But then I got to this part and I am conflicted again:
Students identified as "brilliant" will be mixed with all other students in a classroom, and 4,000 teachers will be retrained to teach them together.
This doesn't seem feasible at all to me. Teaching kids who are supposed to be at the same level (spoiler: they rarely are) is difficult enough but teaching mixed classes with varied workloads - how is that supposed to work?
An additional issue I could see is the "brilliant" kids being bullied by the normal kids, especially if they use the "brilliant" moniker unironically. And on the other side of it, if you're not "brilliant," what are you?
Making advanced education more widely available is a great idea and I'm in full support of that. But this "Brilliant NYC" plan does not seem very well thought out at all.
Next stops for the activists: eliminating academic screens for high schools and middle schools, and repealing Hecht-Calandra and replacing the SHSAT with a quasi-quota admissions system.
The plan is to replace the GnT program with special in-class enrichment for students who need it. I don’t understand why they can’t do both. Some kids will be in a GnT program. Those who didn’t make it when they were 4 would be picked up in 3rd grade, as the city is proposing, and get special enrichment then. The goal should be to get as many kids as best an education as possible. In any case, actually implementing the change will be up to the next mayor, so it can still be walked back.
We lived in Brooklyn for 27 years and raised 2 kids through the NYC school system. We enrolled both in the gifted program in the early 2000s as a way to hedge our bets for a slightly better education in a poor system where very few kids get focused education in a small select set of schools that are VERY hard to get into...
We quickly learned that the administration had no real interest in the program and undermined it ever step of the way....
In name only were our kids in any gifted program.
We eventually pulled our kids and moved to CT where tax $ payed for a much better education as we could never afford NYC private school.
Teachers and admins spend their time in the bureaucrat hell that is the NYC DOE. It was so bad that one of our kid's primary school graduations was turned into a boot licking love fest for the District Manager by the Principle because the DM was moving to become #2 in the overall system and the Principle wanted to score points... truly stomach churning to witness and at the expense of children.
The system is fucked and kids suffer for it.
You know we could pay teachers more, give schools enough funding where teachers don't have to buy their own supplies, get universal daycare from 1 and up. Using the universal 3k/pre-k to identify kids that are behind earlier on. Using that G&T exam at 4 to not only split the gifted kids into their own class, use it to split the bottom into their own class with teachers that can help accelerate. Shit it's midnight on a Saturday and I'm not an educator, but then again I want to help my city and not be governor or president. Maybe if we invest even a 1/4 of what some other countries do on their under 5s, more would succeed.
This will surely help stop the flight of parents to charter and private schools or leaving underperforming districts all together...
We still must remember the biggest educator of our children are the parents. Their teaching the kids the ABC’s when there are two and three years old. Teaching their children how to count to 10. When they enter school in kindergarten they should already be knowledgeable on the basics. NYC DOE is a bureaucratic waste land just like any other departments within the city. It’s the politics that determines the direction not the education of the students. Competition among students is the greatest gift towards being a leader in their future years. But under the politics of the DOE and the leader ship at Gracie mansion we’re setting ourselves up for a generations of followers not leaders.
Some kids are drawn to books. Some kids enjoy building & crafting; & would be best-served by vocational programs (which we need more of). If you are a child interested in academics, are you harmed by exclusion from other like-minded children, regardless of socio-economic levels? A commendable facet of NYC’s public education system = kids from all facets of life existing together for 6-8 hours per day.
What about kids who love academics, but may have lower socioeconomic status? Are they harmed by not having a chance to be around any & all children of their ability.
As someone who benefited from being in “gifted” programs without being “rich-rich,” I see these programs as vital to increasing access to the upper echelon of education, for those who can’t afford private learning. I can pursue a gifted program though primary, junior & high school and land in Ivy League. So I see gifted programs as providing ladders to climb above classism. So why remove them? (& Not talking about private-school education. That doesn’t apply here.) …I await your downvotes?