The city on Wednesday unveiled a hybrid lottery-questionnaire system to select kids for admission to Gifted and Talented programs next year to replace basing entry on a single test — a move that critics say will only reward aggressive parents and not increase diversity.
The plan will have the pre-K teachers of each applicant answer questionnaires about their fitness for the accelerated programs.
Tots who clear that hurdle will then be entered into a lottery and win spots via random selection.
“Our plan this year will involve families and educators identifying students for accelerated learning and does not involve administering a test to our youngest learners,” the Department of Education said in a statement.
The system replaces the single-test admissions system that was voted down in a surprising Panel for Education Policy tally last month.
Mayor Bill de Blasio had intended for the test to be administered one more time before a complete overhaul of Gifted and Talented programs.
“We believe deeply that widescale changes are needed to address the racial disparities in who has access to G&T programs and look forward to a long-term transformation,’ the DOE said.
Some observers said the interim model will do little to nothing to diversify the accelerated programs.
Currently, the roughly 16,000 seats are 43 percent Asian, 36 percent white, 8 percent Hispanic, and 6 percent black.
Veteran education consultant Alina Adams said that having teachers complete questionnaires about their 4-year-old students is a heavily subjective metric that will benefit aggressive parents.
Adams said the same pool of moms and dads who hotly pursue Gifted and Talented seats will likely push their kids’ educators to submit 5-star reviews.
“They’ve chosen the system that has been proven to be the least effective for identifying gifted students who are of color, or low-income, or English learners,” she said. “Subjective evaluations have always benefitted the wealthy and middle class.”
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